To assess the impact of the lab, students completed a survey aimed at measuring their level of confidence, critical skills, knowledge of the job market and industries, preferences in different sectors, and the impact the Lab had on their career journey.
In addition to engaging with speakers and learning from their experience, the main reason for students signing up was to connect and network with peers in a similar position of navigating career transitions, gain insights on regional job markets, and make diverse industry connections built on social capital.
The survey asked students what their career aspirations were before attending the Lab. There was a myriad of responses. Some were quite sure of their next steps e.g., working for an organisation such as the UN or Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, while others were not very specific but keen to get into consulting, policy research/advisor roles in international organisations, or transition from clinical practice to health policy research and evaluation – effectively pivoting within the same sector.
Additionally, there were students who specifically wanted to transition from Africa to the West but still focusing on African issues or policy making for the African continent. Only one student wasn’t very sure of what they would do next other than transitioning back to their home country.
The graph below shows the most popular sessions from the industry professionals with Madvee Muthu (T.i.A Bee Products Ltd., Founder/CEO) and Patrick Kibunja (International Banker, Absa Group) topping the chart followed by Olauluwa Samuel-Biyi (Co-founder SureGroup and Director at Busha) and Oyin Solebo (Founder & COO of MoveMeBack).
During the Lab, the participants:
- Reflected on their career journey, goals, purpose and priorities. They were able to start planning their next steps after graduation and begin mapping out the industries or organisations they were interested in working in.
- Gained a greater understanding of the African job market and transitioning from the West or into different sectors.
- Learned how their career can impact issues facing the African continent.
- Engaged in networking and knowledge exchange with a cohort of individuals, all with their own experiences of working on the African continent or engaging with African issues.
- Gained greater understanding of the LSE support available post-graduation for alumni.
- Developed more confidence in navigating the job market, the power of networking and building their credibility.
- Strengthened their critical skills to achieve their career goals. There was an extensive discussion of demystifying a linear career path and understanding the need for pivoting if needed.
Topics covered in the session were:
- Building credibility and setting yourself up for success.
- Navigating new work environments and organisational culture.
- Positioning yourself in a new role/company or organisation.
- How network effectively and combating imposter syndrome.
- Futureproofing your career, personal branding, rebranding and pivoting.
- Building a sustainable career without compromising your values.
- The most effective way to make an impact on African development through your career.
- How to access roles in major multilateral organisations or in government and the knowledge and skills needed.
- What is important to know if you are considering starting your own project or business in Africa or focused on African issues.
The attendees were also able to share their experience immediately after the Lab. Please click on this link to hear about their 2022 Career Transitions Lab experience.
The main takeaways for attendees included the importance of purpose and values in career growth and progression, building credentials and credibility as well as fostering relationships and networks that aid career growth.
Main takeaway from a student:
“Career development is not necessarily linear (anything could happen and it’s okay to be adaptable). Personal branding is essential – people need to know you to trust you. Go against the grain if possible – shake things up. Pay it forward – whether through mentorship or otherwise. Find your purpose – only then can you be passionate in what you are doing and give it 100%.”