Olusola Abiodun Kayode

Olusola Abiodun Kayode

The choice of Leeds University Business School stemmed from Olusola’s eagerness to pursue a higher degree at a reputable British institution. He found that the University of Leeds as one of the oldest universities in the U.K,  had a strong reputation for a high standard of teaching and research.

“I was convinced that studying at Leeds would give me the knowledge and skills needed for me to take my career forward in the future. I believed that training for higher productivity was key and acquiring the right skills was essential. I wanted to compliment the engineering skills acquired during my first degree with management training. I knew that Leeds University Business School would give me this.”

“On arrival at Leeds, my career aspirations were targeted at getting the best out of the programme. I wanted to get the requisite knowledge and skills that would enable me to become a good graduate student. I wanted to learn the modern tools of management to enhance my performance when I returned to my home country, and return the value of the investment in the course, through a donor support programme to the Nigerian economy. I am proud to say that these hopes were met. My success on the programme was a springboard to reaching higher positions.

The best part of my course at Leeds was the elective which I opted to do and my project work. In addition to the compulsory subjects which included Business Policy, Managerial Economics, Marketing and Accounting, my elective was ‘production systems’. This module was taught by Professor Jack Butterworth, and with only two of us in his class we received excellent attention. The subject was also related to my background and was going to be useful during my project work which was to be carried out at a manufacturing industry.

“My transition from Nigeria to the UK was not difficult. The only challenge I had was to cope with the colder weather in West Yorkshire. We had very good accommodation which was a well heated especially because of our children, then aged 2 and 1 years old respectively".

"My career aspirations were expanded and greatly enhanced by studying at Leeds University Business School. For example, my project work which was focused on cane sugar refining enlarged my horizon into other areas including integrated agriculture, irrigation engineering, agronomy and agro-industry development. My brief internship with the British Sugar Corporation was also helpful to appreciate better and more efficient techniques for sugar production. I understood more about the subject of ‘sugar’ not only as an economic crop but also a political subject. After my course at Leeds and in my career back in my home country, I was assisted through another programme by the United Nations Development Programme to undertake a course in Spare Parts Reconditioning Technology at Havana Cuba geared towards equipment maintenance. UNDP also arranged for me to see the sugar industry in Cuba. I consequently learnt more about the technologies they used and took up many challenges in agribusiness and agro-industry consultancy services in addition to management training.

“With the knowledge acquired at Leeds University Business School, my performance was greatly enhanced. I enjoyed good promotions and rose to senior management level, serving in the Directorate cadre until I left public service in 2005. During my career, I was appointed as the Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) Paris France. This was a challenging assignment which provided a unique training in the U.N. system. I was responsible for promoting projects between Nigerian project sponsors and prospective French investors particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This was a private-sector promotional programme. This assignment lasted for four years from 1996 and 2000. Through this programme, I acquired new skills in the UNIDO methodologies for Investment Promotion and networking. I presently enjoy taking on assignments in this field for people willing to go on trade missions.”

“I am now a private Consultant, self employed. I provide consultancy services to manufacturing industries, assist small businesses both in setting up new start-ups and assisting existing ones to grow. I conduct training programmes in entrepreneurship development and preparation of business plans for new start ups. I also conduct in-plant studies for industries with struggling enterprises. Above all, I organise trade missions for project promoters to overseas programmes. I am also engaged in part-time teaching on a Post Graduate Diploma Programme in Technology Management (for post experience managers) of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife. I teach courses in 'Technology Management and Strategic Planning', ‘Operations Management’ and ‘Total Quality management (TQM)’. The expertise to teach these courses at graduate level was acquired through the courses and modules I studied at Leeds. My engagements are challenging, fulfilling and rewarding.”

“My advice to current students is to take maximum advantage of all the teaching and facilities at their disposal at the business school. I am proud to say that Leeds University cares for students.   

Quoting from Vice Chancellor, Prof Michael Arthur’s vision, “Leeds University takes student experience very seriously. It is a prominent strategy. The University in addition to being a fantastic research University doesn’t ignore its students. I’d like the University to achieve a standard of world class excellence”. "This underscores the attributes of the quality of the training I got at Leeds. I am challenged to wish to be back to do my Doctoral programme.”

“My ambition for the future is to engage myself in more teaching and in related studies for industrial development. I would like to examine new subject areas on innovation and relevant technology for ‘latecomer countries’. This aspect is very much needed in developing economies and would open up new challenges. I also intend to engage myself in writing books on SME development which is an area I have worked in for over 30 years.”