Inspire Career Series; with 6 question and answer sessions, discusses how professionals in diaspora made their career choices. This is Bunmi’s story.
Bunmi is an accounts manager for a well-known pharmaceutical brand in the UK. Initially planning to be a pharmacist, the love for marketing won her over and she eventually chose a career that blended her love for sciences and marketing.
When did you relocate and what made you relocate?
Though born in the UK, my childhood years were mainly in Nigeria. I relocated to the UK in 1993 for my A-levels. I suppose my parents always wanted me to further my studies here but needed me to connect fully with my origins in my formative years.
Did you face any challenges initially?
Yes I did, It was a culture shock! I called every adult aunty and uncle and they were not having it. My accent was not acceptable to my new friends who thought I should be speak with a cockney accent. Mind you in Nigeria we are thought “Queens English”. There was the weather too, I couldn’t get my head around the very short days of winter. It was pitch black at 4pm!!
How did you choose your career?
I studied Life Science at college, then Pharmaceutical Science for my first degree and Masters in International Marketing and Management. Looking at my choices, the battle between sciences and marketing was apparent. From college, I had started working at a big retail clothing chain to make ends meet. I rose through the ranks and by my final year, I was already a retail manager. I then knew that marketing was definitely my calling which led to the Master’s degree. Right now I move from one region in the UK to the next sharing my expert knowledge in various therapy areas with health care professionals. The aim is to promote clinical education and medicines. I hope you see how my work blends the sciences and my natural calling of marketing lol!
What is your 5 year plan career-wise?
I would like to remain in the same industry but would like to work in the corporate head-office. I am currently on the field. I would also like to grow the training and consultancy work that I currently do maybe into something more formal.
In retrospect would you have done anything differently?
Looking back, I would have done my research into this industry a lot sooner so that once I made the decision to join, I would have spent a lot less time on the field before making a move to corporate. However all is not lost as I am still on my way to that brand manager’s post.
Advice for anyone wishing to relocate?
Keep an open mind. Be ready to work your way up. Experience beats degrees hands down. If I never went to University, I would have still been a senior manager in retail. Schooling is good but experience will take you further so don’t look down on humble beginnings at all.