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Meet Rhona Ndagire

Quality Controller at Marika Africa Sweets Limited

In today's career spotlight, we feature another Food scientist. Rhona is a Quality Controller at Marika Africa Sweets Limited and she shared with us some deep career insights about the future of food science as well as her journey to Entrepreneurship. This is what we asked

So in simple terms, who is Rhona?

Rona is a food scientist by profession from Kyambogo University, founder of King's Bakery, also pursuing an Entrepreneurship for Impact MBA from Uganda Martyrs University. She loves entrepreneurship as well as attaining further education.

In a nutshell what does a quality control officer do ?

A quality controller inspects products at every stage of production to determine if they conform to standards. This includes tests for internal standards like color consistency and reliable performance as well as safety checks. quality controllers usually work in manufacturing settings as well as processing facilities.

What is a typical day at work like for you?

Supervision of production personnel to make sure they meet hygiene standards prior to and during production to ensure quality of the finished product.product testing before release to the market, carrying out different quality tests in the laboratory to confirm product quality and implement corrective action where need be.

Any particular skills that you bring to your work place?

Leadership, communication skills, team work, computer skills among others.

What's cool about your job?

Knowing that all products depend on you, if the quality controller feels that the product quality is not good, they can stop product or hold the product from entering the market. 2. All jobs require quality control and assurance managers and officers; banks, engineering firm, textile factories among others, not only food factories.

Any challenges ?

Yes, there are challenges at all jobs even those that we admire or what people call their dream jobs. but what matters and what makes the difference is how you handle the challenges.
1. The main is some of the workers i supervise have no respect for me at all probably because they are older than me.
2. The other is knowing that if anything goes wrong with product quality, you will be putting consumers health at stake as well as lowering company returns since the product wont be accepted on market.

What subjects did you take in school and how have they influenced your career path ?

I chose Physics, Chemistry and Biology. All have helped me in regards to my career/ profession. Especially chemistry and biology.

Share with us your experience just after campus leading to your current job?

So i joined campus in August 2011 and completed May 2015, a period of 4 years. I was favoured enough to get a contract job with ARD (Action for Relief and Development) in Jinja, an NGO working under World Food Program. It was a very good offer for someone who had just finished campus. The Pay was sufficient and our boss was the best boss ever.

I was a nutritional assistant there. Unfortunately i was there for 4 months only. The job was no more cause there was no funding coming through, they had to lay us off. I have a passion for cooking and baking and my dream is to own a cafe or restaurant as one of my revenue sources. Good enough i had been taught by a gentleman from sheraton how to bake cakes so later on i went on to start my own bakery in the name of King's Bakery.

For now we bake based on order, make sales on schools visitation days. Along the way God brought the quality control Job. So the lesson is, don't sit to wait for a big opportunity, start with what you have and God will multiply that. Remember, when opportunity meets the prepared, success happens.

What is your Education to date?

I have a Bachelor of Food Science and Technology, also pursuing an MBA from Catholic University of Italy based at Uganda Martyrs University, Rubaga campus.

What is the relationship between food science and Masters of Business Administration?

The dual degree gives a food scientist the competitive advantage required to advance up the corporate chain of command and into management-level opportunities.

MBA is also very helpful to a food scientist who is an entrepreneur. For example, i have learnt a lot about management of both the business and employees for the bakery as well as having the technical food science and nutrition knowledge. Most managers in food industries or factories have food science degrees.

The MBA helps at managerial level whereas one still has the skills and knowledge of what is supposed to happen on ground. You cannot manage what you dont know and you cannot manage without an MBA or managerial skills.

What aspects of your education journey have proven most important for as you work?

For me, communication skills is paramount. How you relate with people; your boss and fellow employees, networking for more opportunities, team work as well as computer skills.

What trends are you seeing in your career field especially in Food Science?

Lately, people are more health conscious than the generations before because of the so many illnesses that come up with improper feeding. I think we can all see that people who have businesses shielded under the word "organic" are making abnormal profits. So the field of food science and nutrition has and is still having a higher growth rate due to increasing health awareness and the desire to eat natural / organic.

Is this your dream job if not what is your dream job?

I am an entrepreneur and a job is secondary to me. but if we are looking at jobs, quality control is not my dream job. My dream job is working with international NGOS as a nutritionist and project manager in the future.

What have been the most rewarding events / moments in your career so far?

The first was getting sponsorship to attain my first University degree for 4 years. The other was working with World Food Program, a pronounced organisation in my field.

As a student, how did you cope up with the pressure to succeed in class?

I didn't really have pressure as such but i was determined, self driven and my parents had hope in me that i would make it. So that kept me going because i didn't want to disappoint my parents or put their hope down. But above all, the Almighty made this possible.

What advise would you give someone considering this job?

It starts with passion. i didn't know about this course even in my high school, but because i loved Chemistry and Biology i was happy to do it. You need to have quite some good grades in chemistry and biology and also willing to wait for the 4 years. But it is a very doable course and very practical.

After campus if you are very ambitious, you may not need to look for a job because you learn to process and add value to so many foods and drinks. This is the best thing about Food Science.

What outside class activities did you engage in that have proved beneficial on your career path ?

I really loved to network. meeting new people from different fields, i would go for parties, this is how you surprisingly meet people who are going to connect you to that job or that great opportunity.

Any Concluding remarks?

Be focused, calculate and save for what you want to achieve, it could be annually monthly or any time range. Do not be in a rush to make it...take baby steps. one by one makes a bundle/. And choose to be happy, your happiness relies on you and not anyone else.

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