Nigerian Undergraduates Need to Focus More on Relevant Skills Acquisition Than Grades – Habeebah Odusoga

Nigerian Undergraduates Need to Focus More on Relevant Skills Acquisition Than Grades – Habeebah Odusoga

She graduated on top of her set with a first class in Mass Communication. She has moved on to get a second degree in the same discipline while working by the side. She now works for TVC Nigeria. She shares her experience with Rasheed Adebiyi. Here are the excerpts.

Could you tell us about yourself?

My name is Habeebah Adesewa Odusoga, I’m a broadcast journalist and I currently work at TVC Communications. I’m from Ogun State, I’m a Muslim, and the last child in a family of four. I graduated from Fountain University, Osogbo where I acquired a BSc in Mass communication as a first class student. I also have a Masters degree from the University of Lagos. I love reading and learning particularly improving my skills. I can learn from anyone, anywhere and on anything.

We learnt you graduated with a First Class. What is your opinion about grades as you have found yourself in the industry now?

Yes, Alhamdulillahi. I graduated with a First class and I can boldly say this has helped my journey in the industry. Although, it is not just about the grades. You’ll find people in the industry who didn’t even study Mass Communication and are doing well in the field. In my opinion, one should really match up their grades with skills that would be useful in the industry. I believe to achieve a first class is no child’s play and for a course like mine you’d have to be good in writing skills, presentation skills, creativity, ability to play on words etcetera. All of these were required to be a first class student in my class then in the university. And to come out with a first class, yes the grade was a contribution but definitely not the ultimate thing. You need to build yourself further. Up your game, challenge yourself, go beyond the four walls of the classroom.

If you have a chance to get another first degree, which one would you vote for between grades and skills?

Well, fortunately or unfortunately the top requirement in the labour market is the skill and not the grade particularly. Although I may be wrong as far as some discipline is concerned, but I think many people would ask about your skills first before your grade. It goes hand in hand I would say. But if I’d choose one, I’ll choose skills over the grades. The skills have worked for me more than the grades. I bet many of my employers cannot even remember if I am a first class student. You have to prove it to them with your skills. So yes, it’s the skills for me.

You earned a first degree from Fountain University, a private institution,  and then moved on to the University of Lagos for your Master’s Degree. What is your take on the private versus public universities debate?

It’s not even pride. I can’t talk for all private universities. But I can boldly say being the first set of mass communication student in Fountain University, there wasn’t much of a difference in what I had already learnt in my first degree. But of course I had the opportunity to learn from veterans in the discipline at the University of Lagos, but that’s not to say I didn’t get first hand learning from my first degree. In fact, talking of skills acquisition, I got all I needed in my first degree. Skills in broadcast presentation, writing, video editing, voice over, audio editing, photoshop, newspaper and magazine production, even cinematography. So it was all emcompassing. It’s 50 50 for me.

In the midst of huge complaints of unemployment by many graduates, you crossed the path from first to second degree and your dream job. What is your advice for recent undergraduates and young graduates in navigating the loop between higher education and labour market?

First I can be considered to be a lucky one. But aside this, it’s much more about attitude and hardwork. I had two different internships. I was able to portray myself well to my employers. I worked really hard such that I almost didn’t have free time. I also had good relationship with the staff. I was respectful and didn’t have any bad record. So it was easy for me to go back and seek employment. Additionally, I was also able to gather some required skills that are useful in the industry during my undergraduate studies and that worked well for me. In summary, it is hardwork and attitude. So my advice for any undergraduate is to take advantage of your internship days. It’ll work for you. You can also volunteer to work for any organisation of your choice. Remember, it’s not always about the money. Money will come, but gain yourself a space first and you’ll be proud of yourself

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