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Pamela Achan: Keelite of the Month September 2015
2004 MBA (Business Administration)
What am I doing now?
I am currently the General Manager of one of the Top 5 Agri-chemical companies in Uganda that imports and distributes agro-chemicals and agro-inputs all over Uganda and beyond. I have been in this position for close to eight years. One of my main duties has been to develop new markets and relationships with new suppliers while at the same time maintaining the existing markets and supplier relationships.
How did you get to where you are now?
After my Bachelor’s degree from Makerere University- Uganda, I came to England where I first studied for a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration at The University of Birmingham and then later on moved to Keele University for my MBA. After I graduated from Keele University with an MBA, I joined Standard Chartered Bank Uganda, as a bank teller and then rose through the different ranks to become a personal financial consultant. Afterwards, I was invited to join Alga (Africa) Ltd as the General Manager. I had worked at the company previously during my undergraduate studies as a sales person and customer service officer, but then left to study for my masters. When I returned I chose to work in a bank, mostly because I wanted to understand money! After about three years in the bank, I left to join the private sector as a Manager and that’s where I am right now. Getting to where I am now has been through hard work, the support and advice of those around me and patience.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Well... I was recently among 50 women (the only African woman) selected from all over the world to participate in a Business Training Program at The University of California Los Angeles – The Anderson School of Management. This Business Training Program was sponsored by Banco Santander. I heard about this through the Keele University Alumni team, because keele is a Santander partner university. It is meant to offer senior executives a workshop program that would supplement and enrich the participants with important international perspectives and business practices. This was an awesome opportunity for me because I got to meet and interact with other incredible women who are making a huge and positive impact in their spheres of influence. I also got to interact with my tutors who shared themselves generously with us both professionally and personally, which was an inspiration for me.
And your biggest mistake?
Not taking more risks!
Photo left: with Kelly Bean, Associate Dean , Anderson School of Management
What are your ambitions now?
As a result of the Banco Santander program, I established some valuable contacts. I am currently working with one of the ladies I met to come up with a great idea on how we can merge technological skills with financial acumen to establish a profitable business in Uganda. However, we hope that at the same time, through this business, we can give something back to the community in particular, offer women some valuable skills to enable them become more self-sustaining. I also would like an opportunity to have an international experience... to try out more challenging roles in different environments and settings, more in the service industry. There is something enormously rewarding in seeing a satisfied and happy client.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in a similar field?
Think out of the box and do not to limit yourself to only what you think you know or have studied. There is a whole big world out there.
What made you choose Keele University?
The very first day I visited Keele, I had such a peace. I was settled. I knew I had come home. The people in and around the university were very friendly and helpful. I settled in so quickly and easily and made life-long friends from totally different walks of life.
What kind of a student were you?
I worked hard, I studied hard and I partied hard, ha ha… I especially loved the karaoke sessions. My MBA class was really close knit so we hung out together a lot. We still keep in touch with each other.
How has Keele influenced your life?
I came out a more confident and engaging person. The teaching style encouraged one to think, to ask questions and analyze issues. My supervisor while I was writing my dissertation, Ms. Deborah Kerfoot, left a huge impression on me - she pushed me to think and explore ideas and she always made time for me, she shared some of the projects she was involved in with me and I had so much admiration and respect for her.
What is your favourite memory of Keele?
I have a lot of favourite memories of Keele: Some of the best friendships I have enjoyed were birthed at Keele, I enjoyed the silence of sitting quietly in the evenings in the church, I enjoyed the time I spent with my classmates or housemates, we cooked together, we celebrated birthdays, we laughed together and we cried together and that bonded us.
What is your impression of Keele now?
It has grown by leaps and bounds and I am definitely proud to be associated with Keele University!
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank You for making me a Keelite of the Month!