Many times people realize the value of university education when they have come out of campus and have joined the employment world. However the case is different with Mbikamboli Idu Mikellides, a student at Victoria University Kampala.
In an exclusive interview Mikellides known to his peers as Mike reveals how studying a business course has shaped and changed his life. The second year student of business administration tells of how an entrepreneurship course unit taught him how to start a business.
Mike, a refugee from Bunia in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), would go on to implement what he had learnt in the lecture room to reality. He joined the business world when he opened up a supermarket at the border of Uganda and DRC.
“When I joined Victoria University, I didn’t have any business. I was not a businessman. In my life, I wanted to be a businessman, travel the world and be recognized all over the world, to be rich,” Mike narrates.
“So when I joined Victoria University, there is one course unit, entrepreneurship, which changed my life. It taught me how to start a business, how to take a risk, that is how I started my business.
I had an idea, in Uganda things are cheap and in DRC things are expensive. I said why can’t I buy things here and take them to DRC. Right now, I have twelve employees working for me, in my own company,” he explains how Victoria University shaped his business acumen.
Mike has since opened up a supermarket selling all sorts of things. “It is at the Uganda – DRC border. First thing in business, you need to locate a good place with demand to set your business. In Kampala we have so many supermarkets so I decided to go where there is none. The border area gave me an opportunity to start and grow easily,”
The student, who has secured land in DRC on which he wants to set up a cocoa plantation that will employ hundreds of people, says Victoria University ‘always tries to link you up with big people, to inspire you’, something which exposes students to opportunities.
But juggling business and studies is turning out to be a challenge. “Sometimes I have orders for the supermarket which I need to deliver. That means I have to leave school and go to kikuubo to do shopping, then send to the supermarket.
It can take me about two or three days. In the process, I am missing studies here at the university. But I try to balance my time. When I have an order or invoice to deliver, I call my suppliers, I only go to verify and send to the shop,”
He asked why he chose Victoria University among all universities in Uganda, Mike said: “I went to so many different universities. I tried to know deeply about them. I saw a big difference between Victoria University and other universities.
All are universities but there are specific things that drove me here. It is not only the building but their systems, their standards; Victoria University is different from other universities.”