Building Leaders for the African Century, with Bill Egbe

Building Leaders for the African Century, with Bill Egbe

I had the pleasure of interviewing ALUSB all-star faculty member, Bill Egbe, during his time at the business school in Kigali. Here’s what he had to say about how ALU School of Business is building leaders for the African century:

“[I am] an experienced corporate executive, and former president of Coca-Cola South Africa. I’ve been retired for about 18 months now. So I consider myself a pensioner after thirty years of being in the corporate trenches in the US, in Latin America, in Europe, and in Africa. I thought it was time to focus on something different other than corporate life.

[Coming to ALUSB], I was really intrigued by two elements the business school was focused on. It is really focused on trying to build a new generation of ethical and entrepreneurial leaders for Africa. And I think those two elements that, especially in the context of Africa, makes a lot of sense to ensure that people are nurturing the sense of entrepreneurship to accelerate the development on the continent.

The continent is not going to be developed by big corporations; entrepreneurs will drive the development. Not the politicians either; entrepreneurs will drive the development. So we need to make sure that we are building a new generation of leaders who are focused on grabbing the entrepreneurial activities.

I also like the fact that they have this unique model of taking experienced leaders in business, NGOs, private sector, public sector, bringing them into an MBA programme. The students spend some time on campus through face-to-face intensives, using cutting-edge technology to engage students when they are off-campus. The students’ interaction with top-level global academics and experienced business leaders make a combination that is going to be very dynamic in shaping how successful they will be as they go on to play leadership roles on the continent.

And I just want to be a part of that.”

Watch Bill’s full interview here:

#MeetTheStudents: Duduzile Nyirongo

#MeetTheStudents: Duduzile Nyirongo

“I am very confident that when I complete the degree, I will be part of a very rare breed of leaders that will make a positive impact in Africa.” – Duduzile Nyirongo, ’19

With this blogpost, we launch the #MeetTheStudents blog series where we profile our students from all over Africa who are doing hard things to drive the continent forward. This inaugural #MeetTheStudents post features Duduzile Nyirongo ‘19, who played a key role in the resignation of Robert Mugabe after his multi-decade-long rule of Zimbabwe. Throughout this piece, we explore her passion for youth representation, good governance, and the role of ALU School of Business in her journey.


Who is Duduzile Nyirongo? (How do you describe yourself? What do you do professionally?)

I’m a mother, wife, chartered accountant, a business leader, a theologian, a political and human rights activist as well as a musician in my spare time. My career began after obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting from the National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe, in 2005. I went on to train with Ernst & Young, before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 2010. In 2011, I joined Uni Products, a Zimbabwean food product manufacturer, as Head of Finance, a position which I held until 31 October, 2017 as I embarked on an entrepreneurial journey.  I am a very sociable person who has a networking gift. My networking success comes from one belief; I don’t only extract value from networks, I give value. I hate poverty and my passion is to see the financial development of my country and Africa as a whole. I would like to invest in society because I believe that while profit is important for business, it is not the only goal of a business. Apart from shareholders, companies should consider the interest of other stakeholders and the environment.

I am also a citizen activist who is passionate about seeing a just, equitable, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. I am co-founder and trustee of CitizensZW a civic organization promoting civic participation in social, economic and political affairs. I am also part of the Citizens Manifesto team which is building towards a non-partisan national convergence platform for citizens to collectively express their thoughts and aspirations on a Zimbabwe that they want and collectively work towards its attainment.


What attracted you to the ALU School of Business?

Before I applied to ALU I was applying for a Masters in African Development because when I look at Africa I see a continent with great potential but lacks individuals with the necessary skills for its development. My passion for the development of Africa has also been fuelled by my desire for it to prosper. I believe that most of the problems that we face in Africa are as a result of lack of the right kind of leadership. So when I heard about ALU I thought: “Well, this really resonates with my goals.” ALU is focused on developing leaders who will become solution givers to most of Africa’s problems. I believe that this degree will help me on my road to being a social entrepreneur that will play a significant part in developing the nation of Zimbabwe and economically empower its citizens.


You seem very passionate about advocacy, politics and youth representation, why is that?

I came to a point where I realised that no one is immune to the obscene levels of corruption and mismanagement in Zimbabwe. As an individual you may not want to get involved in politics but it is involved with you. Everything about our lives is political. The price of bread is affected by our politics. The type of bread you eat is affected by politics. Our salaries, school fees, building materials, the quality of education, etc., are all affected by politics. Even for businesses to thrive there is need for political and economic stability and formulation of the right policies. Our nation had now become a nation of degreed vendors and touts.  So I came to a point where I realised that silence is no longer an option and I was convicted in me that I had a duty to my fellow citizens. I spoke because I couldn’t stand it anymore. I spoke, regardless of my fear, because I said to myself I will not allow my daughter to grow up and wonder where I was while the country was being destroyed.


What role did you play in the recent political events in Zimbabwe? Why was this important to you?

I was part of a group of activists that encouraged people to march on the 18th of November 2017. Robert Mugabe just had to go. After having marched and Robert Mugabe did not resign, we organised a series of protests at the Africa Unity Square  (opposite the Parliament of Zimbabwe). I vowed that I would protest everyday until Mugabe stepped down, either through resignation or impeachment. We were even planning to go and sleep at his residence on the day he finally resigned. I was also part of a team that organised and led prayers for peace, unity among other issues.

