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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Madeleine Dunford

Madeleine Dunford
Madeleine Dunford
MSc in African Studies
Doing Now
Managing Director, Career Connections

Why did you decide to apply for the MSc programme in African Studies?

I'd just finished my degree from University of York in Politics and English. I heard about the Edinburgh programme, and was attracted to the fact that there was a small group of students from across the world, with heavy emphasis on African representation. That, combined with living in Edinburgh for a year, a city I adore, made it my first choice! In fact, I turned down a place on the Sussex University MPhil in Development Studies for Edinburgh.

What is like being a student in Edinburgh?

Absolutely fantastic; one of the main attractions of the course was that it allows you to choose which faculties you want to research papers in, so it exposed me to so many interesting disciplines you'd not get a taste for otherwise.

What are the best memories of this experience?

So many come to mind: studying a module in law at Old College: just walking into the place is magical; having a direct view of Arthur's seat from my bedroom window in Pollock Hall; starting to date my future husband (also from Kenya, whilst at University there.

What have you done since graduating?

After graduating I did some development work for a while around political awareness as Kenya transitioned to multiparty rule, but soon realized that it was not for me and I could not make a living from it. So in 1997 I returned to UK to take my qualifications with the British Psychological Society so as to assess ability and personality, and returned to Kenya to set up Career Connections. We're now East Africa's largest specialist Human Resources consulting firm, assessing candidates for selection, promotion or development, and were the first to introduce the region to psychometrics, assessment & development centres and 360 Degree feedback. In 2002 the firm grew to offer executive headhunting services and in 2009 we lunched a partnership with the Academy of Executive Coaching from Europe to develop the region's first internationally accredited coaches, and offer senior coaching ourselves. It has been a privilege to contribute to the talent strategies and development of the region's largest organizations, including most of the regional operations of global multinationals. The skills the Masters programme in Edinburgh taught me on researching, organizing, writing up and presenting information confidently have been invaluable to the success of my firm, which now employs 10 Kenyan consultants full time and others as Associate Assessors or Coaches.