MSc Sustainable Development, Peace Studies and International Development, 2021
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator
- Advisory Committee Member for Climate, Energy and Environment at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
- Founder of Qinq - A wholistic circular economy startup.
Journey to Bradford
"I found numerous factors critical in my decision to study at the University of Bradford. Firstly, the cultural diversity on campus and the wider Bradford district is astonishing! In addition, it was impressive to learn professors and lecturers excel along and across the University regardless of ethnic backgrounds.
"Secondly, compared to other universities offering a postgraduate course in Sustainable Development, our modules cut across socio-political issues such as conflict management, natural resource governance and multidimensional perspectives on the idea of sustainability. I was assured these modules will equip me with the foundational precepts to design effective sustainable development interventions in Africa, and globally as well.
"Finally, Bradford is undergoing a huge transformation. I was intentional to be in an environment that would provide me with opportunities to serve, lead and learn, alongside my academic pursuit. Bradford is that place."
Arriving at Bradford at the peak of COVID does not give you the luxury of memories on campus as we studied remotely. However, I recall volunteering with local charities to support refugees, asylum seekers and households struggling financially during the pandemic. These charities include The Millside Centre and Hope for Justice. I cherish those moments distributing hot meals, clothes, and household goods to vulnerable populations in Bradford.
Career Journey and Finding Work
"On completing my programme in September 2021, I commenced an internship with the Bradford Council as a Sustainability Research Associate with stipend scholarship from the University of Bradford. During my internship, I learned about inclusive development opportunities in the zero-waste agenda via the Circular Economy. In excitement, I founded a start-up, Qinq.co, to eradicate waste while providing financial incentives for manufacturers and their customers. Qinq went on to win the 2022 Northern Max Accelerator Programme and the 2022 UKRI Global Business Innovation Programme Award to Lisbon-Portugal. In addition, we received an honourable invitation to meet the King of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms, His Royal Highness King Charles III. In June 2022, I was appointed a member of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Committee on Climate, Energy and Environment. These moments I owe to the foundational support from the University of Bradford for students to thrive academically, and post-study.
"Alongside scaling Qinq, I served as Business Accounts Manager with Unseen UK, an anti-modern slavery for charity. At Unseen UK, I worked with high-employing companies in myriad sectors to identify and eliminate modern slavery in their supply chains between May 2022 and November 2022. After which, I returned to the University of Bradford as Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Coordinator working with a phenomenal team to advance our mission for an inclusive culture on and off campus.
"The mantra, “Making Knowledge Work” is more than texts on paper and screen. The academic environment provides students with brilliant colleagues representing diverse ethnic and professional backgrounds. The university’s effort to maintain an atmosphere that fosters freedom catalyses ideation and knowledge sharing. The academic staff had a genuine interest in my long-term career goals, ensuring students are well positioned to succeed post-study. I remember my supportive lecturers who played a pivotal role in my academic success and career positioning- Professor Anand, Professor Owen Greene, Professor Fiona Macaulay, and Dr David Harris. I must add that the University is structured to encourage students to excel outside its walls, while providing social support and network to explore your potentials. I encourage students to grab these opportunities."
Biggest successes and challenges in career so far
"I think “big success” would be advancing in my career in the UK post-study as an immigrant. While I was optimistic Bradford would be providing opportunities to serve, I didn’t think those opportunities to volunteer and lead within and outside the University would pave the way for my career advancement ‘speedily’.
"One challenge in my career thus far is carving a niche, especially novel specialties, in a fast-paced sector as Sustainability. However, keeping in touch with professors and lecturers provides a guide which establishes a rationale for maintaining relationships post-study."
"Qinq was born out of a need to create economic opportunities for businesses and consumers while eradicating waste in West Yorkshire. I actively participated in the Accelerated Students Entrepreneurship Programme (ASEP) during my postgraduate course. Our facilitators, Professor Paul Thorning and Dr Qun Shao provided exclusive MBA-grade workshops on business innovation, funding opportunities, business modelling and sales. ASEP undoubtedly provided a precept to entrepreneurship in the UK and the possibilities abound for all students."
My advice to others would be firstly, study hard and read beyond classroom resources. Secondly, explore numerous possibilities in academia, entrepreneurship, innovation, and scholarships. Only then can you make sound career choices, especially as an immigrant. Lastly, build vertical and horizontal relationships based on a willingness to serve.