Students Affairs


Out-of-class experiences help prepare UCU students for careers

By Irene Best Nyapendi
The 11 undergraduate programs offered at Uganda Christian University (UCU) have classroom and hands-on learning opportunities. Students are especially encouraged to apply for internships that may be paid or unpaid and year-round or during the one of three semesters each year that students do not have classroom lectures.  These experiences reinforce the meaning of studies and make graduates more employable.   

Merick Wandera, BBA student

Merick Wandera, a UCU Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student interning with the Uganda Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development, is among students reaping the advantages of applying his education in the context of the work world. He also recently was named the best intern among student workers at this government site.

“I am so glad that my internship was fruitful because after I emerged as the best intern student,” he said. “They advised me to consider going back there after graduation so that I can join their team.”

Wandera said he had a great internship experience and got new knowledge about governance and finance. He learned that the first role of the government is to provide services to the citizens and not to make profits.

“I used to wonder why the government continues to fund projects that didn’t produce any profit, but during my internship, I learnt that the government is after offering services and not making profits,” Wandera said.

As a result of the internship, he is  more conversant with the process of formulating sound economic policies and accountability for public resources aimed at achieving a sustained economic growth and development for the country.

Kefa Senoga, Journalism student

Kefa Senoga, a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication, applauded one UCU lecturer for preparing him for his two internships – one with the New Vision newspaper and one with Uganda Partners. 

“I am so grateful to Mr. John Semakula, the lecturer, who taught us how to shape and write an article with a capturing introduction, good middle and end, which made me stand out amidst other intern students at New Vision,” Senoga said, adding that his writing skill was reinforced during an Economics and Business Journalism class.

At New Vision, Uganda’s biggest media house, Senoga learned more than honing his writing skill. His biggest lesson was in time management. He discovered that at school, students are given ample time to write an article, yet in the newsroom, completion deadlines were shorter.

“At campus, we were given three weeks to submit our work, but at New Vision, I was given the same article and asked to hand it in in two hours. I had to be at New Vision at 8:00 a.m. every morning, dressed professionally and ready to take on assignments,” Senoga said.

Both for Uganda Partners and New Vision, Senoga learned to apply the rules of accuracy, balance, truth and objectivity. He discovered that not all stories written are published, but was fortunate and inspired that all of his did appear in the New Vision print newspaper during his internship.

Sarah Thon Nyanachiek, a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration who interned at Smile Again Africa Development Organization in Juba, South Sudan
Sarah Thon Nyanachiek, a third-year UCU student pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration who interned at Smile Again Africa Development Organization in Juba, South Sudan

To Sarah Thon Nyanachiek, a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration, a paid internship at Smile Again Africa Development Organization in Juba, South Sudan, gave her an added opportunity to build her career skills. She said she frequently applied the theoretical knowledge she learned from class, gained a clearer view of what it meant to be in the professional world and realized the importance of teamwork. 

“I improved my communication skills by engaging with people from different walks of life since my profession is all about working with different communities,” Nyanachiek said. “During my internship,  students and staff members from the agency worked together in the implementation of the project, and this increased our productivity,” she said. Where there was no cooperation, she suffered with heavy workloads as a result of others not delivering the tasks in time as required by the supervisor. 

Doreen Nyakato, a finalist pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration, who had an internship at Ahumuza Child Development Center
Doreen Nyakato, a finalist pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration, who had an internship at Ahumuza Child Development Center

Doreen Nyakato, a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration, gained more skills on strategic planning and managing an organization’s finances during her internship with Ahumuza Child Development Center. Among her applied skills were putting vouchers in the system and paying fees using checks for this organization under the Bunyoro Kitara Diocese that looks after the vulnerable members of the community such as orphans and widows.

“Every day was a learning experience for me,” she said. “However, my major take away was the lessons I got from my office supervisor who taught me to better align an organization’s financial status to their goals and objectives.”

