Chevening Scholar Sibulele Ngomane completed an MSc in Development Economics, at SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies) University of London, in the class of 2019-20. Since then she has been working for a Pan African economic policy institute, headquartered in Accra, which focuses on economic transformation in Africa. Here Sibulele describes her time at the College and the impact of the Scholarship on her career.
I am very grateful for the Chevening and Goodenough experience, and would encourage any aspiring global leaders to apply for a Scholarship. Studying in London and living in Goodenough College has been a defining experience for my personal and professional life and something that only became possible as a result of a Chevening Scholarship Award.
Prior to pursuing my master’s I worked in strategy and product management in the technology sector. Whilst this was an incredible experience, I wanted to combine my interest in digital innovation with my passion for African Development.
Studying in London as a Chevening Scholar allowed me to successfully transition from working full time to studying full time as a mature student. It also allowed me to pursue my passion for African Development at the intersection of technological innovation. At SOAS I was challenged to take a pluralistic view of African Economic Development while taking into account the nuanced political economy perspectives.
“Beyond an enriching academic experience, my time in London showed me the value of strong communities, perseverance and pursuing one’s dreams.”
Through the Chevening Secretariat I had the opportunity to engage with phenomenal students who all shared the same vision: to have impactful careers and advance their respective countries. It was by talking to Chevening Scholars, before starting my studies, that I learned about Goodenough College, an incredible international student community right in the heart of central London. Living at Goodenough College provided me with the amenities and pastoral care to complete my studies with ease. At the same time the College gave me the opportunity to be part of a vibrant international community, living with people who supported each other.
One of the things I enjoyed at Goodenough was that I was empowered to engage and contribute in my immediate community. For example, alongside my floor mate, I organised a Sustainability Evening at the College. During the Evening we explored the future of food value chains from an economics and a neuroscience perspective. With the support of the College we were also able to offer sustainably sourced dinner options, including an insect appetiser!
All of these experiences broadened my horizons both from an academic but also from a social point of view. They taught me to think outside the box, be brave enough to move outside my comfort zone and to network with diverse people. This was even more vital as the global health pandemic hit.
During the pandemic, when all our classes switched to virtual instruction, I was continually encouraged by classmates, my friends at Goodenough College and the supportive Goodenough team. This helped me persevere through a globally difficult time and have the courage to apply my newly obtained expertise in my next career move – working for a Pan African economic policy institute, headquartered in Accra which focuses on economic transformation in Africa.
As a Senior Analyst I work directly with the organisation’s President and Executive Vice President to drive strategic projects and policy programs. My role also gives me the opportunity to lead transformation projects whilst working with prominent stakeholders. On a daily basis I am applying the managerial skills I gained through previous roles in the technology sector but also making use of my improved understanding of African Development and working with people from diverse backgrounds – something I gained through my unique educational experience.