Lilian Anegbe completed the IB Diploma Programme at D-Ivy College, Nigeria. She is currently a doctoral researcher at the University of Leeds, UK, pursuing a PhD in International Business. She completed her undergraduate studies in economics at the University of Sheffield, UK, and received her master’s degree in Strategy and Marketing from the University of Warwick, UK.
Why did you originally decide to pursue an IB diploma?
I was encouraged to pursue the IB diploma because of the excellent breadth and depth of knowledge the comprehensive curriculum provides. The IB diploma provided an opportunity to continue to study across the full range of subjects. This variety allowed me to leave open the final decision about subject choice for university, whilst growing in intellectual and emotional maturity, to enable me to eventually make an informed decision about my academic path. This was very helpful because during the IB diploma I discovered an interest in and passion for economics. Also, the opportunity to study at least two languages allowed me to develop an understanding of the French language, which I may not have had the opportunity to learn otherwise.
Did the extended essay, TOK, or CAS prepare you for university?
The extended essay component of the IB diploma profoundly prepared me for my career in academic research. Undertaking the extended essay, I was encouraged to ask challenging questions, to reflect critically, to develop research skills, and to learn how to learn. This instilled in me a positive attitude towards learning, something that I still enjoy doing as a doctoral researcher.
The creativity, activity, service (CAS) component of the Diploma Programme encouraged learning beyond the classroom. I explored a number of diverse areas, from sports to various charitable projects in orphanages and hospitals. CAS helped me to develop the necessary skills to cope with demanding workloads and better manage my time—this was very useful to me as an undergraduate student and is invaluable now as a doctoral researcher.
Did you face any obstacles during your transition from the IB to university studies?
Moving from Nigeria to the United Kingdom to pursue my higher education came with anticipated cultural and educational challenges. However, the Diploma Programme effectively prepared me by encouraging me to develop an international mind-set, and by providing me with a rich and diverse educational experience. I was encouraged to first develop an understanding of my own cultural and national identity, and then was provided with the skills to live work with others internationally. As a result, I was better able to cope with the apparent differences and excel within the UK educational system.
What advice do you have for current IB students that are thinking about a career like yours?
I would encourage current IB students to be innovative and take advantage of the opportunities the IB diploma provides for expanding their creativity. Though it may sometimes be a challenging experience, rest assured that the benefits of your hard work will be realized for the rest of your academic and professional career. Explore your interests, continue to think critically and engage in intellectual conversations, and equally importantly, as I have found on my journey, take time for self-reflection and awareness. Let your IB education serve as a springboard to lifelong learning and exploration, not the conclusion. When you continue on this path of intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.