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Stats: 18,431 Members, 74,639 Topics, 16,065 Comments. Date: Dec 9 2019, 10:36 am


Adelani Temiloluwa
School Of Nursing Ondo
Nursing Student
300Level, Nigeria.

Kiniabasi Ekpenyong, a first-class graduate from the Department of Accounting, Babcock University, combined her studies with taking ICAN exams, which she also passed as an undergraduate. In this interview with TUNDE AJAJA, she shares the secret to her success

Source: https://punchng.com/i-once-slept-off-during-exam-after-reading-all-night-ekpenyong-bu-first-class-graduate/

Do you recall what attracted you to accounting?

Accounting has always been my dream course. While I was younger, I wanted to work in a bank, by all means, so I felt the easiest way to achieve that was for me to study accounting. I was always so excited to see female bankers anytime I went to the bank. I used to see them as very sophisticated and smart people and I loved to be one. Looking back now, I would say I made the right choice. Beyond my admiration for female bankers, the fact that you can deal with a large volume of numbers at a time amazes me. Without accounting, an individual or company is incomplete. It holds so much power on its own and requires perfection.

You recently qualified as a chartered accountant, how easy was it combining that with your university education?

It was difficult, especially in the first semester of my fourth year. That was my toughest semester because I had to combine my school work with project as well as the professional level of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. I had my worst GPA that semester because my school exam was two weeks after my ICAN exams and I was so unprepared for it because I couldn’t go for lectures for a while. I also had assignments that I didn’t do because I was trying to concentrate on my ICAN exams. As it turned out, the two weeks were not enough to make up for everything and it reflected in my school result, which was not good enough. However, I had consolation in my ICAN result, which came out very fine.

Were there times you felt like putting it on hold, maybe when it clashed with your schoolwork?

Yes, I felt like putting it on hold in my final year. I remember calling my parents and telling them that I was tired of it. They simply told me that whatever I decided was okay with them. A lot of people advised me to do it later and pass my school exams first because graduation was more important than passing ICAN exams. It was something they believed I could do when I was done. The workload was much and really it was worth considering.

What made you continue with it?

I think what kept me going was the support of my family members. Truly, they were fine with whatever I decided to do but I also knew that they would be happier if I finished it once and for all. My dad had always said I would be a chartered accountant and a first-class graduate before age 20. It was a subtle prophecy. You can easily imagine his joy when I achieved both, the same way he wanted it. All my brothers were best graduating students in their respective departments, so I didn’t have any excuse. Even though I didn’t lead my department, I was still very happy with my result. One other thing that helped was that my friends encouraged me to continue. They said they knew I was smart enough to handle both and they told me they trusted me to handle both. That was meant to be a joke but it made me realise that people expected the best from me, and I didn’t want to let them down. I’m glad about the way everything went. That is why a good support system is important for people; students in this context.

Would you say combining your studies with ICAN exams was complementary in terms of knowledge transfer?

It was very complementary and there was a lot of knowledge transfer. While I was preparing to sit my professional level of ICAN, I was taught some things in school which helped in the exam, but when I was done with ICAN, I later came across most of the things I learnt there in the second semester of my fourth year. As expected, I found them easier (laughs).

You said you are open to opportunities that would enhance your career, where would you like to work?

This question feels like a trap (laughs). Well, I have always aspired to work at the World Bank and that desire is intact and I’m preparing myself. My retirement plan is to be a lecturer after I would have gained so much experience across different fields, and my motivation for lecturing is because I want to impart my students deeply. I would want them to see life as something they can explore and remain unscathed.

With the much you’ve learnt, how best do you think Nigeria can end its cycle of deficit budgeting?

Nigeria needs to boost its manufacturing sector and export more goods. We have to do more to diversify our economy because apart from the fact that there would be more jobs for people in different sectors, we would boost our revenue and that would go a long way to avail us of more funds needed to finance our budget and develop the country. I feel we also need to learn to prepare realistic budgets.

Nigeria produces thousands of accounting graduates every year but there are limited jobs available. Do you sometimes feel disturbed by this unemployment rate?

Yes, I do, and I think it would bother anyone. I believe that if we maximise our potential, there is so much we all can do to earn a decent living, and accountants would be in high demand (laughs). It is one course that is needed everywhere, no matter how small the business or establishment is.

What have you been doing since you graduated last year?

A month after graduation, I worked as an intern at KPMG for six weeks. It was a delivery centre internship programme as a result of a partnership with Babcock University for graduates. After the programme, I went for my National Youth Service Corps programme, which I started in November 2018.

Would you say you did anything differently from other students to have graduated with a first-class degree, given your commitments?

I didn’t make any special commitment. I only spent more time reading and studying for my exams. I was no longer sociable as I used to be and as I would have loved to be. I knew that I had to prioritise my studies over any other thing and it was important for me to finish what I had started. There were times I didn’t sleep at night until the following day. I prepared a reading timetable for myself and tried to keep to it. I set goals on what I wanted to study for the day and how long it would take to study them. I simply tried to stick to those goals. I also identified what worked for me. I read mostly at night because that was when I was most relaxed. I also paid attention to my lectures and realised that I understood things better if I listened to attentively in class. What I simply did was to sit in front of the class most times. I also preferred to read alone for a while and my bed was the best place to read, not even my reading table. Then, I would revise what I read with my group of friends. We would then share ideas on what we read individually so we could understand them better. Of equal importance was the fact that I also didn’t joke with my sleep, except when situations demanded that I stayed awake, and there is a reason why I don’t joke with my sleep, even during exams. When I was in high school, I was not accustomed to sleeping during exams. But one day, I slept off for like an hour in the exam hall and woke up when the time was almost up (laughs). Now I can laugh about it. Since then, I learnt that sleep is really important.

When did you start having grades that would enable you to graduate with a first-class degree?

It was my first semester at school. That semester, I had only one B; the rest were A’s. My brothers had told me that if I wanted to graduate with a first-class degree, I would have to start with a strong first-class grade so that no matter how tough it became I would still be a first-class student. I’m the only daughter with elder brothers who had already achieved so much success under tough circumstances. So, mine was made easy and my parents ensured I had the best. I was the best graduating student in high school and the best female graduating student in my primary school. It was only normal that I sustained that success. The successes I have had creates a special feeling and I really want to sustain that feeling. I’m deeply grateful to my parents for their mentoring and huge support. And I must add that the kind of fees we paid was enough motivation for me not to fail or settle for less.

Were you able to create time for social activities?

Yes, I was. I used to hang out with my friends and attend social events. I also saw movies but there were moments I had to forgo fun to study.

Sometimes, students find it difficult settling down in their first year, did you encounter any challenge?

I think the challenge was trying to fit into the system. There were so many people and I used to wonder if I was doing things right. Also, with my good academic record, I felt answering questions in class was a good thing but over time, some of my classmates felt I was trying to impress or to show that I knew too much. So, such persons were on the lookout for my first semester result and thank God they were surprised, to my advantage. But, by then I had already stopped answering questions in class. Even though I knew most of the answers, I decided to be quiet.

Could you capture how they reacted when you told your parents that you graduated with a first-class degree?

They were very excited, especially my mum. She was really screaming that day but I knew deep down they didn’t expect any less of me. My dad was just saying ‘that’s my girl making us proud.’

Did you win any recognition/award?

Yes, I was the most outstanding student in my department in my third year, and the funny thing was that I didn’t expect it. I didn’t even go for the award; it was my friend who collected it on my behalf. I want to encourage students to place God first and have a personal relationship with Him. I always attribute my successes to Him and whenever I feel overwhelmed by anything, I go to God for renewed strength and grace to continue.

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