UCU upperclassmen reinforce value of ‘soft skills’ to younger peers

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By Irene Best Nyapendi
As she waits to graduate, Doreen Mbabazi Naiga is already giving back to Uganda Christian University (UCU) through equipping the continuing students with what most call “soft” but nevertheless vital skills. Naiga, who will receive her Bachelor of Laws degree when she graduates in July,  partnered with Solomon Esadu, also a student pursuing a Bachelor of Laws in his fourth year, to reinforce employability skills of communication, teamwork and more.


“We saw that after finishing school, students face a challenge of getting jobs because they lack some of these soft skills like perfecting their Curriculum Vitae,” Naiga said.

Some of the students who attended the May training at UCU’s Nkoyoyo hall.
Some of the students who attended the May training at UCU’s Nkoyoyo hall.

Naiga said they wanted to be proactive at offering students knowledge on some of the softer  skills they need to get a job. Along with their organization, United Nations Association of Uganda (UNAU), Naiga and Esadu organized a one-day workshop on May 27, 2023, at UCU on the theme of “Career exploration and professional developing: Mapping your future.” UNAU works in conjunction with UN agencies to achieve aims and objectives of the UN.

Naiga and Esadu were among 20 delegates selected by the Africa UNAU. Naiga was inspired to join the fellowship because she wanted to be part of the solution. 

“I wanted to be in a position where I am able to help and influence communities,” she said.

Esadu joined UNAU because he is passionate about leadership and social development.

As delegates, they were offered a skilling program, mentorship, training and workshops where they learned about what they need to do in their community. At the workshop, the two passed some of this knowledge along.

“We learned that more people in society would love to obtain the same skill, so we brought it to our brothers and sisters at UCU to help them understand the skills they ought to have as they go to seek for jobs,” Esadu said.

Esadu noted that with so many graduates hunting for job opportunities in the competitive work world, soft skills make one stand out.

Esadu cautioned students about spending many hours on the internet just watching fun videos, but rather invest that time networking on the various social media platforms and learning about potential employers.

Doreen Mbabazi Naiga training students on how to stand out in a competitive job market.
Doreen Mbabazi Naiga training students on how to stand out in a competitive job market.

He also encouraged students to volunteer while they are still in school so that by the time they graduate, they would have acquired more experience needed and desired by employers.

He commended the university for the soft skills it offers through the undergraduate course units of Writing and Study Skills. However, he observed that students don’t realize how important the course unit is early in their studies, necessitating that students re-study it later. 

“The students were able to learn and re-learn some of the pertinent issues they have not been paying much attention to such as resume writing,” Esadu said of the workshop. “When the speakers emphasized them, they got to understand them more.”

Skills offered

Eborty Ntami, a governance and peace fellow with the United Nations Development Program, taught students how to write an attractive Curriculum Vitae (a resume), how to answer interview questions, how to prepare for an interview, among other skills.

“I urge you to aim at having an attractive CV, to read about the job details and understand them before you apply and carry out research about the organization you are applying to,” Ntami said.

Ntami emphasized that having knowledge about a company before going for the interview not only increases the student’s chance of being hired, but also helps that student decide whether the company will be a good fit.

According to Ntami, knowledge, networking, empowerment, inclusiveness and persistence are key in determining what people become. She encouraged the students to be ready for opportunities when they come and to leverage on Information Technology to overcome in the dynamic world.

“Interviews are always tricky,”  said Alex Kaitale, a student pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration, after the workshop. “I am now prepared for the marketplace. I am sure I will submit the appropriate documents and respond to interview questions in the right way.”

Elijah Biimbwa, a second-year student of a Bachelor of Tourism in Hospitality Management, said he learned about the importance of networking.

“I learned that we need to network to increase our access to job opportunities, increase our visibility and advance our career. It is important for us to engage with others,” he said, adding that he also learned to make the best use of his social media platforms to network.

