Mastercard Foundation Scholar and 2020 graduate Prince Chakanyuka reflects on unexpected dinners, social enterprises, and starting work remotely as a business planner.
|Degree||BSc (Hons) Medicinal and Biological Chemistry|
|Year of graduation||2020|
Your time at the University
I was born and raised in Zimbabwe. I chose to study in Edinburgh because from a very young age I knew I wanted to study abroad. However, my family's income couldn’t afford tertiary education so that meant my only route into university was through scholarships. I am fortunate to have been selected as one of six pioneer Mastercard Foundation Scholars from Sub-Saharan Africa to study on full scholarship in Edinburgh.
Since joining the University in 2016, I have had an enriching experience from the wonderful architecture like none I had seen before, making global friends, tasting haggis for the first time and surprisingly liking it, to meeting and dining with Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, three times in a row. I have to admit, when I applied to university, I never imagined I’d be privileged to have dinner at St James Palace in London and Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. While these were a unique opportunities, they are a real testament to the endless and far-reaching experiences one can experience in Edinburgh. I wouldn’t have found out, if I hadn’t accepted my offer.
In my third year also, I competed at the Enactus entrepreneurship World Cup Competition in California were our team was ranked in the top eight teams. I think this competition is the highlight of my university experience because it showed me that Edinburgh offered me more than a degree in Chemistry but opportunities to learn so much more about my capabilities. This competition is one of the reasons I joined Procter and Gamble (P&G) in London after graduation as a Business Planner – drawing on my enhanced business acumen through Enactus Society and the analytical skills from my Chemistry degree.
I competed at the Enactus entrepreneurship World Cup Competition in California were our team was ranked in the top eight teams.
Your experiences since leaving the University
Graduating during a global pandemic was probably an experience that neither the school nor I imagined would be the way I leave university. I am very privileged to have secured a job offer with Procter and Gamble six months before graduating because that eased my anxieties about life after university.
I have now joined the P&G in the London headquarters where I am starting as Homecare Business Planner for UK and Ireland. It’s an exciting time to start my career with a company that has been a global leader in supply chain for six years and I am thrilled for what I will learn in the days and months ahead. I also started my career from home, which is both challenging and rewarding given the problem solving opportunities in learning how to leverage technology to be productive in my work from my day one. It’s only been a month since I graduated, and literally three days into my role at P&G as I write this. As such, there is still so much I want to learn and figure out before knowing where my head will settle for my career. Nonetheless, I feel confident in that my time at Edinburgh gave me enough tools to reflect on my goals for the future and I look forward to use these tools in shaping my career ahead.
Alongside starting my career I also co-founded Chashi Foods, a social enterprise based in Zimbabwe. Through Fairtrade practices, Chashi Foods produces 100% natural dried fruits products, to reduce the environmental impact of post-harvest losses experienced by rural farmers in Zimbabwe.
Say YES to Everything – as long as it is legal and not violent against you or another person.
For me saying YES is what made me (a chemistry student) join a business society and end up competing at a global stage. It is how I ended up as one of ten Zimbabwean Rhodes Scholarship Finalists. It is how I ended up on a podcast speaking to Kezia Dugdale – former leader of the Scottish Labour Party. It is how I ended up dining with HRH, The Princess Royal. Most importantly, saying YES to coffee dates is the reason I have such an enriched network of friends from all over the world.
Prince chats to Kezia Dugdale on Sharing things, the podcast
Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program
Chashi Foods (external link)
Enactus Edinburgh (external link)