Khadija Dangiwa Umar

Legal Associate, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Vienna, Austria

BA Business Law and MA Marketing Management

What made you choose Middlesex University?:

The fact that it was situated in the amazing city of London!

What course did you study and what attracted you to that course?:

I chose BA Business Law because I wanted to study a course offering diverse legal career options and have a career that would be intellectually challenging, personally fulfilling and rewarding while providing opportunity for growth.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy the most?:

I found learning Case Law the most enjoyable part of the course.

What is your fondest memory of Middlesex?:

The day of my Graduation Ceremony is the most prominent memory, reflecting the completion of my Law degree.

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?:

Make the most of it. Be open to all opportunities and do not deny challenges.

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you to get where you are professionally today?:

Being able to develop strong skills such as oral advocacy prepared me not only for a career as a lawyer but also pushed my career development towards working for an international organisation.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?:

After my postgraduate degree, I served under my home country’s National Youth Service Corp scheme lecturing and tutoring Banking Law Practice and Management for one year at one of Nigeria’s State Universities. Then I commenced private practice in a law firm in civil and criminal litigation.

Several years later, I travelled to Vienna, Austria for a short holiday on my way back from Madrid where we had attended a family friend’s wedding. While in Vienna, I decided to visit the OPEC Secretariat owing to my interest since Nigeria is a Member Country. I was introduced to the General Legal Counsel and after a quick chat, I considered applying to undertake one of the Organisation’s capacity development programs. Back home, I applied for the Fellowship Program through my country’s National Representative to OPEC and I commenced the program at the Secretariat. Upon completion after a few months, I presented a paper on Legal Strategies against Possible Risks & Liabilities for International Organizations in International Contracting. This led to an offer for a position at the OPEC Secretariat Legal Office.

What has been your defining career break of highlight to date?:

Obtaining my position of Legal Associate for OPEC.

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?:

1. Gain experience through volunteering, internships and attending seminars/workshops/conferences, particularly those related to your field. This is useful for networking and enhancing your CV
2. Learn a new language
3. Exude confidence

What skills have been most valuable in your career so far and how have you developed these?:

During my time studying, I was able to develop a range of transferable skills such as research and analytical skills and time management. I also acquired a range of interpersonal skills through working in groups which - as most students would admit - was a challenge, that has now proved to be immensely valuable in the working environment. Studying in a culturally diverse environment like that of Middlesex provided me with the opportunity to gain insight into other cultures and equipped me for working in an international organization composed of over forty different nationalities.

Are there any tips you can give international students looking to move abroad to study?:

Immerse yourself in the culture.

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