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News > Catch Up:Friends > Catch up with Babatunde Gafaar who is now at London Business School

Catch up with Babatunde Gafaar who is now at London Business School

It was great to meet Babatunde at a Concord Reunion in London. In this article he talks about Concord, his journey through medical school, his recent change in career and what inspires him.
Babatunde Gafaar (2007 - 2009) and friends
Babatunde Gafaar (2007 - 2009) and friends

My first impression of Concord was driving up and seeing the lovely grounds and Bell House and being amazed at how beautiful it looked. Additionally, I was really surprised at how international and diverse the school was which I found exciting.

There were several things I loved about Concord: The sports hall – I loved playing indoor football and table tennis there, the Mayor’s festival – I enjoyed performing and watching other’s performances and Sunday brunch – the food was always amazing then. My friends and I would always order duck rice from Bamboo on Sunday evenings which was also a weekly treat I looked forward to.

I also loved the fact that there was such a wide variety of activities that you could do from archery to horse riding. I enjoy learning new things so I made a lot of friends from different countries and also spent a lot of time reading my books.

The only thing I didn't like was the food not being spicy enough for me!

A lot of the teachers at Concord made a huge impact on me: Mrs Upsall, Mr King, and Mr Paytey to name a few.

Mrs Upsall gave me a lot of confidence and did a lot of coaching which helped me get into medical school and I will be forever grateful to her. She made biology exciting and nurtured a love for biology in me. Thanks to her, I won the award for the best graduating student in Biology.

I was always very interested in science, especially biology and enjoyed helping people so medicine was a natural choice for me.

Concerning university, I met a medical student during my 6.1 summer holiday who told me about how much she was enjoying her time at UCL. After listening to her, I was sold and only wanted to go to UCL. Thankfully, I got in and was given a very generous offer in terms of the grades I needed to get.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCL. I made a lot of friends and met my wife during my time there. Medical school was initially more intense than I expected and I had to make significant changes to the way I studied. I did enjoy studying medicine so I do not have any regrets at all.

I set several medical-related career goals when I left university mostly about time frames for passing professional exams and getting into training posts. My initial goal was to become a dermatologist but over time I realised I wanted to be a clinical oncologist and worked towards that goal. It is quite a competitive speciality with about 45 training places available nationwide each application round. I ended up getting a place but turned it down to pursue an MBA which I am currently doing at London Business School. So in that sense, my career has evolved and I am looking in the short term to work in the management consulting industry.

If I could travel back in time, the two main things I would say to myself are:

  • Firstly, do not be afraid of taking risks and failing. It is better to try and fail than to not try at all.
  • Secondly, always think about the long term when making any life decision; avoid being short-term in your thinking.

What advice would I give someone who is scared of making the wrong choices?

I would say they should listen to these words from one of my favourite speeches which was given by former US President Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”

My time at Concord gave me a truly international perspective on life and gave me new experiences like mountain climbing and fencing. One of the highlights of my time in Concord was going to Singapore and staying with my friend Bryan and his family for three weeks.  Since then I have caught the travel bug and enjoy exploring new countries.

I also made some great friends during my time at Concord, when I got married in 2019 a number of them were there and they all continue to push and inspire me (I have included the picture we took at my wedding).

I look back on my time at Concord fondly and hope my children also make it to Concord (if I can afford the fees!!!!)


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