Business grad puts research powers to great use

Ijeoma Eze is a 2019 graduate of Niagara College’s Bachelor of Business Administration (International Commerce and Global Development) program and was a research assistant with the Business & Commercialization Solutions team from January 2018 to March 2019. Ijeoma is currently employed with Ridley College as a junior development officer.

Tell us about where you work:

Ridley College is an independent private boarding and day university-preparatory school located in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Describe your role and what you like about it:

In my role as junior development officer, I am involved in alumni development and prospect research. I conduct research to learn more about donors’ personal backgrounds, past giving histories, wealth indicators, and philanthropic motivations to evaluate a prospect’s ability to give (capacity) and warmth (affinity) toward our organization. I also research to qualify and strategize on how best to engage potential donors and alumni. I find this work interesting because the research tools provided enhance efficiency and every day is a different challenge. Plus, I get to work with a really cool team.

How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped prepare you for your current role?

My R&I experience provided me with the skills I now transfer into my current role. I still carry out research but in a different capacity. Research & Innovation helped me find myself, learn to work with a team, and walk into a room prepared to present a report or for a job interview with the confidence that I know exactly what I am doing.

A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?

My first research project was with Haver & Boecker in St. Catharines. I had no idea what I was doing, but Neil [Wilkinson] and Paula [Reile] believed in me; this was my springboard to being a confident business research assistant. I researched a line of products, analyzed market trends, conducted competitive analysis and then made recommendations on market strategy. I learned to navigate my way around research report writing, giving presentations and most importantly, being self-confident.

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

I lived in Nigeria at the time and conducted online research. I thought at the time Niagara College best suited my goals and had the program I wanted to study.

Most memorable experience at NC?

I have a lot of memorable experiences, including making life-long friends, from my class and at Research & Innovation; the moment I was given the opportunity to work at R&I by Neil Wilkinson; working at the armoury as a server; and meeting new people every day. The beauty of Niagara College is that you get to have a plethora of memorable experiences.

Is there a particular mentor at either R&I or a faculty member who influenced you?

Neil Wilkinson [former project manager, R&I]; Paula Reile [current project manager, R&I]; Mark Parker [former professor, International Business]; Dawit Eshetu, PhD, [associate dean, International Business]; Navjote Khara, PhD, [professor/program coordinator, International Business].

What advice would you impart to current research students or future alumni?

Be open. Be patient. Learn!

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

I have learned that things can go your way or not; always keep your options open. Teams and organizational cultures differ, so be patient and study your environment. Work hard, work smart, be of value.

Proudest achievement since graduating?

My current assignment has a direct impact on return on investment (ROI) for the school.

Interests outside of work?

Reading, general research or information gathering, dining out, adventures, and being with family and friends.

If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?

Success is not a single event; it is a process. Never give up. Keep tugging at that wall until it falls down!

Anything else you want to say?

Thank you for this opportunity and past opportunities that Research & Innovation has always given to me.