ALU School of Business is proud to present our newest MBA Chairman’s Scholars: Emily Kinuthia of Kenya and Lukonga Lindunda of Zambia. These two remarkable African professionals will be joining the ALUSB MBA Programme in March 2020.
Read on to learn more about the impact that these pan-African leaders are making through their organisations, as well as to their communities, regions and to Africa.
Emily Kinuthia is the General Manager, Marketing Communication and Citizenship at NCBA bank in Kenya, where she oversees marketing strategy development and implementation across East Africa.
She has over 14 years of marketing, brand building and communication experience having worked in the advertising industry, managing multinational brands across Africa, as well as driving marketing for leading brands in the financial and technology sectors.
Emily gained strategic leadership knowledge having led the advertising and brand building engagements for Nestle equatorial Africa Region – consisting of 5 business units, across 16 African countries, and delivered consistent growth for these brands in market share and revenue for 4 years.
During her time in advertising, she also worked with the leading telecommunications brand in Kenya, Safaricom, as a business unit head, and while there was able to understand the dynamics that drive both brand equity and revenue growth for the Telecommunication and ICT sectors.
Armed with this knowledge and experience, Emily took on the opportunity to head the marketing and communications department at the former AccessKenya, now Internet Solutions Ltd. While there, she built a framework that grew the brand from low awareness to high equity and increased revenue, through consistent and transformational brand engagements that targeted B2B enterprises.
As an Entrepreneur, Emily is the co-founder and Director of Hair Expo, an engaging platform within the hair and beauty community, that she created and successfully launched into the market in 2014, a first of its kind in the Kenyan market.
In her efforts to make a positive impact on society, Emily supports and drives philanthropy efforts such as Twakutukuza Trust, a not-for-profit Cancer Trust that raises funds to support cancer patients with financial, medical and social needs. She also founded a feeding programme dubbed Embrace A Child in rural Machakos. Embrace A Child was born out of the desire to bring a positive change in the rural areas of Kenya, where poverty was high due to a lack of education and a lack of access to basic needs.
Lukonga Lindunda is a startup ecosystem builder, Executive Director and co-founder of BongoHive, an award-winning innovation and technology hub based in Lusaka, Zambia that is changing the landscape of innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.
Lukonga is a Mandela Washington Fellow and has 11 years of experience working with entrepreneurs and development partners. He began his career providing technical assistance in educational projects and programmes by building sustainable and affordable ICT infrastructure and support systems with Education Development Center Inc. and VVOB vzw. In 2011, he founded BongoHive with three colleagues after noting a gap in the support young entrepreneurs needed to bring their innovative business ideas to life outside the usual corridors of innovation in Southern, Western, and Eastern Africa.
Since then, Lukonga has steered BongoHive to nearly 500 Startups and MSMEsharnessing over $1 million in resources to support their growth with over $750,000 startup capital raised since 2016. He also co-led the building, management, and roll-out of Africa’s first digital mapping of technology and innovation hubs in 2012. He has personally spearheaded public and private partnerships to leverage the ecosystem work BongoHive does by building partnerships with firms such as the Zambia ICT Authority, World Bank, UNICEF, EY, Musa Dudhia and Co, Facebook and Google amongst many others.
Lukonga’s vision goes beyond the private sector and Zambia, having realized the interconnected path of the region’s development and the complexity of creating a viable support network for entrepreneurial development. Not only has he actively participated in the policy-making space in Zambia by making comments on Zambia’s ICT and Broadband policy, but Lukonga has also overseen BongoHive’s participation in the Africa Innovation and Technology Forum (AIPTF) an initiative led by African hubs to incorporate innovation into the continents’ development agenda. Closer to home, Lukonga has also sought to create a practical vehicle for collaboration and regional integration with partner hubs in Malawi and Zimbabwe by establishing the Southern Africa Venture Partnership which seeks to build up technology and innovation sectors in the region.
George Ampratwum ‘20 is the Career Development Manager at the African Leadership University (Rwanda) and the African Leadership College (Mauritius). He’s also part of the class of 2020, known as Umoja, that will be graduating soon! We were privileged to have a chat with George about his past 20 months as an ALUSB MBA student and his forthcoming graduation in March and his plans for the future.
George joined ALU with the purpose of building students’ professional development. Today, he is the manager of a strong team and department that is focused on helping ALU students find their footing in the professional world. In his role, he is tasked with students’ professional development, employer management with the different partners and managing the placement of students on both campuses.
His reasons for pursuing an MBA, despite already having a full plate, were twofold: “I was in the search for an MBA that would address my varied interests such as psychology, sociology, information systems, and human resources; all of which are intersected.” At the same time, George was looking for an MBA programme that would allow him to further build on his leadership and management skills to scale up the career development programme at ALU. All roads led to ALUSB.
