When your first degree is another’s choice…


Public Universities have reopened and once again we have thousands of year one students hoping that a university degree can shape their career better.

Sadly, some are studying daddy’s or mummy’s degree; sometimes you have no option because you can’t pay your tuition for a different course.  However, that is no the end of your life,  a career path is not always straight and along the way, you can merge your current course with another or change careers all together.

Meet Agaba Osbert who pursued a law degree after studying a 4 year course chosen and paid for by his brother. How is he merging B. Com [Accounting] with Law?

Childhood dream:

Osbert: I always wanted to be a lawyer and by S.2 I was convinced I would be one. I studied Literature throughout high school looking at law.

So how did you end up studying B. Com and majoring in accountancy?

Osbert: It’s a long story but to cut it short, the person paying my tuition wanted me to study Accounts because he was successful at it. In fact he and another brother are both accountants and are successful. So he thought it a wise decision to have me follow in their footsteps. It’s not that they were forcing me.

So where did you study this and how did you feel about it?

I studied at Makerere University, it is a 4 year course and I was quite anxious about it before I started. I hadn’t even studied accounts in high school, this was new to me. But I made up my mind that I had to study this course somehow and like many other challenges in life, I took it up with all my energy and with time I figured out what the course was all about.

So did your attitude towards the course change just like that?

Osbert: It wasn’t really about attitude. I didn’t hate the course; it’s just that I wanted to study law.

So what was your journey at campus like?

Osbert: My brothers were quite helpful. One of them got me a job where I practiced what I was studying at the university. Though I was new at Accounting, personal reading helped me understand accounts and do the job. With time I learnt to use the computer to do my work and practice what I was learning at school. My boss was impressed with my work and gave me a 50% salary increment.

What was your turning point while at the university?

Osbert: I came into contact with a course unit that excited me. That was business law; I loved it very much and before long decided that my hopes for studying and practicing law were not totally lost. I immediately decided I would take Business law to another level. I looked around for opportunities and one of my brothers offered me one. I started writing business proposals and together with my accounting skills started my first company with one client. Today, I write business proposals, register businesses and offer accounting services to my clients.

You are studying law, tell us about that.

Osbert: For me law is not just a passion but an ingredient in what I do. I will use my law degree to serve my clients when they need representation in the commercial court.

Tips from Osbert:

  • I have not had an easy ride, but I learnt to make the most of any situation.
  • Don’t lose hope about the course you want. You can always go back and study what you want.
  • I was once cheated by a client I had written a business proposal for but I looked ahead.
  • Honesty has got me far. I was honest with my brother when he hired me and even when I wanted to start my own company, I told him about it and he even recommended me to his clients.

Career lessons from Osbert

  • Unless you can pay for the course you want, don’t fight with parents over the course you want and what they will pay for; rather study what they want and there after study what you want.
  • While studying “your father’s degree” find out more about your own. You could study another course like a diploma while studying that degree.


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