Hard work, family support cited as keys to success

May 27, 2004, vol. 30, no. 3
By Diane Luckow

Document Tools

Print This Article

E-mail This Page

Font Size
S      M      L      XL

Related Stories

When 18-year-old Yabome Kanu entered university in Sierra Leone in 1995, she expected to graduate with an honours degree in business by age 21.

With only about a year left in her program, however, civil war broke out and she had to flee the country.

She lost a year in neighbouring Guinea, waiting to be accepted into Canada. Once here, she lost another two years when she could only transfer less than a year's worth of undergraduate credits.

Then there was the additional year she spent in the co-op program as a high-tech recruiter in order to finish financing her undergraduate business degree. At this year's convocation, however, Kanu, 26, will cross the podium to receive her specialist master of business administration (MBA) degree in human resources management. She'll also receive the dean of business graduate convocation medal for the highest cumulative grade point average in her class - 3.999 out of 4.33.

Kanu won't deny that she has worked hard for her honours - which included a $17,500 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council scholarship. She carried full course loads while working as a teaching assistant in the business faculty and participated in various campus clubs.

“It was very hard work but I had support from my family and friends,” says Kanu, who returned to Sierra Leone last December to marry.

Kanu pursued the one-year specialist MBA because it is one of the few programs available focused on leadership and organizational change.

“I definitely want to work in that area for awhile,” she says, “but I'm also considering a PhD. I'd like to be both a professor and work in industry.”

SFU, says Kanu, gave her a different perspective on learning styles than she would have experienced in her home country.

“In Sierra Leone, we had American students and west African students. but here at SFU there was more cultural diversity,” she says. “The British university system focuses more on depth while SFU does breadth as well.”

Search SFU News Online