With an MA in Communication and International Marketing (2010), Modupe Ogunyemi is the Head of Marketing at Media24, Naspers Group, the biggest media company in Africa. She is part of a team building an innovative digital news app that is the first of its kind in Nigeria. The app, Bounce News, received the award of Best News & Entertainment App in Africa (given by AppsAfrica) in November 2017.
What attracted you to the University of Surrey and to study your course here?
It had a pretty high ranking on the university league table and that for me was very important. I also went on the website and loved the diversity of the courses on offer and the sheer beauty of the campus. I thought (and still think!) that the University of Surrey has one of the most beautiful campuses in the UK.
What were the best things about your course?
The MA in Communication and International Marketing is a unique one in that it is run between two faculties. That meant I had the best of two worlds: the world of Arts and the world of Business. I absolutely loved that. I also loved the practical nature of the course; we actually created an advert in one of the modules.
How did you change as a person during your time as a Surrey student?
It was my first time studying and living with students from so many different countries and that pretty much helped to shape my view of other cultures and people. It was very interesting interacting with people from different countries and learning their own perspectives and experiences in life. I made many friends in Surrey that I am still in touch with today.
How did your time at Surrey influence your career?
My time in Surrey brought me face-to-face with online communication and marketing as a profession and was the basis of my career pivot into digital marketing. I actually did my dissertation in “Online Communication” and I have worked in the online industry ever since.
How can students hoping to work in your profession make the most of their time at Surrey?
I would say they should pay particular attention to the courses as they are very practical and in sync with the workplace. They should also attend the seminars and careers fairs that are organized on campus. The careers fairs are an excellent networking avenue for students.
What are your top tips for succeeding in your industry?
Love the internet! You have to really love learning new things everyday because the digital industry is an ever-evolving and fast-changing one. The things you know today may quickly become obsolete by the end of this year. All it takes is for someone to discover some new technology or a new use for existing ones and bam, everything’s changed. So, you have to constantly be on your toes to stay ahead of the curve.
What is your happiest memory of your time at Surrey?
The day of my convocation. It felt like everything, the journey of the last one year had finally come full circle. I was so happy to see the successful completion of my academic programme, and to share that joy with the friends I had made in Surrey was the icing on the cake.
What do you enjoy most about your work and why?
Internet-based businesses are still a relatively new phenomenon in Africa. I love the fact that I am one of the group of people pioneering this industry on the continent. From financial services to eCommerce to Digital News, I have worked in various capacities helping to derive value for both corporations on the one hand and consumers on the other. It is humbling to think that one’s work is impacting the lives of so many people.
What are the challenges?
Internet penetration is still a major issue in Nigeria and across Africa. Its usage is driven largely by mobile phones and still comes with several usage barriers. One is the cost of the phones; the price point of smartphones is high although this is now being driven down by the influx of lower priced phones. Another major issue is the cost of data. There is a lot of data sensitivity here due to the price points of data subscription versus the spending power of the mass market.
What do you consider to be a career highlight/achievement?
The most recent that comes to mind is the winning of the Best News App in Africa award with the team I currently work with. We also won the 24.com Award for Best Investigative Journalism for a story the team did on illegal migration. On a personal note, I would say the passing of my PMP (project management professional) exam on the first attempt despite working full time and going through one of the busiest periods at work.
What are your aspirations/goals for the future?
My plan is to grow to the highest possible heights in my chosen profession. I aim to succeed exceedingly well and be an inspiration to others, especially female African women who are unfortunately still experiencing pockets of violence and repression in various parts of the continent.
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