Alumnus returns to share insights and inspire

Students hear from Medicinal and Biological Chemistry graduate Prince Chakanyuka

In March, the School of Chemistry welcomed back alumnus Prince Chakanyuka for his talk: "Ah! – The Element of Surprise: What does it take to grow beyond your wildest dreams?"

At this event, Prince shared his incredible story with students, from his high school days in Zimbabwe, to Edinburgh to study Medicinal and Biological Chemistry as one of six pioneer Mastercard Foundation Scholars, to London and becoming an award-winning rising star in business within just a few years of graduating.

Prince also discussed how various extracurricular activities that he took part in during his time as a student have since shaped his career, including representing the University as a Student Ambassador, co-founding his own business and competing in the Enactus entrepreneurship World Cup Competition in California and supporting the University’s international programmes as an Employ.ed on Campus intern.

Students asked questions about Prince’s experience moving from chemistry to supply chain management, his future career plans and his tips on staying motivated in the face of setbacks and rejections. Prince was then met by staff and students at a networking reception, where he shared words of encouragement and advice with people from across the School.

Some of our top takeaways for students…

  • Focus in on doing one thing to the best of your ability and people will notice the effort and energy that you put in – you may be surprised by the recognition and opportunities that follow!
  • Say ‘yes’ to the things that scare you. When you feel like saying no to things because you think you can’t do them, it could be that saying yes and giving it a go is the difference between being able to do them and never being able to.
  • Recognise the value in the experience you’re already earning through so many aspects of your degree, internships and extracurricular activities. Even those hours spent writing lab reports will likely come in handy for a future role!
  • It’s OK not to be sure of what you want to do next - don’t be afraid to try things out. Remember to use the support available to you (Careers Service, student support team, family and friends) as you work towards identifying and achieving your personal goals - no one can do it all by themselves.
  • Enjoy being a student! Make the most of opportunities to connect and socialise - your lab partners, classmates and flatmates could end up being your friends for life.

“It was a very special time to return to the university and reconnect with professors including getting a tour of the new labs (which I’m jealous I never got to use during my time at university). Nonetheless the most memorable experience was a chance to speak to current students who were very engaging during my talk. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to give back and inspire current students - something l benefited from when l was in their shoes 3 years ago.” – Prince Chakanyuka

“We are so grateful to Prince for taking the time to meet and inspire students here at the School of Chemistry. This session was a fantastic opportunity for students get a new perspective on graduate life and to reflect on the applications of their university experiences beyond the academic context.” – Kerry Balkwill, Alumni Relations Marketing Officer

Find out more about Prince

Prince lecturing