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What I gave up to be successful —Chukwuwezam Obianor

What is your qualification and work history?

I have a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Electronics Engineering from the University of Lagos, Akoka. My first job experience was an internship I underwent while I was still an undergraduate. It lasted for six months. I worked at Google Ericsson LM, one of the biggest telco services providers in the world. Shortly after, I worked at Google Ericcson as a Google Africa intern, I joined Jumia as a Senior Online Marketing Specialist in 2012. I later quit my job at Jumia in 2013 to focus on Prepclass.


When and how did you start up Prepclass?

We started Prepclass in 2014. In 2013, Prepclass was a test class that helped students prepare for local examinations. With time, we evolved into a tutor marketing company where we assign teachers to coach primary and junior secondary pupils during  after-school hours and at weekends.

How did you raise the capital to start up Prepclass?

I and my partner, Ogunlana Olumide, got some support from family and friends. We also won the Techcabal Battlefield competition eight months after we founded Prepclass.  We were also lucky to have gotten a few foreign investors who also supported us.

What were some of the challenges you faced when you initiated Prepclass?

The first challenge we had was not having the right technical skills to do what we actually wanted to do. We couldn’t build the kind of platform we wanted. We got some friends who were better skilled than we were but we didn’t have enough financial support. We had to convince a lot of people to work for us even though we didn’t have enough financial resources. Secondly, we didn’t have our daily activities planned out. In the end, we got organised and got support from family and friends.

What have you discovered to be the reason why pupils fail examinations?

The major reason why pupils fail examinations is lack of personal effort and lack of confidence in themselves. They first have to develop that confidence which must then be followed up with personal effort. There is no doubt that teachers are meant to inspire pupils to be focused but then, it is the duty of the student to put in that extra effort.

Does your  current  reading culture differ from what obtained when you were a student?

When I was a student, I used to read a lot more than I do now because then I read because I wanted to pass my tests and examinations. But now, I read more on how to manage people and businesses. Sometimes, I have professional exams that require that I read.

Where do you see Prepclass in the next five years?

In the next five years, I see Prepclass becoming one of the biggest education brands across Africa.

  With your experience, is the Internet and social media a threat or blessing to students?

The Internet is more of a blessing than a curse to our generation. When I was in high school and university, we had a group chat on Facebook which made it possible for us to communicate deadlines and project topics. Although, some students don’t use it for the right things, I don’t think it’s enough reason for it to be considered a distraction. The Internet has a lot of power; power to collaborate and assess books online. It’s a huge blessing to those who make use of the Internet for the right reasons.

  How have you been able to effect change in the performance of the students at Prepclass?

Twice a month, the tutors send us  reports  after  they might have evaluated  each pupil’s  performance.  We send these reports to the parents after we must have given it a thorough consideration. Before then, we get a weekly report of the topics covered; the progress made within the stipulated  period and the tutors gives us  feedbacks and recommendations.

What has helped Prepclass succeed?

The quality of tutors we hire and secondly, the hiring process. We subject them to a written interview, teachers practice test, personality test, and we also carry out a background check. We are very careful about the tutors we send to the homes of our students. In case a tutor is reported for any wrongdoing, we take necessary action which includes replacing the tutor. At Prepclass, we are client focused and we try as much as possible to visit the homes of all the students, get to talk with the parents about the challenges their wards are facing and how we can assist in solving them.

Describe your management style?

We run a semi-formal management style. Though we have a hierarchy, we try not to overemphasise it.
What are your other interests?

I enjoy watching movies, playing strategy games – chess and AOM being my favourites ,playing both tennis and table tennis, reading, writing, trying out new stuff (it could be food, places or activities) and having interesting discourse on business ideas and ventures.

On a scale of one to 10, how lucky are you?

I will say that I am very lucky. A lot of youths are yet to figure out their career path and that alone is something I am  grateful for.

Did you give up anything to become successful?

Yes, I did.  I had to give up my job at Jumia to focus on Prepclass. I was a senior online marketing specialist at Rocket Internet for Jumia for about a year before I quit to work on Prepclass.

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