This was important to me because for a very long time I had been calling for an end of Mugabe’s tyrannical rule. He had failed as a leader and plunged the country into disarray. The economy had collapsed under his leadership, the health system had collapsed under his leadership,  people were suffering under his autocratic rule and yet he was indifferent to the people’s suffering. He had been leading the country for 37 years and had failed; he had to go. So this was a window of opportunity that the army had opened and we welcomed it and said: “Yes Mugabe must go, No to military rule, and Yes to a better Zimbabwe” Mugabe’s resignation to me was the first step of our journey towards a just, equitable, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. It was also good to see the people of Zimbabwe finally speaking out after their voices had been suppressed for a long time.


How is ALUSB equipping you with the skills, knowledge, and network you would need to continue leading the cause for good governance in Africa?

The ALUSB experience has been amazing. The business school is equipping me to be a better leader through the leadership lab and the V^3 model. The leadership lessons are not just theory but are practical as we are taught to apply them on a daily basis. I have become bolder and I no longer fear doing hard things. ALUSB has a wide pan-African network of amazing young leaders who I am learning from as I extract value from them. I have also been equipped with skills and knowledge that I am using as I continue on my entrepreneurial journey such as marketing, operations, finance, objectives and key result areas. I’m also grateful for the coaching sessions which also guide me as I make decisions. I am very confident that when I complete the degree, I will be part of a very rare breed of leaders that will make a positive impact in Africa.

Leadership at ALUSB, with Ryan Findley

Leadership at ALUSB, with Ryan Findley

Leadership is at the heart of the African Leadership Group, which the ALU School of Business (ALUSB) is part of. We believe that good leadership is the force that will really transform the African continent and help to bring about the African Century. This philosophy is an integral part of what we teach at ALUSB through our V^3 Leadership Model.

In this post, Ryan Findley, an architect of the V^3 Leadership Model, shares insights about how the model was developed with the African leader in mind.

Who is Ryan Findley? What do you do at ALU School of Business?
I am a leadership enthusiast who is currently serving as the Chief Learning Officer (CLO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) at ALU School of Business. My role puts me in charge of ALUSB’s final products which includes our curriculum, our intensives, or anything we publish. As COO, I am in charge of the team to ensure that we deliver on everything from marketing to student recruitment to student assessment and so on. Those, ultimately, are my responsibilities.

What attracted you to work at ALU School of Business?
It was really exciting to have the opportunity to redefine the MBA. The MBA has been around for about sixty years and it started within the Ivy Leagues of the US. To date, pretty much everyone else has copied it. There is little variation globally in the classes you would take in an MBA, and how you would study an MBA.

Maybe about 10 years ago we began to see an infiltration of part-time programmes and dual degree programmes. Before then, the standard was: you took two years off, went to business school, and after those two years at business school you returned to the working world. So that was the first thing: I felt like we could redesign the model. Not that part-time MBAs aren’t being done, but having an opportunity to solve the dearth of such programmes in Africa is exciting.

Much more exciting, however, was the opportunity to integrate leadership into the MBA. There are not many MBAs out there with a true focus on leadership. Some offer it as an elective or offer a few classes. However, given that leadership is so important in Africa, I couldn’t imagine anything more important than giving MBA students a robust leadership experience. And that was something I believed that we could do better than anyone else in the world.

How was the V^3 Leadership Model that is taught at ALUSB designed?
I was in the room at the inception of V^3. The model was designed with the same premise that we had at the ALU undergraduate programme and at the African Leadership Academy (ALA), which is that leadership on the continent needs to have an entrepreneurial element to it. As our founder, Fred Swaniker likes to say, “the challenges that leaders face on the continent are effectively entrepreneurial challenges.” They are the challenges of an entrepreneur. Therefore, blurring the lines between leadership and entrepreneurship was at the heart of the design process of the V^3 leadership model.

How would you explain the V^3 Leadership Model?
Firstly V^3 stands for: Value, Virtue, and Vision. Being an entrepreneur is about creating Value. Entrepreneurs squeeze out Value from every unit, every store, and every part of the supply chain in order to create Value for their customers, clients, and other stakeholders.

However, if we have people who only know how to maximise and extract Value, we can easily see a point where this becomes exploitative. And that’s where Virtue comes in. You can’t just be someone who creates or delivers Value, you’ve got to be someone who is Virtuous–who is ethical, courageous, resilient. Virtue is treating people well and taking care of stakeholders as much as shareholders. Virtue does not inherently create Value, but when paired with value creation, turns out to be quite a powerful mix.

Vision ties it all together by answering the question: “Where is it all headed?” It provides the direction and the orientation of an organisation, the society, the community, and all other settings where people are working to create value within the boundaries of a set of virtues. It is therefore important that all V’s – Value, Virtue, and Vision – work synergistically with one another.

What impact has ALUSB had on the lives of its students, outside the classroom?
The stories we’ve heard have been really impressive! From students getting raises at work, to students getting triple the money on a business they were selling, to students having their church pastors tell them: “Hey, you’re doing this for all of us.”

The impact is incredible! I’d say almost everyone, on some level, has shared some success from their personal lives, even if it’s about their kids. When their kids see how their parents themselves work hard on their homework, passing tests, and so on, they bond over it.

I think that, into the future, we would get more tangible results around things like job changes, salary improvements, company funding, meeting spouses, et cetera. We are only 14 months in and the impact we are having is already this significant.

Now, imagine where we would be in 14 years! Why not join us now?