Elizabeth Makanjuola: Canadian national, IT whiz, and actor
It may be early morning in Canada, the country where Elizabeth now resides, but as always, she is bright, breezy, and full of energy and ready to tell us her incredible story of how she came to be far away from home and nailing it as an IT Business Analyst at Bridgemarq Real Estate Services.
Why an MBA in Canada?
Just by talking to Elizabeth for a few minutes you soon come to realize that she is a goal-oriented and no-nonsense individual that knows what she wants and how she is going to get it. So, we thought it pertinent to dive right in and ask her how she came to be walking the hallowed virtual halls of Nexford University.
Straight out of the traps she looks directly into the camera with a steely but friendly stare and tells us that it has always been her dream to do her MBA for a very long time and expand her expertise as an entrepreneur. Question was, where and when?
She tells us, “I knew that I wanted to run a food business like in my university days but realized that what I was lacking was that business knowledge that would mean the difference between running a regular business and a highly successful one that is globally competitive and able to scale. Two years ago I got married and discussed doing an MBA with my husband. He’s always had a business, so he was fully onboard and encouraged me to follow my dream and learn relevant business skills.”
We established very quickly that Elizabeth had her sights firmly set on an MBA, but we were curious to hear where she heard of Nexford, and what was it that swayed her to choose an online university over a traditional one in the US.
“I had been browsing the net for a while and then my husband showed me the Nexford website, and I was thinking, wow this looks like something special, and it was perfect for me to be able to juggle a family and career without putting the latter on hold,” she told us. “We did our due diligence and weighed up the pros and cons. The pros outweighed the cons by a country mile, so I just told myself that I was going to take the plunge and go for it.”
One of the major pros that swayed Elizabeth’s decision to choose Nexford over a traditional one in the US was that it was online. That type of flexible learning was the perfect fit as with a rapidly growing career, and young family, there was no way on earth that she would have been able to make the trek to daytime lectures. That said, she didn’t want to sacrifice on the quality of education that an Ivy League College in Canada had to offer, but having seen all the Nexford learner testimonials she realized that the only thing she would have to sacrifice was a bit of family time whilst she studied for her MBA. Plus, Nexford was highly affordable when compared to a traditional Canadian university, so it was a no brainer to make the choice she did.
Online learning is all about self-discipline
What many say also differentiates online learning from campus life is having to knuckle down and do the work during your spare time. It’s all too easy to be distracted by the TV, making dinner, or anything else for that matter that doesn’t involve studying. Not Elizabeth. As someone who knows what they want, and how to go about getting it, she was never going to let her studies slip.
Despite having a 10-month-old baby, a demanding 9 to 5 job to hold down, and a household to run, Elizabeth tells us that she still manages to dedicate at least two hours of her day to learning. Some days it’s half an hour, but it is still valuable time dedicated to the task at hand. Make a plan and stick to it is what she says will help her succeed.
Put in the hard yards and the rewards will come
Elizabeth was quite resolute in her answer when asked what business benefits she was getting from her MBA at this early stage. She told us that it’s all about learning marketing skills.
I understood the power of marketing, but not so much the principles,” Elizabeth said. “I am a business-oriented person and now thanks to my MBA I am beginning to see how different factors can affect strategies and business. So now that I have that knowledge and those skills that I can put into practice, I believe that the sky is no longer the limit.”
Looking back to look forward
As a highly successful future-focussed person that always has eyes on the prize, Elizabeth is not one to ignore her past and fondly remembers the road that she has travelled to get to this incredibly exciting part of her life. She told us that as a Canadian national she fondly remembers her upbringing in Nigeria.
“I'm from a family of six children and of course a mother and a father,” she says with a wry smile. “My mum ran a restaurant, hence my love for food, and my dad had a job in the agricultural industry. I am the only girl. I have three brothers. My eldest brother resides in Canada and works in the health industry, my immediate older brother resides in the US and is a Cybersecurity Analyst, and my younger brother is professional photographer.”
When it comes to higher education, Nexford is not Elizabeth’s first Soiree into it. She tells us that she attended the University of Ibadan in Nigeria where she did her BSc in sociology. After that her plans were not to emigrate as she was running a company in a corporate kitchen, but after her father had been to Canada and her brother went out, she took the conscious decision to follow in their footsteps and has never looked back.
Her husband has not joined her yet as he is still running a farm in Nigeria, but Elizabeth is hopeful that he will join her and her brother in Canada soon. In fact, her mum is also still in Nigeria and her dad is in Canada. So, a kind of the mirror of her and her husband. But she tells us that her mum plans to join them in Canada towards the latter part of this year.
Time to stop and smell the roses
When she does not have her business hat on and her nose to the grindstone studying for her MBA, Elizabeth tells us that to unwind she becomes active. Sounds a bit counterintuitive but she is mad about sports.
She says, “I love sports. I would like to think I'm an active person. I enjoy soccer a lot and played in the midfield and defence at university. Nothing like my husband though who is a professional footballer who is currently trying to get swooped up by a big European club. Other than sports I also enjoy music and maybe acting. It may surprise that I was actually featured in a couple of films. Not quite Nollywood, but I think that I was pretty good.”
Inspiration from a higher power!
They say that success is just as much about inspiration as perspiration, but Elizabeth is quick to point out that most of her inspiration has come not just from friends and family, but from a higher power.
“When I am low or I need a pick-me-up, I pray and more often than not there is divine intervention,” she says. “I really believe in the power of prayer.”
But it’s not just God that she looks to for inspiration. At times it’s her husband. She tells us that he is a visionary, problem solver, and a go-getter, and that he drives her to be a better and more successful person. A third place for inspiration is reading books on leadership by the late Myles Munroe. An author that she consumes with relish.
We wish Elizabeth all the best for her studies and look forward to welcoming her to the US graduation ceremony next year in Washington DC that she so wants to be a part of.
Seeing is believing so check out Elizabeth’s video here or below.
Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.
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