UCU Cardinals beat Nkumba 2-0, qualify for Semis

By Kefa Senoga
The Uganda Christian University (UCU) School of Business (SoB) has become the fourth of UCU’s 11 schools/faculties to have a formalized professional group for all its programs. For the SoB, it’s called a “society.”

For the School of Law, it’s also a society. For the School of Social Sciences, the name is Social Work Association. For the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, the group is the Media Link Association.

On August 2, 2022, the UCU Business Society, which is now the official fraternity unifying all students under the UCU SoB, was launched after tense elections. These were the first elections conducted by the Business Society and organized to usher in a democratic leadership. Ayebare Phillip Bravo emerged as the winner with 76.35%, with Mujuzi Paul Richard at second with 23.65%.

The founding committee members of the UCU Business Society shaking hands with the new committee.

As with all four groups, the rationale for the Business Society is primarily two-fold: Student sense of belonging, and building of skill sets, relationships and connections beyond the classroom.

Giving his speech at the launch, Ayebare discussed the importance of implementing a four-point program as follows:

  1. Establishing favorable partnerships both in and out of campus, for example, with other associations in the university, in order to intensify student-related programs.
  2. Engaging students in extracurricular and developmental activities (i.e., intensifying sports activities, such as the business league).
  3. Advocating robust academic-oriented programs, such as mentorship and career guidance seminars.
  4. Ensuring student subscription policy, such as a semester-based mode of payment.

Natasha Alinda, the Vice President-elect of the UCU Business Society, says the student body will promote culture and values of UCU, “policies concerning students of business can easily be passed through our association, which is student-oriented.”

(left to right) Ayebare Philip Bravo, President-elect of the UCU Business Society; Ssemakula Musa, founder of the UCU Business Society; and Tayebwa Clinton, a colleague from the Business Society committee.
(left to right) Ayebare Philip Bravo, President-elect of the UCU Business Society; Ssemakula Musa, founder of the UCU Business Society; and Tayebwa Clinton, a colleague from the Business Society committee.

The SoB Dean, Vincent Kisenyi, says that “through this society, students will be able to do a lot of things as students, build their self-esteem, work on the different activities in the school and build that oneness among themselves, hence enjoying their stay at the university.” Kisenyi adds that one of the important ingredients in the UCU Business Society will be a strong business fellowship that will guide students to understand everything is anchored on God.

Ssemakula Musa, the former guild member of parliament (MP) for the SoB and who spearheaded the formation of the society, says that as he was contesting for the position of MP SoB, he noted in his manifesto that he would pioneer the establishment of a body that unifies all students under the SoB.

“Many students were coming to me, requesting for the formation of an association that brings them together,” Ssemakula said. “They always related to the UCU law society, which had demonstrated its visibility at the campus.”

Ssemakula says that it was important to come up with the UCU Business Society due to the fact that there are so many courses under the SoB, for example, Business Administration, Procurement and Logistics, Accounting and Finance, Tourism and Hospitality.

He adds that besides the Business Society encouraging unity and mutual relationship among the students, it is also meant to establish relationships between the students of the UCU SoB and other external stakeholders.

“We are looking at partnerships from bigger business entities like Stanbic Bank, Uganda Revenue Authority, global companies like Coca-Cola,” Ssemakula said. “Therefore, the Business Society will mediate all these processes, beginning with sourcing for students’ internship opportunities in these big companies.”

Ssemakula adds that another core reason for establishing the business society was to create avenues for financial support for students, for example, “we have plans of introducing the 1k campaign to help, in one way or another, our colleagues who may lack tuition.” This campaign will be in addition to UCU’s recent launch of a “For just 10K, Change a Life” campaign, seeking a small donation of 10,000 shillings per person. 

UCU has a process for such groups to be legally recognized by the university. A motion has to be tabled in the house of the students’ guild parliament and if this parliament passes it, then the guild vice-president, who is the guild official in charge of associations, forwards the matter to the Director of Students Affairs, who then presents it to the Vice Chancellor for approval.