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In Nigeria, the tertiary education system has been due for a revamp for a very very long time. Most of the curricula being taught are backwards by decades. The graduates who manage to get into the career world right after university are those who are smart enough to take extra courses, internships or soft skills courses that make them readily able to offer any value and thereby get employed quickly enough. 

With the rise of unicorn startups, the technology and entrepreneurship space has in the last few years emerged to be one of those key sectors putting Africa on the map, and frankly, it’s a space that seems to be the first easy entry point for transformation of education in the continent. 

I came across the Nigerian University of Technology and Management (NUTM) recently, and I’m quite impressed with what it’s set up to do. 

6 things that stood out for me are:

  • The Fellows Program

The fellows program is for those with a bachelor’s degree

I ran through the curriculum and to a large extent, it touches all the key areas that make up a very well-rounded business leader.

The program highlight is exciting, the ‘Shadow A Leader’ stood out for me.

  • The Undergraduate Program 

Currently, this university only offers Computer Science, Cybersecurity and Information Technology.

All of these are available in most universities, but going by the unique way the school is set up, it’s very clear the curriculum approach and set-up will be a lot more relevant. 

Speaking of relevancy, I love the blend of course credit focus, a blend of general knowledge, core courses, electives, professional courses and hands-on industrial training (SIWES).

  • The Management Team:

I have always wondered why people who craft educational curricula in African institutions are quite detached from what is really going on and often time oblivious to the real industry needs. This is why the management team stood out for me. The school is filled with a lot of top guns with deep experience in the private and public sectors.

  • The Faculty:

From Femi Longe who cofounded CCHub (CCHub is the innovation hub that initiated the revolution of the tech space in Lagos), to Efosa Ejomo (the author of the Book Prosperity Paradox), and many more. These are people really in tune with what’s up.

  • It’s Positioning

Beyond all the impressive things, I have mentioned, the unique positioning of the university is quite impressive. There has been a healthy amount of government engagement in things like the graduation event etc. Eventually, all these drive a lot of brand equity and trust. I was involved in the early stage of Phlyter.com (an online school helping talents learn and work their way into a career in the marketing side of tech) and the What’s Working Conference hosted by the school is one of the most successful positioning strategies of the Venture. So, I can see all the efforts on the positioning. All of this will go a long way in helping the graduates get into roles faster. 

  • The Alumni:

The word on the street is that the graduates are highly sought-after talents and also those who have gone on to found a product have actually raised more than $2M. Startups like myStash, Gamp, Wadi, Surepayy etc are all founded by alumni of the school.

I also saw one of the reputable founders in the African tech space throwing his weight and recommending.

If I would be tasked with the responsibility of making this better, these will be my Big Ideas: 

  • More storytelling

Storytelling around all of the great things that would likely be going on there. Getting the students to share their thoughts and learning around key concepts etc. Most of the awesomeness should not be hidden knowledge, they should shape and build anticipation in companies that will recruit the talent, build anticipation funders who will support the startups built by the business and also build anticipation in students who look forward to getting into the school.

  • More industry integration

This could be through events held in the school, a great example here is the Africa Business Conference planned out by the students in the Africa Business Club at the Harvard Business School – https://www.hbsafricabusiness.com/ 

This could also be through sourcing real briefs from ventures/businesses/startups for the students to work on.

  • A focus on creating high-level content:

I like to see tertiary institutions as places where everyone is focused on research, thought leadership and lots of experimentation. The feedback, research and experimentation results can be put to use. NUTM is at a unique place where it could own in on research and thoughts that many African ventures can trust and build on. 

Overall, this is a great innovation in the right direction. 

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