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BellaNaija Celebrates Academic Excellence – Class of 2015: Chiamaka Ndukauba



BellaNaija presents “Celebrating You! Class of 2015” We called for submissions of graduating students who had excelled in their course of study. We acknowledge the fact that everyone who has graduated this year is a winner. We, therefore, want to celebrate people who have gone over and above the norm. People who have gotten meritorious distinctions and awards from their institution of study. We hope that you are inspired and we look forward to receiving more entries.

Chiamaka Ndukauba graduated from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London with a distinction in her Masters in Development Economics. Pause. Let that sink in for a bit before you read on.

You see, this is why we continue to celebrate academic excellence. A lover of arts and music, Chiamaka blossomed in a home environment with unconditional love from her family and particular discipline from her mother. She is a firm believer in the fact that she can achieve anything she set her mind to. She described her story like this: “It indeed has been an exciting journey for me fraught with uncertainties and the attendant highs and lows”. In all, she scaled the bar! We enjoyed her story and found it really inspiring. We hope you do, too.IMG_2411

Genius in The Making… But First, Right Course
Towards the beginning of the WASSCE I decided I really wanted to be an economist after following updates on world economies and promptly switched from pure sciences (following my brother’s footsteps I initially wanted to be a doctor) to the commercial department. This was a huge leap but with my parents support and insistence on a private tutor, I quickly gained ground in all courses and aced my WASSCE. Next was my first degree where I attained part scholarship from Nigerian Breweries 2008-2012. Upon completion of my first degree at Veritas University, Abuja, in 2012, I bagged 3 awards (2nd Overall Best Graduating Student, Best Graduating Student in the College of Management and Social Sciences, and Best Graduating in the Department of Economics).

Funding For Masters… Hello Scholarship!
The next step was to attain a master’s degree in Development Economics where my passion lay. While serving as a Research Assistant (NYSC), I became the “professional applicant” for scholarships in the UK universities. I consistently hounded my referees who all provided immense and continuous help in providing detailed reference and recommendation letters for each of the applications (which was quite a lot!). After my final application scholarship application in March 2013 to SOAS, University of London, I sat back and handed all to God, believing and praying for a miracle and at the same time started actively searching for jobs.

A day I would not forget was 1st July 2013 when I had just finished shopping office clothing for a job I was to begin the next Monday and was playing dress up for my mum and sister, when a mail from the scholarship office of SOAS beeped on my phone. My heart literally squeezed as I thought it was the “We regret to inform you….” only to see the subject line had congratulations. I opened this mail to see a scholarship offer for an MSc in Development Economics in London. I screamed for joy while my mum nearly fainted from fright because she could not understand the expression on my face or reason for my scream ha-ha!

The True Test of Dedication, Doggedness & Determination
From the onset it was tough as there was a Preliminary Math and Statistics course, where failure would nullify course of choice and consequently your scholarship (after family thanksgiving in church..mbanu). After scaling through this with distinction grades, the short nights and days when the library was a second home officially began. Thereafter, final exams were completed and the tedious IMG_2471process of dissertation writing began (days of constant 4 minutes frozen pizzas).

Studying Economics at a higher level during this Masters degree really tested my endurance. At the beginning of the course, the requirements mandated at least 2 elective courses upon which I decided to stick with related courses where I already had a solid background. However, a fellow classmate convinced me to try something unrelated but interesting (a course on Capital Markets and Derivatives). It was not a surprise when after I attended the first lecture for this course, I found a remote corner in the library and asked myself if that classmate was sent to torment me haha. However, after I spoke with my brother, who as usual convinced me, I could ace the course, I set out to purchase all the beginner’s books I could find and registered for as many online tutorials as I could. As time went by, I began to grasp the rudiments and didn’t quite feel out of place during lectures.

Another major moment when I began to doubt I could attain that distinction was during an exam where I was so stressed, I completely blanked out. It took at least 15 minutes to calm my racing heart and another 10 to pray, before I just stared at my sheet and answered in a completely different structure from what I had planned.

