MSc graduate: ‘My long-term goal is to become a CEO in the industry’

Fabian Akaeze

Fabian Akaeze studied MSc Project Management (now MSc Strategic Project Management), graduating in 2022. He tells us about his role at Turner and Townsend and his plans for the future.

What was your dream job as a child, and what is your dream job now?

As a teenager, I wanted to become a computer scientist because it was the year 2000, the new millennium and there was so much buzz surrounding the internet and how it was going to change the world. My dream job right now is becoming a public speaker.

Why did you choose Kent and why Project Management?

It was never my plan to get a master’s degree after the completion of my undergraduate degree. In the year 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world, my business fell apart and I knew it was time for a career change.

I spoke to my sisters and asked what profession would be suitable to pivot to. Project Management was suggested, and after researching the profession, I decided to pursue a master’s degree.

I Googled UK universities that offered a master’s programme in Project Management, and I stumbled on the website of the University of Kent, after browsing the website, I was drawn to the modules and decided to enquire. After exchanging emails with the admission team, I applied, and it is one of the best decisions of my career.

What did you hope to achieve on your course?

I hoped to gain as much practical experience as I possibly could. I hoped to participate in internships and volunteer in leadership roles. All of this I achieved, in fact what I accomplished on the programme exceeded that which I set out to achieve.

What were your lecturers like?

Lina Simeonova forced us to think as project managers with her well-structured questions and seminar activities. Manju was patient and understanding, she ensured every student understood her module by using real life examples. Max was committed and willing to involve the online students. Kristyn was dedicated and she always used case studies to teach us which translated to breakout sessions, thereby enhancing our understanding of the module.

What modules stood out to you?

The modules that stood out to me include Agile Project Management, Professional Skills and Employability Development, Consultancy Skills and Practice, Leadership and Change Management, and Corporate Strategy and Performance Measurement.

Tell us about your job role now?

I currently work as an Assistant Project Manager in the infrastructure sector at Turner & Townsend. My role involves work on a commission (Portsmouth City Council) where I have helped in the upgrade of walking and cycling infrastructure in Portsmouth. I have also worked on road schemes and the implementation of one-way schemes and traffic calming measures in Portsmouth.

What’s the best thing about the role?

The best part of the role for me is researching on the walking and cycling design guides of different city councils in the UK. I find this fascinating because I had no idea the amount of precision and detail that goes into transport planning in the UK. Working on this commission has helped enhance my understanding of transport planning in the UK. Also, the volunteering opportunities which helps with career advancement and development.

What’s your future goals?

My medium-term goal is to become a senior project manager. My long-term goal is to become a CEO in the industry. I work everyday under the guidance of mentors to improve my leadership and learn as much as I can to become better. Outside my professional career, I see a future of becoming a renowned public speaker and mentor, this means more to me than any other job title because it aligns with my purpose.

Fabian studied MSc Project Management at Kent Business School. Find out more about the new MSc Strategic Project Management course, here.

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