Ethel Koppa
Construction Project Management (2013)
Project Manager for the National Housing Corporation, Tanzania

There is huge demand for new housing in Tanzania especially in its largest city, Dar es Salaam, one of the fastest growing urban centres in the world. It is in this construction hotspot that Heriot-Watt alumnus Ethel Koppa is building a rewarding career.

“I started working in the construction industry as an intern Quantity Surveyor during my undergraduate degree,”

Ethel explains, “Since then, I have worked as a Quantity Surveyor and, after graduating from Heriot Watt, as a Construction Project Manager. At the moment, I am a Project Manager in one of biggest real estate development and management firms in the Tanzania that is, the National Housing Corporation.” Ethel’s MSc in Construction Project Management from Heriot-Watt in 2013 provided the foundation of her career. One of the longest-running programmes of its kind in the UK, Construction Project Management equips graduates with the theoretical knowledge and technical skills to manage people and projects within the construction industry. It offers a range of core courses covering management, procurement and technology-related subjects to provide both management principles and practical skills relevant to professional practice in construction.

“The Heriot-Watt degree and experience gave me a competitive advantage against my peers in the industry,” she says. “I would not have been able to achieve all that I have in my career without Heriot-Watt University.”

Ethel found the following particularly useful: “The courses that have proven to be the most relevant to me are contracts and procurement, value and risk management, project management (theory and practice) and project management (strategic issues).”

A Commonwealth Scholar and a Mandela Washington Fellow, Ethel’s swift career progress is not surprising and in May 2016 she won further recognition at the ‘New Starter of the Year’ Award at the ‘Women in Construction Awards, Africa’ in Johannesburg.

Ethel, who lives in Dar es Salaam, has advice for students keen to emulate her success: “Approach everything with an open mind and enthusiasm,” she says. “Learn to grow, cautiously, out of your comfort zone.”

Crediting the University for more than her degree, Ethel concludes: “I can honestly say, I found myself at Heriot-Watt. It made me a stronger and better person.”

23 March 2017