Meet Paschal Ssemaganda — MPub Alumni

Paschal Ssemaganda

This interview is part of our “3 Questions” series with Publishing Minor students, Master of Publishing candidates, and MPub alumni.

Meet Paschal Ssemaganda, Publishing Officer at the World Bank Group. His primary responsibility is to lead the product development and maintenance of the World Bank eLibrary, a subscription-based website used by top academic institutions, government agencies, think tanks, and other institutions.


1. What was something you wish you had done differently while in school?
One thing I wish I had done while at university is go on exchange, particularly during my undergrad. That is a great time to travel, meet new people, to grow in terms of cultural awareness and exposure. I’ve had some opportunities to travel personally and for work since school, but I think I would have matured faster had I done so back then.

2. What was the most valuable skill you took away from your time in the MPub program?
I learnt a great deal during my time in the MPub program. I learnt how to create and evaluate design for books, magazines, and the web, to edit, to create videos. But I think the most valuable skill I acquired was the ability to make compelling presentations. Those presentations in the first semester to industry leaders were more significant than I realized. Whether you stay in publishing or go into another industry, the ability to speak about your work in front of a group of strangers is an important skill. I recently had to make a presentation to our sales agents at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and I was at ease through the entire process. That would not have happened if I had not learnt how to present during the MPub. 

3. What is 1 piece of advice you would give to current publishing students (this could be advice for publishing minors or MPub)?
As an international student I was already comfortable communicating with people of different backgrounds. However, the intensive group work in the MPub taught me how to work quickly and effectively with people from different backgrounds. I’d advise anyone taking the program to really pay attention to that aspect of the program and take that opportunity to truly understand how to work collaboratively. Since I graduated I have spent the majority of my career working with groups of people, some of whom are sometimes scattered around the world. I now understand that the best employees and team members are not always the most technically advanced. Most of the time, they tend to be the ones who know how to collaborate. 

Paschal Ssemaganda’s graduate report is available online from the SFU library: Sustaining the midlist book: an analysis of the online marketing campaign for Trading in Memories

Learn more about Canada’s only Master of Publishing program. Application deadline each year is February 1st.