039: Getting into Med/Pharmacy School As An International Student – W/ Dr. Sheila Enoh & Dr. Idris Yakubu

In this episode, we have Dr. Sheila Enoh and Dr. Idris Yakubu back with us to continue the conversation on their road to success as international students with the focus on how they got into professional school in the US. Being African and an international student trying to get into Pharmacy or Med school definitely presents the case of a double minority as a foreigner and not eligible for financial aid. Most Pharmacy and Med school programs will not even look at your application if you are an international student and that obviously decreases your odds. Nonetheless, if you can dream it, you can STILL achieve it. And that is what we are here to speak about today.

Dr. Enoh and Dr. Yakubu will hopefully inspire and encourage you with their story of blood, sweat and tears, but what is most important is that they didn’t give up. You, too, can make it if you don’t give up. As a wise woman once said, your dreams are valid. We hope this episode encourages anyone who has hopes of achieving their dreams even when all odds seem to be against them.


Dr. Sheila Enoh, MD MPH was born and raised in Yaounde, Cameroon. She moved to the US at the age of 18 to attend college as an international student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for her undergraduate studies. She majored in Biology and Psychology with a minor in Chemistry. She then completed a Masters of Science in Public Health with a focus on International Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and currently pursuing a residency in Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is passionate about all things medicine and global health.


Website: www.sheilaenohmd.com

Email: info@sheilaenohmd.com

Dr. Idris Yakubu, PharmD is a solid organ transplant pharmacist specialist at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System and a clinical assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy. He earned both his Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He completed a PGY-1 pharmacy practice residency at the University of Toledo Medical Center and a PGY-2 solid organ transplant pharmacy residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Dr. Yakubu was born and raised in Nigeria and passionate about assisting international students in navigating and overcoming barriers in the United States  educational system. 


Email: idrisyakubu90@gmail.com

Things You Will Learn in This Episode:

[00:01 – 04:42] Introduction

  • Introducing the guests

[04:42 – 24:36] The Journeys, Challenges & Successes

  • Dr. Enoh and Dr. Yakubu share their unique journeys 
  • The habits and tools you need to succeed
  • The Importance of having mentors
  • Why you need to put networking first
  • Having multiple plans & being resilient

[24:36 – 39:22] The Application Process

  • Dr. Enoh and Dr. Yakubu share their experience with the application process

[35:40 – 53:28] The Stress of Being a Med/Pharmacy Student

  • The financial challenges and expansiveness of Med/Pharmacy School
  • Time management & Scheduling
  • The importance of family in our journey

[53:28 – 1:09:26] The Residency Stories

  • Dr. Enoh and Dr. Yakubu share their residency stories 
  • The H1B visa complications 
  • Finding employment in America after graduation

[1:06:20 – 1:15:30] Final Words

  • Build networks and have mentors
  • You need mentorships as you need air
  • Being honest with yourself and the people around you
  • Guests shared advice and wisdom prospective students

Tweetable Quotes:

“Your international experience [from coming into a new country at a young age] helps you mature significantly and you need to speak to that. That level of maturity is going to help you as your classmates will benefit from that, and you also need to take it further to show how the institution will benefit from that.” –  Dr. Idris Yakubu

“You are a student first. Regardless of how strong you may be in other areas, if your grades aren’t good enough, you are not making yourself competitive enough. At the bare minimum, make your grades competitive and that may increase your chance of someone looking at your application.”  – Dr. Idris Yakubu

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