MSc Accounting & Finance alum Judith shares how a 50% scholarship from WBS helped to validate her hard work and set her on the path to new opportunities.
My name is Judith Toluwanimi Oladapo, and I studied MSc Accounting & Finance at Warwick Business School from 2019-2020. I hold two roles currently: Procurement and Sustainability Officer at Tu Pack, Coventry, and Founder and CEO of ATI Restaurant.
The lead up to joining WBS for my MSc
The three years leading up to my start at University of Warwick were really thought-provoking and sharpening years. I completed my Undergraduate degree in summer 2017 from a renowned institution in Nigeria; Covenant University. I majored in Accounting and graduated with an outstanding 1st class result, one of the top students in my class.
During my undergraduate degree, I knew I enjoyed my course, but I was never precisely sure of what I wanted to do with it. For whatever reason, I was always more interested in running a business that met critical needs of people around me, and I used this drive to set up a few enterprises. After completing my undergraduate degree, I spent a few placement months in the US on a work study program. This was an extremely enlightening period for me, as the exposure to several cultures, both personally and work-related, resulted in critical growth of my skills and experience. On my return to Nigeria, I knew it was time for more, an advancement, a challenge that will build me even more.
After careful thinking, I decided to begin my journey to becoming a chartered accountant with the globally recognised accounting body, ACCA. It was such a challenging, yet extremely rewarding journey. With self-study, and a major decision to sacrifice an exciting job offer to fully focus on my exams, I was able to pass all my exams in one sitting, finish in one year and also crown it off with being one of the Top 3 Affiliates in Nigeria for March 2019 period.
Making the decision to apply to Warwick Business School
Following this massive accomplishment, I was finally ready to challenge myself on a bigger and more international scale, hence my search for a suitable master’s degree. At the beginning of my search, all arrows pointed to Canada, but I knew deep down I wanted the UK. I made a single exception to apply to a top-ranked university in the UK, considering the country holds some of the best universities in the world. Little did I know that single exception will eventually result in a spiral of pleasant experiences for me.
My decision to apply to Warwick Business School was fuelled by my desire to pursue my master’s program in a world-renowned institution that cares about its students and employs a practical mode of teaching. I wanted to develop my knowledge and skills in the finance world, with specific interests in the capital market, and the MSc Accounting and Finance programme at WBS showed high potential for that.
I was really impressed with the general outlook of the university, it assured me I will always be excited to come in for my lectures. Also, the meticulous and comprehensive structure of the courses included in my programme were definitely going to lead me into gaining unique skills I hadn’t obtained in my career journey so far. The employment of data analytical tools like Stata were activities that got me really excited about this programme. Additionally, the testimony from a friend that was also a postgraduate student at WBS in the prior year told me it’s a great institution that will stretch you to reach your potential, and I immediately knew it was where I would love to further my education.
My admission offer from University of Warwick came on the very day I was to make my tuition deposit to the Canadian university I had earlier secured because I hadn’t received a response from Warwick. I didn’t realise it was because something really good was cooking. On reading my admission offer letter and seeing the scholarship award, my mind was instantly made up.
The joy of receiving a scholarship
The scholarship I received from University of Warwick was a huge gift for me. I honestly even had no idea about the possibility of obtaining a scholarship when I applied. So, imagine my joy when I saw my offer letter contained the award of the maximum scholarship offering.
Firstly, it validated all the hard work I had committed myself to from the first day of my undergraduate degree. Secondly, it significantly lightened the tuition burden on my family, considering the high exchange rate between both countries. I was happy I did not have to give up this great opportunity due to financial circumstances, and this was hugely credited to the scholarship award. I would very likely still have pursued my master’s degree without the scholarship, however, I can’t imagine the terrible strain the tuition would have put on myself and my family. Being a scholarship recipient, I joined WBS with a determination to prove myself worthy of it and show my gratitude. I am happy to say I was able to accomplish that. From graduating with a distinction, to occupying a seat on the Student Staff Liaison Council for my programme, I can say I made tangible use of the scholarship.
To this day, being a scholarship recipient from University of Warwick continues to open doors for me. I was head-hunted for my current job and the recruiter placed emphasis on my performance at the University of Warwick. These events serve as reminders for me about who I am and the fact that there is no limit to what I can achieve if I put my mind to it.
Joining a growing company with values of sustainability and doing business the ethical way
Right now, I’m working as the Procurement and Sustainability Officer of Tu Pack. Tu Pack is a growing fulfilment and logistics company that places strong values on sustainability and doing business the ethical way.
My role combines two core aspects of the business. I’m tasked with the responsibility of developing and implementing a standard procurement system for the company and its clients, without compromising our sustainability stance and impact on the environment. Some of my responsibilities also include management accounting and costing. Within my first four short weeks, I was able to draw up a detailed procurement and packaging strategy, sell this to our client and also develop a comprehensive supplier’s list that allows us to provide the best products and services to our clients at highly competitive prices.
Furthermore, I’m responsible for constructing a realistic and intentional sustainability strategy framework for the company, build an Environmental Management System (EMS) and finalise the certification process of us becoming one of the very few B-Corp companies in the world.
My ability to succeed in my role and hit the ground running is largely credited to the invaluable skills and knowledge I gained in my time at Warwick Business School. The emphasis placed on presentations and seminar classes has helped me to be able to pitch my ideas confidently and clearly to the management staff and my colleagues. Also, my data analytical skills are at a very impressive level thanks to my lectures using Stata and the positive challenges I faced during my dissertation. My management accounting module at WBS equipped me with adequate knowledge that now enables me to propose profitable pricing strategies to the company’s management. I can say without a doubt that I’m exhibiting the true University of Warwick alumni attributes in my current place of work.
Links with the University of Warwick after graduation
Interestingly, the University of Warwick never stopped working for me even after my graduation. I mentioned earlier that my mind always rested more on doing business, creating solutions for people and putting smiles on their faces. I always knew I was too restless and disruptive to stay in an office environment for a long period of time. I remember my very first day at WBS, one of the quotes I saw on the wall read “Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress” by Thomas Edison, and right there, I knew I had come to the right place.
My passion made me apply for the Start-up Endorsement Scheme at Warwick Enterprises, which allows international students to test and develop their business idea in the UK. My business idea was to establish a sustainable African restaurant in the Midland Area, a place where I had found a huge market gap to fill. My initial application in September 2020 was unsuccessful but I was given areas of improvement and advised to reapply. I picked myself up, dusted off the disappointment and reapplied in April 2021 and I eventually got the pleasant news that Warwick Enterprise will be endorsing my Start-up visa. This birthed a whole new world of possibilities, opportunities and dreams for me. Now, I’m in the process of bringing my childhood dream to pass this summer by launching an African restaurant that nourishes people of all cultures and demographics, educates them about the African culture, and also gives back to the community by being sustainable.
Saying that coming to Warwick Business School has been an extremely positive life-changing experience would not be an understatement. The scholarship, the business endorsement, the invaluable support I’m still receiving today from the institution are benefits that cannot be accessed at just any institution. Warwick Business School has encouraged me, validated my endless hard work, cleared my doubts and most importantly, reaffirmed to me that I can achieve anything I dream of if I put my mind to it. I’m a proud University of Warwick and WBS Alumni and I won’t stop fulfilling the promise I made in my master’s application personal statement, which is to add to the current stars of the institution.
Advice for current and prospective students
My advice to current students, prospective students and those that are still conflicted in their decision is that each of you have got something uniquely special in you. You might already know yours or might still be trying to find it. One thing is for sure, Warwick Business School will ensure you find that uniqueness in you and help you nurture it.