Finish Strong
My joy came when exam results were released and I attained distinctions in 6 courses save two. My supervisor was totally surprised at the number of distinctions and immensely proud of me, and then promptly threw more curve balls as we discussed my 2nd dissertation draft. After I turned in my dissertation, the official fasting and prayer began – as school policy maintained a distinction must be attained in the dissertation in addition to the course requirement before an overall distinction could be awarded.

When I found out I made a distinction the first feeling that came over me was just gratitude. This was so because for a very long time during my studies I continuously doubted my abilities, but for the several voices of encouragement that continuously put these doubts to rest.

Upon receipt of my certificate with a Distinction in MSc Development Economics, my mum sang praise and worship for hours, while my dad as usual said his solemn “Well-done, well-done, I knew you could do it” (2nd thanksgiving on the way…).

Looking Ahead… To Sub-Saharan Africa
I am looking forward to a career in International Development and Finance. My long term goal is to contribute to curbing abject poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa beginning with Nigeria.

Despite all odds, I set my mind to a goal and put in work not withstanding setbacks, as I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I simply always handed all to God from the get go and He has NEVER EVER failed me. So to others students out there, ALWAYS PERSEVERE and NEVER LET YOUR FEARS/DOUBTS OVERSHADOW YOUR STRENGTH.

If you want to be part of this inspiring and amazing feature or if you know someone who is part of the Class of 2015 who should be featured here, please send an email to features(at)bellanaija(dot)com. We look forward to reading from you and sharing your academic excellence.


  1. EllesarisEllendil

    August 7, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Congratulations!! Is it me or have 80% of the class of 2015 been Economics related??

  2. Abena

    August 7, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    BRILLIANT AND BEAUTIFUL LADY! LOVE her graduation dress! This is worthy of emulation not Anna Banner who’s aim in life is to be a second baby mama to a nude loving musician(yes i just had to add that,i am soo vexed at that girl,considering she could have been soo much better)

    • kila

      August 7, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Wow. I think this is an unnecessary comment. Not everyone is interested in academics. Some people just want to be wives and mothers. I don’t think that makes them subservient to others who choose the career path……just my thoughts though

  3. Diddie

    August 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Congratulations dear….. Im inspired!

  4. Tee

    August 7, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Congratulations beauty and brains…God bless you

  5. Viv

    August 7, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I had a distinction in my masters as well o, no one posted me on their blog….YES Bellanaija, i am talking to you

    • Atoke

      August 7, 2015 at 3:13 pm


      We’ve been announcing this thing since the beginning of graduation season. If you send it to us, we’ll check it out. Read the introductory and concluding paragraphs of the feature.


    • Viv

      August 7, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      i graduated a few years ago, not this season

  6. bimbidel

    August 7, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Thank you!

  7. Joke

    August 7, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Congratulations Aimee darling, beauty and brains with height on top, more people like you should be celebrated everyday.

  8. Zadera

    August 7, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Well-done Chiamaka

  9. Evelyn

    August 7, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Wow, Chiamaka Ndukauba, congratulation!

  10. Peter

    August 7, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    No surprise here!!! Her eldest brother has a distinction in Molecular Medicine from University of Sheffield. I guess it’s a family of geniuses. Congratulations dear. Hope you apply for the YPP program at the world Bank.


    August 7, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Nice one! I wonder If she is in anyway related to Chijioke Ndukauba! The boy knows book too much! We went to d same sec school for a bit before I left in jss3

    • Chiamaka

      August 7, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      Yeah, he is my brother. Let me relay that to him now… He would probably remind me of his profound debate skills back then.

    • Chiege

      August 8, 2015 at 3:07 am

      Yes girl, Yes! We’re proud of you. I am. The inspiration you’ve given me right now cannot be measured. You already know you’ll do greater things. Congratulations again

  12. Mz Socially Awkward...

    August 7, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Gurrrl, you is funny. 😀

    And beautiful and an inspiring young woman clearly on her way to greatness. Congratulations and well done you, for challenging yourself and all that hard work!! I pray there are already doors being opened up as your reward but the greater reward will be to keep pushing for more excellence and conquering the peaks I’m sure you’re already seeing yourself climb (and I bind any narrow-minded brotha that approacheth thee with a “my wife must not work/my wife must not pursue further academic excellence” mind-set from your path… mbanu).

