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Photo of student in cap and suit at podium

Rokeeb Olanrewaju at graduation.

Extended Education celebrates June 2024 graduates

Graduation ceremony for intensive program package students

June 17, 2024 — 

Rokeep Olanrewaju completed his degree in International Business in his native Nigeria, but it wasn’t until he came to UM for Applied Business Analysis that he had the opportunity to work with people from beyond Africa.

“It is exciting and refreshing to know people who come from different backgrounds. It is like I traveled over five countries without leaving Winnipeg,” he says, noting he met Chinese, Indian and Arab people, among others. “I am excited to learn how different cultures can come together to achieve the common good.”

It’s all about teamwork, he says. “I remember in my last semester, I had to lead the team. I was so angry things were not getting done. Then I tried to see things from their end, to work together with the team. You must know people think differently, have a common goal, and work together.”

Celebrating graduates

Olanrewaju is attending grad with his wife and daughter, and a friend. He is one of 150 grads completing intensive program packages including Applied Business Analysis, Applied Human Resource Management, and Applied Business Management. Extended Education also congratulates an additional 123 grads from 15 part-time programs including Business Analysis, Management and Administration, Human Resource Management, Program Development for Adult Learners, and Artificial Intelligence: Machine Learning Solutions.

Olanrewaju says, “This is a milestone for me. I have acquired knowledge and experience I will use. I worked as tech support in Nigeria, supporting software development teams. I learned a lot here, new skills and tools to prepare me for the next phase in my life. I know about different cultures and how to talk to different people.”

He completed his Industry Placement at GHY International, helping the customs broker to register its clients onto a new government system. A friend told him about the program, and he recommends it to others.

“I want to be a Business Analyst. I so much enjoy the tasks and challenges,” he says, noting he has incorporated BA principles into both his personal and professional tasks, he is studying for his first professional certification, and he plans to keep learning. “They day you stop learning is the day you start dying. The more I study, the more I feel like I am living.”

He shares his advice with future students. “What you put your mind to, you can achieve. Studies can be intense but don’t get distracted. You will be fine. The resources are there to help you succeed.”

Photo of grad in cap and gown

Annie Osondu Iheke in her cap and gown at grad.

Annie Osondu Iheke

Annie Osondu Iheke is excited about graduation. “I worked so hard for it,” says the Applied Human Resource Management grad attending her celebration with her brother and his wife. “My studies helped me to understand Human Resources in a different light.”

For the Nigerian/Ghanian with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, and administrative work experience, coming to study at UM and gain Canadian work experience with an Industry Placement was a dream come true. “The instructors were so positive and encouraging. They brought out the best in us. We were not sure in the beginning, but they showed us how things are done here.”

She loves HR because it has to do with people management. “A manager needs to know the weaknesses and how to bring out the best in their staff including providing a training plan to teach them what they need to know. Recruitment is about more than qualifications. It is identifying the best person. You can train a potential fit.”

At home, she says, managers did not have budgets for training and had to make a case to get funding, but here she sees a lot of training is going on. “It is standard here. It is compulsory at every level. There are funds dedicated for it. Here training is very important.”

The lessons she learned about communication style and business culture stay with her. “How to relate with coworkers here, I use that every day. It is different at home.”

She reminds the next group of students to connect with instructors. “The instructors are amazing. They are there to help you. Don’t feel shy to ask questions. They are always there for us, to point us in the right direction.”

Photo of student in cap and gown with her certificate by the Admin building

Paola Uzgame at graduation.

Paola Uzgame

Applied Business Management grad, Paola Uzgame is attending graduation with her husband. “I feel enthusiastic about what comes next,” she says.

In Colombia, she had a degree in Marketing and Advertising, and worked in retail. Here, she completed her Industry Placement at Loblaws. “That was a huge benefit for me.”

She finds Winnipeg quiet and more peaceful than her former big city. “I love the campus. It is beautiful.”

When her temporary position at Loblaws is over, she plans to apply for new opportunities in an office environment. “It is very important to find a stable job. Not any specific position. What matters is that I learn, and I enjoy it. That is most important.”

Of the Canadian workplace, she says, she has learned she must adapt. “I recommend this program, and UM. It is very important to come with an open mind, to take advantage of the knowledge the instructors have. Don’t waste the opportunity.”

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