Reaching Out to the Unbanked Population

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University of Roehampton, London Online Graduation 2016

Mary Ekah
Right at this moment, Mrs. Oluchi Anih’s desire is to reach out to the unbanked population in Nigeria, predominantly in rural areas, to help make their day-to-day financial affairs more efficient and streamlined. She has already helped move customers from traditional paper-based systems to technology-driven systems and has boosted her company’s customer retention. Thanks to the knowledge and skills she acquired through her wise decision to enroll in an online programme offered by the University of Roehampton, London.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Roehampton experience. It is a fantastic way to not only boost your own career and skills, but to have a tangible impact on your organisation and your community, helping to bring about real change and improve people’s lives,” noted Anih who is today a graduate of this institute.

Before now, Anih had worked in the financial industry for nearly a decade and during this time she has recognised that it is becoming one of the most tech-driven sectors in Nigeria. However, a large proportion of the population is still unbanked; many conduct their daily financial transactions through other means, resulting in an abundance of cash in circulation.

“I feel that the country should be able to find a solution to this problem using technology,” Anih said. “Technology is becoming increasingly affordable and accessible, and has already helped many organisations strategically increase performance and productivity. The same approach is needed in the banking sector.”

The married mother of two currently works for one of Nigeria’s top commercial banks as an account officer and relationship manager. Determined to bring strategic value to her organisation and help address this financial issue, Anih enrolled on an MSc in Information Systems Management at the University of Roehampton, London online after being inspired in her Management Proficiency course at the Nigerian Chartered Institute of Management.

“I recognised the importance of being able to use information to facilitate strategic and operational change in order to support my country in solving the problems it currently faces. The programme offered by Roehampton was the perfect way to develop the skills I needed to facilitate this process, and bring these insights to my own role,” she noted.

She was keen to study online at Roehampton, which offers flexibility and convenience – benefits that appeal to full-time workers such as Anih. The programme’s format also allows students to apply their professional experience directly to their academic studies, and vice versa. “Studying with a British university gives you the edge over so many people, and provides so many opportunities as the quality of the programmes is so high,” she adds. “I felt confident that Roehampton was the best place to pursue my studies.”

Her employer noticed a difference straightaway, particularly in her report-writing and critical thinking skills. The skills and knowledge she gained while at Roehampton have not only given her a new confidence to be able to deliver better results and challenge the status-quo, they have also led to a promotion as well as a commendation from the management.

“At home, too, everyone is so excited about my achievement. The programme is hugely challenging; you have to learn how to rigorously structure your time, and it does demand sacrifices, but the whole process is so rewarding that I knew in the end it would be worth it. Now I hope that I will be able to inspire my children, so that when they are older they will really appreciate the effort I put into improving my education, and that they will aspire to do even better than I have.”

Anih was the first in her family to achieve a Masters degree. She also formed one of the first cohorts of students to graduate from a Roehampton online degree in July 2016. The ceremony saw her join students from all over the world to celebrate their achievement at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

“The online learning experience at Roehampton gives you the opportunity to meet people from all over the world; it’s such a vibrant, interactive community. This was the part of the programme that I found the most remarkable,” Anih noted. “I was able to enrich my knowledge and the learning process from a global perspective.”

Even after graduation, the Roehampton community remains a big part of her life. She and around 200 other Nigerian students and graduates have formed an offline forum to continue supporting each other’s academic journeys.
“Completing my degree is one of my biggest achievements,” she said. “It is something I have always hoped to do, and now that I have, I feel very fulfilled.”