Fast forward to today. George is at the end of his MBA journey and he looks back fondly at his time at ALUSB. The highlight of his experience? The ALUSB community! He reinforces that the people he has interacted with throughout the programme, including alumni and other cohorts, have played a considerable role in his professional and personal growth. George also notes that he enjoyed the process of learning and unlearning certain things that he thought he knew. “Breaking down my own leadership concepts and building new ones based on Leadership Lab has been a big highlight of my experience.”
“The programme has had a tremendous impact on my leadership trajectory.”
George believes that applying the skills learned through the programme have had a tremendous impact on his leadership trajectory; “I became the team’s manager while pursuing my MBA, and I have also been able to take up more leadership roles such as being part of ALU Rwanda’s leadership team,…” He credits this growth to the ALUSB curriculum with special mentions to Leadership Lab and the entrepreneurial-focused courses that allowed him to go beyond his current reality and anticipate future needs of his projects and his team.
Even though the past 20 months did not go by without any roadblocks, finding some type of balance between the MBA, his personal life, and his professional life has been a positive challenge for George. He is motivated by the intrinsic need to learn and gain new knowledge and skills. This enabled him to see challenging experiences as “functional challenges” that helped to push him out of his comfort zone. Moreover, George states the influence of the people around him, such as his spouse and classmates, were key players in overcoming any roadblocks throughout his ALUSB MBA journey.
“I feel like I’ve found a new family through the ALUSB MBA.”
George has built strong friendships with people he can trust to have his back when needed. While he acknowledges the fact that he had friends before, he points out that his friends from the programme have been a phenomenal addition to his life. “I feel like I’ve found a new family through the ALUSB MBA.” George is nostalgic about the experiences and adventures he has had with his classmates: a road trip to Uganda, a visit to Kenya, and an intensive in Mauritius, and definitely more to come.
“I could not do it alone; if I did not have my MBA classmates to support me and encourage me.”
Beyond having a good time together, his classmates taught him to be resilient and to have courage. “Seeing my classmates navigate through their own journeys, has really taught me the value of being resilient and pushing one’s self harder.” He believes that having each other to lean on, is one of the main reasons that they have gotten to the final stages of their MBA.
George also appreciates having a diverse pool of classmates. He is grateful for the opportunity to learn about different countries through a narrative that reflects the reality in those countries. “The biggest asset of the ALUSB MBA is the network. I feel like there’s someone I know in every African country that I visit.”
“I feel like there’s someone I know in every African country that I visit.”
“The future is limitless.”
“The future is limitless. I have unlocked potential I didn’t think I had. I discovered my ability to manage people and I’m now aware of my potential to be more than a domain master.”
George is optimistic about the new and exciting opportunities that may present themselves in the future. Moreover, he’s still passionate about building the capacity of the next generation of the African workforce through career development at ALU!
Looks like George is ready to take the African business landscape by storm – look out for him in 2020!
Yet another graduation is at the horizon for The African Leadership University School of Business (ALUSB)! On Saturday, 21st March the third cohort of ALUSB students will be walking the graduation stage at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda as Masters of Business Administration. ALUSB is pleased to announce that the keynote graduation speaker will be none other than Ibukun Awosika, a driving force in business, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy on the continent!
About Ibukun Awosika
When it comes to business, Ibukun Awosika is a known pioneer. She currently serves as the first female Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited. She’s also the Founder and CEO of The Chair Centre Ltd, a market leader in the office furniture and banking security systems industries. Her entrepreneurial ventures have earned her multiple awards, including the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award as a nominee of the US Department of State.
In addition to her strides in business and entrepreneurship, Ibukun is a continuous advocate for the social, economic and educational advancement of women and youth across the continent. Through her personal projects and alignment with organisations such as The African Leadership Initiative, Women in Business, Management and Public Service (WIMBIZ), Aspen Global Leadership Network, and more, Ibukun strives to empower entrepreneurs to create jobs for the large unemployed youthful population.
“I come from a place where there are opportunities staring you in the eye. But it’s looking for the people who have the heart and the courage to do it and do it right.”
Ibukun is no stranger to the academic space; she’s a Chemistry graduate from University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria; and an alumna of the Chief Executive Programme of Lagos Business School, the Global Executive MBA of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain and Global CEO Programme of Wharton, IESE and China European International Business School (CEIBS).
Having Ibukun as the keynote speaker continues an ALUSB tradition of welcoming a wide range of prominent, African individuals to address its graduating class. Former graduation keynote speakers have included Strive Masiyiwa, renowned businessman and philanthropist, and Donald Kaberuka, Former President of African Development Bank.
