International Education Week: Akobundu Pursues Dreams of Entrepreneurship at U of A


International Education Week: Akobundu pursues entrepreneurial dreams at U of A


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Growing up in Alimosho—a town near Lagos, Nigeria’s state capital—Joseph Akobundu would walk around town and see his country’s “fascinating diversity” at work. As a center of technology and entertainment in Africa, Lagos attracted young entrepreneurs from all over the continent, which led to an explosion of growth in Alimosho and other cities in Lagos, where he saw a flock of young entrepreneurs looking for economic opportunities.

It was that economic opportunity that led Akobundu to Fayetteville to attend the University of Arkansas in search of an education that would help him achieve his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

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“Besides the U of A philosophy of putting students first, I chose to come here because it felt like home,” he said of his choice to attend the U of A. “The atmosphere, the people, the faculty, a beautiful, diverse campus. and the city of Fayetteville, which consistently ranks as one of the top five places to live in the country, all helped me decide between the five schools that offered me a full ride.”

Since his university days, Akobundu has earned a master’s degree in graduate school and now has his sights set on another degree—this time in operations management.

“As a first-generation college student, I have enjoyed the privilege of a quality education and am grateful for all the opportunities I have received thus far,” she said. “I believe that today’s future can be shaped by good education, and because I love working with young adults, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in higher education to better understand the dynamics and complexities of the American higher education system. I hope to use everything I learn in operations management to improve processes, systems, and lead times in a manufacturing company and help that company improve quality assurance.”

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After graduation, Akobundu plans to join a technology or manufacturing company to use his skills in project and operations management, supply chain, process improvement and quality engineering to help optimize company performance. And her long-term goal is to start a nonprofit that helps first-generation students get into college and guides them through their college experience.

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All in all, Akobundu hopes to help others have the transformative experience of international education that he did.

“Studying internationally has increased my global awareness, provided me with meaningful international connections with people from all over the world, and given me perspective on social interaction methods,” she said. “I love being introduced to a new way of teaching that has helped me further develop my academic horizons and intellectual capacity. Finally, I love the culture, the food and the amazing network of friends I’ve made.”

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