An international economist, Dafi Rogers-Halliday has won the 2022 7Up Harvard Business School Scholarship.

Rogers-Halliday, a first-class graduate of Loughborough University, England was unveiled by Seven-Up Bottling Company Limited (SBC) makers of Pepsi and 7Up among others, at the firm’s Ijora, Lagos headquarters.

The Rivers State indigene will – in the coming weeks – enjoy a fully funded, two-year residential Masters in Business Administration (MBA) programme at Harvard Business School (HBS) in Massachusetts, the United States of America.

She thus became the 12th winner of the 7upHBS Scholarship since its inception in 2010 during SBC’s 50th anniversary.

SBC’s Managing Director, Mr. Ziad Maalouf described Rogers-Halliday as a bundle of talent typical of Nigerians.

“America’s got talent, Russia’s got talent, France has got talent, but Nigeria has got the best talent in the world,” Maalouf said.

He noted that many of Nigeria’s best hands were emigrating and showing the world their talents, but that this had a downside.

“From one side it is fortunate because those Nigerians leaving the country are ambassadors that show the world what Nigeria is all about, Unfortunately, Nigeria would lose them and this is where my concern is; this country needs them more than any other country.”

He urged Rogers-Halliday to work hard, graduate with distinctions, return to Nigeria and make a difference.

Accepting the challenge, the recipient said she was “overwhelmed with emotions and incredibly honoured as Harvard Business School only accepts one percent of applicants.”

She said she was concerned about funding after gaining the HBS admission but this had now been taken care of.

“I feel relieved that 7up has taken up all of this financial burden off me. I also feel very sad as anyone who has lost a parent, I’m sad my dad is not here but I’m sure he is very proud and is smiling down,” Rogers-Halliday said.

She urged members of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) to aim high and “Choose courage over comfort…It is important to always find something that challenges you.”

SBC’s Group Head, Culture and Transformation, Yinka Olufade, said the firm decided to “invest in education in a very unique manner” to give back to the country, “which has been highly supportive and in alignment with the company’s mission of creating a greener future for promising Nigerians.”

2020 recipient Abdurahman Buhari and his 2021 counterpart Bisayo Ajisegiri praised the scholarship, noting that it had made a huge impact on their personal and professional lives.

They urged other firms to emulate SBC.

Dr. Anita Onyemelu, who spoke on behalf of the Rogers-Halliday family, described the award as “a very worthy initiative.”