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Rising Stars

07 September 2011

A Cardiff graduate who overcame financial hardship to complete her degree and secure a job at a FTSE 100 company has won a University competition to recognise the career progression of former international students.

Chioma Mbanugo, who graduated from Cardiff Business School in 2006, beat tough international opposition to win the University’s Rising Stars competition and receive a prize of £1000.

Run by the University’s Alumni Office, with funding from the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, entrants were asked to write a letter detailing their career path since leaving Cardiff and how their time at the University shaped their progress and influenced their decisions.

chioma mbanugo webChioma receives her cheque from Sarah Price, Deputy Director of Development and Alumni Relations and Aled Williams from the University's Careers Service

Chioma’s letter, written to her uncle, reflected on her life since graduating, her first job as an analyst with the Halifax Bank of Scotland and how the skills she developed and support she received whilst a student at Cardiff have helped her achieve success within her chosen field.

Chioma is now enjoying a successful career with Lloyds Banking Group.

Speaking about her career progression Chioma said: "I have got this far by applying the discipline, skills and theories acquired while on the demanding schedule of the Cardiff MBA. I hope that the qualification, coupled with hard work, will continue to open doors for me in the future."

Chioma’s success was regarded by judges as even more significant due to the financial difficulties she encountered whilst studying at Cardiff.

Whilst already working towards her MBA qualification, Chioma lost her sponsorship to study and was faced with either dropping out or trying to work multiple jobs to fund her education.

However, thanks to the advice and support of both staff at Cardiff Business School and her uncle she was able to continue, eventually graduating with a distinction in 2006.

Chioma added: "I found that the staff at Cardiff Business School had a culture of encouraging students to succeed. There was always a kind word from staff, lots of encouragement, and forums which provided support to students. All we had to do as students was to speak up and ask for help regardless of what circumstances we found ourselves; they were always there to help".

Second place in the competition went to Hassaan Khalid who also graduated from Cardiff Business School and has since returned to his native Pakistan to start work on a student magazine called Student’s Blog. In his letter Hassaan chronicled his many achievements since leaving the University including establishing his student magazine and setting up a Pakistani agency to help UK universities recruit students.

School of Biosciences graduate Américo Rodríguez was awarded third prize for his letter detailing his return to Mexico after graduating to become Head of Department and then Director of the Centre for Research into Public Health.

Américo said: "My days at the University were very exciting, from the richness that a multi-ethnic environment can provide, to the excellence that I found in all the academic staff with whom I got involved."

Sarah Price, Deputy Director of Development and Alumni Relations said: "The competition has given us an insight into the hugely varied and successful careers Cardiff’s international graduates go onto have. We received entries from across the globe, from graduates who have studied in a variety of subjects - all of which proved that even in difficult economic times, a Cardiff University education helped significantly in putting many of our international graduates firmly on the road to career success."

Related links:

Cardiff Business School

Development and Alumni Relations

Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services

School of Biosciences