Oluwagbemileke is an Ecosystems Research Lead for the Government of Sierra Leone in the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation.
I chose the LSE because of the MPA curriculum - having come from a mostly legal background, I wanted and liked the focus on quantitative skills. The best things about the SPP were the people I met: I learned so much from my friends and classmates, whether in-person or during class and work discussions, and I had great academic mentors. I also gained and developed various quantitative and policy analysis skills during my studies.
After graduating my career path was quite diverse and went in a few different directions. I have worked on reviewing government agriculture expenditure in Sierra Leone over the last five years: I loved it because it was a follow-up to the work I did on my dissertation on concentration of government expenditure. I also worked on developing and implementing research on understanding the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Sierra Leone. I enjoyed this because the several elements involved combine many of my interests: research, policy, technology, law, and business. I continued working as a lawyer and got to see first-hand how our laws and policies regulated, supported, hindered and at many times left huge gaps in how the private sector and investment landscape operated.
I am still working on understanding the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Sierra Leone. I consolidate all the data we gather from research and other external sources before analysing and reporting, as well as supporting the development of an online tool which would make all our research publicly available. I am also still doing law, and am supporting a baseline study on the COVID cash transfer program in Sierra Leone.
It can be a bit of a stretch sometimes, but I enjoy seeing how different aspects of the public policy work in Sierra Leone: how they interact, or mostly do not. I also appreciate the private sector perspective I get as a lawyer. Altogether I think I am still learning and trying to understand the world around me – but this time by doing (mostly). I hope that along the way I am also contributing to making our systems better and supporting the people who are doing similar.
At the SPP I met great people and learned new skills, as well as reinforcing old ones. I gained the confidence to branch out into new areas, and loved doing the research for my dissertation which helped me to discover new interests and possible life paths.
I love both law and policy and I think doing the MPA brought them somewhat closer - but I am still figuring out how to bring both my interest and skills in law and policy together in a way that makes the most impact.