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Olumide Onitiri-Coker

BSc Economics and Social Policy

Business investor Olumide Onitiri-Coker is certain his education at Birkbeck, University of London, has helped him establish his successful property finding business. As well as learning skills needed for the day-to-day running of his company, studying at Birkbeck has improved his general business awareness, people skills and approach to life.

Olumide set up Avinell – a property finding firm operating in London and New York – in the final year of his four-year part-time BSc in Economics and Social Policy at Birkbeck’s School of Business, Economics and Informatics. He now has a team of 14 people, and regularly travels from his firm’s office in Bloomsbury to New York for business.

He said: 'I was able to take the concepts I was learning in class and apply them to my work. What I really learned is to take action today because tomorrow never comes. Undoubtedly studying at Birkbeck has improved my life. It has increased my excitement for studying and education, and improved my communication with people from other backgrounds and age groups.'

Olumide, from London, was attracted to Birkbeck because it was the only place where he could study his chosen course part-time and benefit from face-to-face tuition. He wanted to study for an undergraduate degree to build on his previous qualifications, which included a BTEC in Business Management. Following various roles and business investments in publishing, web and finance, Olumide came to Birkbeck to pick up a prospectus and applied immediately. Aged 28, he began his course and he graduated four years later in 2012.

Olumide said: 'Birkbeck was the only place where I could study part-time. I was still in the early stages of a property career and I had a young family to support, so studying full-time was not an option.'

Combining work and studying was not easy, but ultimately very rewarding. Olumide added: 'Working and studying was the hardest thing in the world – it is not for the fainthearted. It is really important to have a good supportive family and my family helped me get through it. Everyone was so proud of me at graduation. Studying at Birkbeck is for people determined to make a change in their lives.'

Olumide also hopes to be a role model for Inner city youth growing up in London. He said: 'Hopefully what I have achieved will help inspire others. I can say: 'If I can do it, you can too.''

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'I was able to take the concepts I was learning in class and apply them to my work.'