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Catching up with... Tinaye Munonyara

This month we catch up with Tinaye Munonyara, a recent graduate of Kingston University and one of 'Britain's 100 most outstanding new black graduates'. Already a very active alumnus, he is inspiring and motivating others with his current projects.

Tinaye MunonyaraWhen were you at Kingston and what degree did you do?

2006 to 2010, I studied Business Management BA(Hons) with a one-year industrial placement.

Why did you choose Kingston?

I came up for an open day. I liked how leafy, welcoming, vibrant and multicultural Kingston was, the exquisite views of the riverside were to die for and my research helped me establish that Kingston had a top Business School. This really got me excited and I chose Kingston over five other unconditional university offers I had.

What do you remember about your time at Kingston? In three words.

Not sleeping much!

Are you still in touch with anyone from your Kingston days?

Loads of friends, current students, alumni and members of staff. I'm a devoted networker so I really enjoy staying connected.

Tell us about your recent projects.

I'm an alumni adviser for Kingston Entrepreneurs Society supporting and working with students on their events and projects. I'm also launching an educational smartphone application called StudyKit Pro for the iPhone and iPod-touch. StudyKit Pro will cater for students, graduates, young professionals and anyone keen on developing their academic and professional skills across a variety of learning areas. I put together a team of graphic designers, developers and content producers and we have been working tirelessly creating the app for which we now have a working prototype.

I'm also an editor for the Movers and Shakers section of Emerging Students, a new global university news and media brand, producing reportage on university culture and global issues. We're already engaging potential advertisers and companies interested in engaging university stakeholders which is really fun. We're dedicated to quality and currently compiling the first issue with a spring launch in mind.

I'm also undertaking a paid internship in sales and marketing within an award-winning e-learning solutions company, which provides world-class content, courses and software simulations for businesses that include major retailers, global pharmaceutical companies and financial institutions. I'm learning so much and really enjoying it!

You were an active member of the entrepreneurship society at Kingston; tell us a bit about that and how it has contributed to your successes.

I had small beginnings. I remember offering to clean up and move chairs after events in my first year. I later found myself talking to key people, learning more from them and establishing great relationships as I really admired their leadership. I then worked my way up joining the committee in my second year and becoming Vice President in my last year of uni. In my last year we increased the society membership substantially to over 900 members and forged some key partnerships with organisations like the Kingston Chamber of Commerce.

We were named 'Society of the Year 2010' which I thought was a remarkable achievement as we beat 80 other competing societies that were very active. I took part in a lot of networking, organising events and entrepreneurial activities including the National Finals of Flux 500 which is the biggest student enterprise competition in the UK, as well as winning two awards in the 2010 inter-university Bright Ideas competition. I also achieved the 'Most Enterprising Student 2010 Award' for setting up enterprise projects whilst attending university as well as achieving the 'Student Enterprise Champion Award 2010' as part of a team for contributions towards the promotion of student enterprise activities and enhancing the university's reputation in this field. The society gave me a platform to build relationships, learn by doing and support others.

What did you expect to do after graduating? Are you still doing that now?

I expected to set up a retail and online laser shop specialising in laser engraving crystal products. I have always been keen on the idea of finishing university and then executing innovative projects that create employment opportunities and add great value to the economy. The reality of things was a lot tougher as I ended up pulling the plug on that project for the foreseeable future due to a number of reasons but I'm happy with the progress I have made with the projects I'm pursuing right now!

Who was your favourite lecturer and why?

Debbie Anderson, she taught me Marketing Communications Planning. She clearly loved teaching us and has a type of enthusiasm that rubs off very positively on all students. She made the learning experience much more exciting and engaging, as well as encouraging me with my extra-curricular activities and supporting other students to help them develop their transferable skills outside their studies.

What's your greatest achievement?

Being named one of Britain's 100 most outstanding new black graduates in the Top 100 Future Leaders 2010/11 awards for which I was invited to the House of Lords for the award ceremony. This was really pleasing as the award is a junior version of the Powerlist and aims to inspire young people by highlighting excellence and featuring the future leaders in business, industry, the arts, media and banking who excelled academically while pursuing exceptional extra-curricular activities whilst at university. The Future Leaders magazine has circulated across the UK in over 1,000 colleges and organisations. This shows tremendous impact and humbles me as it shows how my efforts can inspire and motivate others. 

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Interesting question! I think when most people are 18 they have a lot of ambitions and big plans for the future but often give up or get distracted. I would advise my 18-year-old self to be persistent in pursuing those goals, plans, and dreams until they become reality! I guess I would tell myself something my dad once told me "Be yourself and just do it!"

What last made you laugh?

Haha I'm not sure, I laugh all the time!

What's your ideal weekend?

Sunny weather, swimming, eating new types of delicious food, meeting interesting people and laughing a lot!!

Tell us something we would never guess about you.

I'm quite poetic, philosophical and have a big fascination for words. I love learning at least ten new words every day. My philosophy is that 'words are custodians of worlds and the more words you know, the more worlds you know, to master more worlds, master more words.' I love expanding my vocabulary as I believe an expansive vocabulary predicates an expansive thought-life.

You are to live out your final days on a desert island…

Who would you take with you any why? My mum, she is amazing and great company!

What book would you take and why? The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho its one of the best books I've ever read, loads of adventure and inspiration.

What movie would you take and why? One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. I've watched it with my mum a few times actually and it's always made us laugh! That movie is a classic I would definitely recommend it those that wants to have a laugh!

What food item would you take and why? No hesitation here – Nandos with loads of Peri Peri chips and healthy salad to top things off. Why? Because Nandos is simply the best and I couldn't live without it!


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