International Relations is not just course for ‘mababi’

By Harriet Achieng | Thursday, Mar 14th 2019 at 08:27
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Lucky Ogutu Okudo is an oil executive and Founder and CEO of Women in Energy and Extractives Africa, a non-profit organisation working to bridge the gender gaps in the oil, gas, mining, alternative energy sources and nuclear energy in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Which university did you attend?

I went to United States International University – Africa for my undergraduate studies. I studied International Relations with a concentration in foreign policy and diplomacy. After graduation, I went to the University of Aberdeen in Scotland for my Masters in Science.

Is what you are doing related to what you studied?

I enjoyed studying for my foreign policy and diplomacy course. When I graduated, however, I felt incomplete as if in need of a greater challenge. After a year of unsuccessful job searching, I knew I had to take a leap and that was what led me to study oil and gas. This was around the same time then President Kibaki confirmed oil and gas finds in Kenya. Everything aligned and off I went to pursue a vision that has now paid off.

What is the false impression that people have about international relations?

Firstly, IR (International Relations) has always been looked at the course for ‘babis’ (the rich) which is far from true. I had no idea years later what I learnt would become some of my core skills today. Negotiation, mediation, international dispute resolution and analysis.

What were you known for in campus?

Wearing pyjamas (hides face) to class. I preferred attending m lessons in very comfortable clothing. Sweat pants, loafers, hoodies that was my style. It is my opinion that the best performance comes when you are comfortable physically, mentally and emotionally.

How did you balance between social life and studies?

I really did not have much of a social life when I pursuing my undergraduate studies. I was committed to expediting my degree and focusing on that. I believe it is so important to decide what you want and to go at it with your all.

Were there moments where you missed class?

I tried not to, but there were instances that were out of my control. I worked throughout my undergraduate degree as a financial analyst and this affected my class schedules at times.

Where did you hang out?

Restaurants were my favourite hangout. I enjoyed food and quiet places that gave you the ability to let your thoughts breath and ideas flow.

What were your side hustles?

I have tried it all. I used to sell men’s shirts to my friends. I would do mystery shopping for hotels by staying there as an anonymous guest and reviewing the services. I was a bartender once at an Elton John concert, sold hotdogs at a football stadium, managed a fast-food business and even tried my hand at modelling.

What was your thoughts about dating in campus?

Campus is such a sensitive time. You have new freedoms, new friends and new surroundings. I have never been a serial dater and have been in less than five relationships to date. I believe that it is important to first know yourself, value yourself and then be able to radiate that love with someone else.

Advice to those in school?

Enjoy school and get involved as early as you can, as there are so many opportunities in extra-curricular activities that will help you identify your passions and nurture your skills. When deciding your career path, match your passion with the gaps that need filling in the society.

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