Business and Management alumnus Felix Ochefu has been named Alumnus of the Month for August due to his work co-founding a student entrepreneurship initiative alongside his career as a business and technology consultant.
For Felix, results day turned out to be “one of the worst experiences of my life” when the grades he received were not what he expected. Fearing he had no options available, he spoke with his head of sixth form who pointed him in the direction of DMU.
Felix said: “I called DMU’s Clearing team and immediately felt like they were willing to give me a chance where many other universities didn’t. The Clearing team sympathised with me, made an effort to understand my academic plans and talked me through viable options. It made the decision to study there easy.
“I will be eternally grateful to DMU for taking a chance on me,” he said.
Now living in London, the 24-year-old works as a business and technology consultant with FDM Group, an international professional services company. Since joining the group, he has put the skills learnt during his Business and Management degree to good use.
He said: “My first project was working with the Government to successfully execute Europe’s second largest digital transformation project. We upgraded the technical infrastructure in 30 Jobcentres across the country and I travelled to various sites, created and delivered training sessions to more than 500 Jobcentre staff on how to use the new technology.
“My current project is working with a large UK bank on a major overhaul of their customer communications technology platforms.”
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Since leaving DMU, Felix has also co-founded IdeasLab – an initiative to support university student entrepreneurs who are passionate about building start-ups, projects and side hustles.
He explained: “We are building a network for students to connect, network and collaborate. We also work with universities on the best strategies to establish, foster and grow student entrepreneurship both physically and virtually.”
While studying at DMU, Felix and his two fellow classmates and IdeasLab co-founders regularly gave advice to budding student entrepreneurs about how they can improve their ideas. However, it was a DMU Global trip to Silicon Valley in California, one of the world’s leading centres of technological innovation, that solidified their plans.
He said: “It wasn’t until we visited Silicon Valley that we saw exactly what we needed to do and how. In the Valley, networking, rapid prototyping, acceptance of failure and open collaboration are foundational to the success of many notable entrepreneurs, start-ups and global brands.
“We’re aiming to transform the fundamental meaning of student entrepreneurship so we can help build the next generation of incredible founders and businesses who create value for their local and global community. We want to prove to students and universities around the world that entrepreneurship is a viable option that should be taken seriously because of the sheer amount of value and learning that comes with it, and we're building an exciting suite of services around that ethos.
Reflecting on his DMU experience, Felix said there were ‘so many’ highlights, but the peak moment was graduating from university with a First-class degree.
He said: “Considering I started my DMU journey in Clearing and was on track to finish with a high 2:2, the fact I was able to work hard and finish with a First-class degree was huge for me.
“Seeing the pride in my parents' faces on graduation day was an unforgettable experience. I was also fortunate enough to have 23 family members fly in from around the world to celebrate my achievement, which was an incredible highlight as well.”
Felix continues to encourage entrepreneurial students and recent alumni to reach out to the IdeasLab team through their website, and gave this parting advice: “Build something that creates value while you’re at university and leave a legacy you’ll be proud of.
"It's an honour to be nominated as Alumnus of the Month. It wasn't that long ago that I was on campus pulling long study hours, working a part time job and trying to figure my path in life so I feel humbled that my work and passion is being recognised and validated by DMU. I also believe this sort of visibility and recognition is also important for the younger generation, especially those who look like me."
“Being a DMU Alumnus means that I know I always have a huge network and community of supportive people to lean on. I'm vocal about how innovative DMU is and the success you can attain if you make use of everything the university has to offer in terms of support and experiences. I'm looking forward to being able to help other young alumni in the future and I welcome aspiring entrepreneurs to contact me on Twitter or LinkedIn.
"Take full advantage of your university and community. You are capable of much more than you know,” he said.
Posted on Thursday 13th August 2020