This address was delivered by Prof. Deogratius JAGANYI, Mount Kenya University Vice-Chancellor during orientation of new students who joined MKU in September 2021 intake.
I am glad to join others in welcoming you to Mount Kenya University. On behalf of the University Board of Directors, Council and Senate, I congratulate you all on securing admission to Mount Kenya University (MKU). MKU is an assured pathway for success in pursuit of your career aspirations and goals. I assure you that you will acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will enhance your ability to develop competitive edge in your career.
Ladies and gentlemen, I will begin my address with an illustration. I believe that we all understand or have an idea of the various types of cars we have in the global market. We have Range Rover, Alfa Romeo, Acura, BMW, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Audi, Jeep, Mercedes Benz, Land Cruiser etc.
I put this question to you, if you were a car, which car would you like to be? The next question is why? There are various reasons why you would choose that specific car; these could be comfort, performance, class, appearance, structure, space, class etc.
Now, I would like you to compare yourself with the car you like most and ask yourself, do you have the qualities of that car you really like? Why would a buyer pick on you in the showroom?
This leads us to my orientation address today on “Building a Personal Brand”.
A brand is a mark or a symbol of a product. Personal branding is developing a “mark” of your name or your career that expresses or communicates your skills, personality and values, that shape perception of you in the eyes of the public. Look at yourself as a brand. To have a strong brand is essential to building a successful career. This afternoon, I am challenging you, what do people see in you as a brand? What image do you carry?
Secondly, what image would you want people to see in you at the end of your years of study at Mount Kenya University? If you really want to make a name of yourself in your career, you must polish your personal brand. Your personal brand is about you and this culminates all things that make you up. Today, in my address, I want to talk about how to build your personal brand.
Setting Your Priorities
If you want to create an image for yourself, you must determine what you want in life. Set goals of what you want to achieve. Identify your priority areas, figure out the most important things in your life and this will guide your actions. Always devote time to reflect on your progress to avoid distractions and avoid things that deter you from your mission in life. Keep your goals on track, do self-evaluation of your achievements at the end of every semester against your goals.
Note: “What the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”
Focusing on Strength and Value
God created us in a unique way. Each one of us has an area of strength. Life starts in understanding your personal strengths. If you are put in a crowd of one million, what is that one thing that would make you different? What identifies your value? Name your areas of strength, concentrate on them and build on them. Never compare yourself with others, as you are unique.
To build your personal brand, it is imperative to pursue excellence. For you to excel in your career, I urge you to be diligent, go an extra mile and work hard. On the same note, it is important to pay attention to details especially in your academic work.
Focus on Your Performance
You have joined MKU to pursue your career aspirations. I encourage you to be result oriented. Ensure you complete every assignment on time and be keen on quality of your work, plan your study time well, do not be rushing the last minute when examination is approaching. Always quantify your performance. In life, there is nothing like you are doing your best while there are no results.
Keeping Good Company
Your association can either enhance or destroy your brand. I urge you to be wise when relating with your peers. It is also important to build association with the right company. You need each other. Do not walk alone. Participate in discussion groups, group projects and many others. Be a team player and support one another. Some associations live long even after school life.
Develop a strategy to build your personal brand during your studentship in MKU. Develop yourself to be that person the industry will be looking for in your area of specialization. Strive to be an authority in your field as this is what the industry is looking for. People buy value and reward you according to the value they find in you.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to emphasize that in Mount Kenya University we unlock infinite possibilities. There are numerous opportunities you can benefit from. There are opportunities for career progression in various disciplines i.e.; if you are taking a Diploma course, you have opportunity to progress to Bachelors, Masters and PhD. I assure you that MKU will train you to be job creators, teach and mentor you on life skills and, this will help you to contribute to the society and impact positively to the nation and to the world.
MKU believes in holistic education whose key facets are balancing between work and play. MKU trains all-round students. There are many opportunities for talent development e.g. sports, creative and performing arts, leadership skills etc. For instance, you can be taking Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, at the same time you nurture your music talent, at the end of your course you will be a practicing doctor who is a musician. Remember, the purpose of education is not only to achieve career aspirations but also to become an all-rounded person.
Ladies and gentlemen, as I conclude, I challenge you that at the end of your stay in MKU, will you be happy you had an opportunity to build your personal brand in MKU. Will you be proud of the person you will become at the end of your studies?
This is the time to begin the process of personal branding in your career, put in time and effort. Always remember, strong personal brands are always seen as magnets for opportunity.
I end my address with the words of George Bernard Shaw,
“Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”.
I wish you the very best in your endeavors. God bless you.
Prof. Deo JAGANYI,
Mount Kenya University