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UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy

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Adeola Akinla

Senior Quality Management Specialist at the Central Bank of Nigeria
MPA in Digital Technologies and Policy - 2021

Adeola Akinla headshot

What were you doing prior to starting the STEaPP MPA?

My professional experience right before the MPA was in public service working with multiple stakeholders to deliver and support policy-based and regulatory-driven technology products impacting the Nigerian financial services industry. Prior to this, I had consulted for a variety of private firms operating in the financial services, telecommunications, and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries also in Nigeria. 

Why did you choose to study at STEaPP?

The rising use of digital technologies to overcome societal challenges in Nigeria has also meant the occurrence of unintended consequences like data misuse and digital inequalities. Seeing the far-reaching effects of these issues made me realise that tackling them would require a dynamic and multi-disciplinary approach. I was particularly attracted to the Digital Technologies and Policy track at STEaPP for two reasons. Firstly, for the range of topics covered on the course. Secondly, because it promised no easy answers to emerging digital technology dilemmas rather it sought to challenge my thinking about them.

What was your favourite aspect of the MPA?

The diversity of the MPA experience! I saw this play out in the cohort, in case studies and seminars presented by module leads and guest speakers, and in the breadth of assessments and term papers I worked on during the MPA. All this culminated in the MPA group project which for me was a special highpoint. The project allowed me to leverage the knowledge and skills I gained on the MPA while working in a diverse team to produce an exceptional piece of work which addressed a real-world policy problem. Hearing the client (Internet Society) confirm that the research outputs exceeded their expectations was the icing on the cake!

How has the STEaPP MPA shaped your experiences since leaving UCL?

Since completing the MPA, I have switched roles to better align with some of my current interests and to be more directly involved in technology governance activities at my organisation. Presently, my work at the Central Bank entails liaising with cross-functional teams to design and implement processes and standards that would frame the quality of technology products the Bank develops to drive policies and regulations in the Nigerian financial services industry. Learning to find and use relevant and timely evidence in executing my work in this space as well as uncovering and engaging with (oftentimes) excluded stakeholder interests, are direct outcomes of having gone through the STEaPP MPA.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to future candidates? 

I’ll pass on a modified version of some advice a professor gave in the early days of the MPA –  the year goes by very quickly, so grasp the MPA with both hands because you will only get as much out of the experience as you commit to investing in it.