Member’s Corner takes a closer look at D.I.S.S Alumni’s 200 members. This week features Chijioke Okogbue from Class of 2000.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a motivated, resourceful and hardworking man who has a pragmatic approach to life. I believe in having a good work-life balance and I relish a little bit of fun every now and then.
What are your academic qualifications?
My quest for academic excellence was nurtured within the four walls of Dority International Secondary School. After graduating from D.I.S.S with a ‘perfect’ result in 2000, I gained admission to study Industrial Chemistry at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I graduated in 2005 as the second-best graduating student with a GPA of 4.32.
I hold a masters degree in Project Management from the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom (2012).
Are you a member of any association?
I am a Technical Member of the Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH), an executive member of the Institute of Roofing (IoR), Secretary of the Institute of Roofing in North East England and a member of the Association of Project Management (APM).
What are your job experiences and where do you work presently?
My career started in 2006 with Oceanic Bank. I worked in Operations and became Departmental Head in 2007. I joined the Project Management Office at Oceanic Bank headquarters as a Lead Operational Excellence Expert for the South East Region.
I currently work as a Project/ Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Manager in the UK construction industry.
What keeps you busy outside the office?
I love football. I am actively involved with Newcastle United Football Club and Sunderland AFC where I spend most Saturdays as a safety steward. I don’t let the rivalry between the two clubs get in my way (laughs).
I love dancing. I used to be part of a dance group at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I still dance and won’t let an opportunity to move to a good rhythm pass me by.
I love travelling and discovering new places and culture. My wife and I are hoping to visit all the countries in Europe by 2022.
Which projects have you handled?
My first ever project was developing a system of treating sewage in an environmentally friendly way. I was 17 years old then and submitted the project to Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany and became a member of World Young Researchers on Environment (WYRE).
During my banking career, I was involved in a change management program called Operation Excellence. The key deliverables for the project were a positive change in the behavioural mindset of staff members and the implementation of the Lean waste-reduction technique in all branches of Oceanic Bank in Nigeria.
I have also been involved in various construction projects including refurbishment works to the iconic BT Tower in London.
Which project challenged you the most?
Every project has challenges and the ability to adapt throughout the lifecycle of a project is exciting.
What motivates you?
I am self-driven and result oriented. Creating solutions to problems is a huge motivation for me.
What do you remember most about your time as a student at Dority International Secondary School?
Life in Dority was exciting with the constant academic competition among classmates. I always remember the general assembly and the end of term event where Honour Roll students are praised by Mrs Zovannah Onumah. I remember aspiring to be like the brilliant students who always achieved Honour Roll. Following consistent hard work and study, Honour Roll became a regular achievement for me at the end of every school term.
Have you been to D.I.S.S since you graduated?
Unfortunately, I haven’t. However, I plan a visit in the nearest future. I am sure it will feel amazing to be back and connect with the place that had a massive impact on my teenage life and made me a better person.
Where do you think you will be in the next 5 years?
I picture myself in a position to actively contribute to the development and advancement of knowledge in project management.
Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
I will always be proud of representing Nigeria in an international science competition in Germany 19 years ago.
Which issues or topics are you passionate about?
I am a lover of green environment and passionate about the maintenance of a balanced ecosystem.
If you had the chance to mentor a D.I.S.S student today, what advice would you give him/her?
A combination of hard work and the right attitude will keep you at the top of your chosen field of study. Always remember the Dority motto: Sursum ad Summum–Rise to the Highest. It is okay to fail, but you must strive to get up, dust yourself and try again until you achieve your goal.
Where do you see D.I.S.S Alumni in the next 5 years?
I see a well-established institution positively influencing young lives in our alma mater and beyond as well as contributing to shaping the world around us.