The Chief Operating Officer of AIMS-Cameroon, Mr. Honore Youfegnuy Bernard has organized and delivered a five-day professional development training to AIMS-Cameroon students.

In today’s labor market, employability is a key factor for graduates and an immediate transition from school to work life or a well-defined career path is highly essential. The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is not just a breeding ground for scientists but for great minds who are adequately equipped to contribute to organizations be it academia or industry.

It is with this knowledge that the recently appointed Chief Operating Officer of AIMS-Cameroon took the 43 students from 11 African countries on an enriching journey to professional development where he schooled them on how they can brand themselves during a job search and strive during job interviews.

Assisted by Co-op tutors, Edinio Zacko and James Njong Jnr, in delivering the professional development classes, Mr. Honore emphasized on the importance of being apt in defining one’s career plan and goals in a concise manner.

Day one flagged off with a lecture on how to set goals and attain a substantial level of self-discovery. The students were asked to perform certain tasks in a bid to help them discover their core strengths and weaknesses, define their purpose and career plan in addition to pulling out their own core values and utilizing their positive obsessions. The students were equally encouraged to build SMART goals and conduct gap and SWOT analysis for themselves.

Day two comprised of a presentation by AIMS-Cameroon’s visiting lecturer, Prof. Kristan Schneider who talked on the topic: “How Not To Screw Your Presentation”. His talk proved very vital as it touched the various challenges students face while using the beamer package for their group presentations, emphasizing on what templates to use and the best practices to follow. The students, in addition, were made to understand the right way to respond to application calls and foster effective communication in every interview process they might come across in the future. The class ended with a leadership lecture detailing the various forms of leadership that transcends across industry and the characteristics expected of a good leader. Practical in nature, the students then took turns to explain the various expectations that are required of a leader in various situations with the apt understanding of teamwork.

On Thursday, the students were made to undergo a mock interview process where they prepared an application to several job vacancies cutting across academia and industry. Many of these roles were matched to AIMS-Cameroon 2019/2020 cohort’s probable career paths hence the students were able to apply the knowledge they had acquired since the start of the program. The mock interview came in handy as students got the opportunity to put into practice what had been learned while noting the areas for improvement.

The celebrations which followed the graduation ceremony of the 2018-2020 Co-operative Masters students on Friday February 21st did not hinder the program as Dr. Charles Kimpolo, Director of AIMS Industry Initiative (AIMS I2) gave a talk on the advantages of the IBM Digital Nation Africa and Amazon Educate platforms, utilizing these platforms to acquire free world-class knowledge from anywhere in Africa with as simple as an internet connection. He implored the students to make aggressive use of the tools made available to them as these tools make available knowledge in emergent technology.

The professional development program ended on Saturday with an entrepreneurship class where Mr. Honore exposed the students to the tenets of designing a business model. Students were divided into subgroups with each group charged to find an innovative solution to any of AIMS-Cameroon’s challenges and model this solution to any tailored industry. The students, through their group representatives made a one-minute pitch of their business models and their solutions.

The program ended with testimonials of overwhelming success as the students bore testament on the top skills they were exposed to. Amongst these skills, were skills that will enable them enhance employability, aid them in becoming successful entrepreneurs, and equip them with necessary tools to prepare them for life after AIMS.

Talking to the AIMS-Cameroon media club delegate at the end of the program, Olusegun Ajibola expressed some of his impression about the one-week long Professional Development training;

 “Being a Mathematician and an aspiring problem solver and innovator, I believe the skills obtained from the programme will enable me to communicate better and convey my solutions perfectly to a non-expert audience. I will continuously apply the knowledge from the self-discovery section to continually reconcile my goals and aspirations to present challenges. Many thanks to Mr. Honore and all the speakers.