    I love seeing more and more young women exploring their intellectual potential to the hilt. Just absolutely love it…

    • Nahum

      August 7, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      AMEN!!!! I bind follow you bind am for this beautiful girl. This na beta degree from beta university. God bless your mother my dear. Well done with your bad self!!

  13. Blah blah

    August 7, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    See she went to a private uni. For those of you who just love to insult graduates from private unis like they are all airheads. Many of them go on to bag distinctions in their masters and do really well for themselves.

  14. Leah

    August 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm


  15. Amh

    August 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Beauty and brains. Congrats. May you never meet s guy that will want you to be a housewive. The sky is your limit. To the commenter above. Why would your dreams be a housewive or babymama for a nudie . When the future is ahead of her. She just a itchy pant. Baby mama for a guy that goes nudie and pansh raw. Mtcheew. Congrats again beautiful one.

  16. Ochokwu

    August 7, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Congrats Chiamaka! ! St John Bosco go hear am during your thanksgiving! ! for the thanksgiving. SR Mercy of HRC ENUGU would be so proud of you. Wish you God’s blessings.

  17. Deoye

    August 7, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    This is really nice Amaka. Congratulations! You’ve really done yourself and family proud. Well done!

  18. Oma

    August 7, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Wow! Congrats! Keep shining!

  19. Nonso O.

    August 7, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Wow! Congrats Aimee… You are surely destined for greatness. Am really proud of you!

  20. Anon

    August 7, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Very well done. That’s my Alma mater. SOAS rocks.

  21. Kachi

    August 8, 2015 at 12:20 am

    Please I’m interested in trying out one of these postgraduate scholarships for international students. But, I don’t know how to go about it. I would be glad if someone gives me a guideline. Thanks

    • Chiamaka

      August 8, 2015 at 11:01 am

      Hi Kachi,

      I scoured through several scholarship websites like. *scholarshippositions, africanopportunities*. However, I was able to narrow down my choices for application by identifying schools of interest offering my course and then went through their scholarship options for students. You can reach me on [email protected] if you need further info.

    • Nkechi

      July 13, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      contact me with this number or send an email- [email protected]/ 08074235708

  22. Ebene

    August 8, 2015 at 2:48 am

    Congrats Chiamaka!!! you ve made Nigeria proud and I hope you re given d chance to help develop d Nigeria economic. My greetings to ur elder brother and my classmate, Chiji.

  23. yeah

    August 8, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Congrats gurl…

  24. Chikito

    August 8, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Congratulations dear. Beauty with brains. I know ur mum, she was our guidance counsellor in secondary school in those days. And Chiji was also a brainy in sec school. Happy 4 y’all

  25. Chima Amadi

    August 8, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Congratulations Amaka! You’re indeed a great achiever! Your ambitions, discipline, and strive for excellence is highly commendable. Your success story is quite inspiring! Wishing you ceaseless reasons to celebrate in the coming years. Kudos!

  26. Onyema Nwokolo

    August 8, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Congrats Amaka! It’s indeed a great pleasure to know you. Your story thus far is inspiring & quite a challenging one to me and of course, I know that your successful journey is still in its beginning stage because you will certainly attain greater heights beyond your imagination. Kudos dear!!!

  27. Amaka

    August 8, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Congrats Chiamaka…more grease to your elbows. BTW your name sounds so familiar,did you attend HRC? am ’06 set.

  28. Laurent

    August 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Congrats Amaka. A girl of excellence. way to go. Keep it up.

  29. chike

    August 9, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Congrats omalicha…beauty and brains rock….its no surprise.. may God guide you from here onwards in your aspirations for success.

  30. millicent

    August 12, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Congrts chiamaka,so happy 4 u,yea @ Amaka she went 2 HRC,she was in ma class den

  31. pee

    October 13, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Congrats dear, we r proud of u. Just dt u don’t like relating with does in St John Bosco

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