The Class of 2020, “Umoja”
The pan-African MBA Class of 2020, Umoja, of which one third is women, represents 15 African countries of residence.
ALUSB will celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of the Class of 2020 Umoja with a week full of events that will culminate with the graduation ceremony. The week’s events will include their final intensive, special guest speakers, and family events!
Edward Shila ‘20 is an East-African in every sense of the word: he was born in Tanzania to an Ugandan mother and Tanzanian father, he studied in Kenya, he works as the Managing Director of Dentsu Aegis Network in Dar es Salaam and is currently pursuing his MBA in Kigali.
Most of his time, however, is spent in Tanzania, where he oversees the day to day activities at Dentsu Aegis Network, a global advertising, and marketing agency. “We help brands come up with strategies, communication plans, media plans, digital plans, creatives, production and overall below the line activities.”
As a Managing Director, Edward naturally has a lot on his plate: “A big part of my role is about tracking the financial performance of the business. It’s thinking about how we are performing against the revenue targets that we’ve set for ourselves and offering the team reports on how we will be able to achieve the numbers. Apart from that, it’s also about managing relationships between the business and our clients; whether it’s beer brands or telco’s, we have to make sure that we’re really delivering and the clients are happy.”
Even with all these responsibilities on his plate, Edward still decided to go for his MBA. His reasons were twofold: leadership and growth.“I’ve always been interested in leadership and I wanted something that was going to help me grow in my career. I wanted to move into the C-suite level and most of the places I’ve been interested in require you to have an MBA or at least a Master’s degree. I thought it was the right time for me to go and do that.”
His search for the right MBA, however, took some time: “I finished my undergrad in 2010 and in these 9 years, it was a struggle to find a school or an MBA programme that was different… until I found ALUSB. I chose ALUSB because it’s a different type of degree or rather, a different type of MBA; from what you’re being taught to how it all weaves together in everyday business operations or leadership and management.
The first thing that really stood out to me was the focus on leadership and building future African leaders. The other thing that stood out to me was the fact that it’s a pan-African MBA. ALUSB gives you the chance to learn and experience other pan-African leaders, expand your network and increase your opportunities.”
How does Edward juggle his roles as father, Managing Director and MBA student? Read on to discover his day-to-day and how he approaches work-life balance!
1. Maintain a routine
This new addition in his life required a little adjusting. To keep everything structured, Edward maintains a strict routine: “Every morning for me starts with trying to get to the office at 6.30 or 7 AM. I start the day by reading the bible, listening to music and I meditate for about half an hour. And that is followed up by me catching up on my studies up until 9 AM. At 9, I start working and checking my emails. By 11 I have a weekly status meeting. The commonality here is that up until 9, it’s routine.”
This routine continues throughout the week. It’s at the beginning of the weekend that Edward gets to change it up a bit: “What my Saturdays look like, all depends on the workload; sometimes I come into work or catch up on assignments. And on lighter days, I spend time with the kids, take them out for dinner, swimming or something else. Sunday is church day. After church, I go back home and I spoil the family.”
2. Handle your challenges
“I’ve always been an optimistic person and I’m very solution-centric. I’m always keen to find a solution to a roadblock and maintain a positive attitude. So whenever there’s a roadblock, I always believe that that is where solutions are supposed to come out of. Being able to do that really helps me to focus on the issue at hand and think about how to move forward.”
3. Find your motivation
“There is more that needs to be done and that keeps me going.”
“Two particular things motivate me to keep going. One is my ambition. Seeing where I come from and where I am today… It is a journey that I’m really proud of. So I keep increasing the bandwidth because I know that I’m not there yet. There is more that needs to be done and that keeps me going.
Apart from that, my daughters really inspire me. Even though they’re small, they seem to be very wise. After a long day, they are really able to lift my spirits and make me feel motivated and really give me the energy I need for the next day.”
4. Make sacrifices
Work-life balance simply means being able to regulate the amount of time and energy that you spend on your work, yourself and things that are personal to you. How do you split your time between your work, school, your health, and your family and friends, while also doing things that are good for you? For me, I always make it a point to not work during the weekend and I make an effort to go home early and not stay up late.
It is a challenge, it is hard and it’s quite a lot of work and a lot of effort to try to maintain that. In my case; I’m doing an MBA, I have work, I have a life and this means that the life part has to suffer a little bit for a time for me to be able to complete this. But whenever time permits, I compensate for the times that I wasn’t able to be there.
This year ALUSB welcomed two, stellar MBA classes into the ALU family; the Class Of 2020 “Insinzi” started in March and the Class of 2021 “Ubuntu” in October.Click here for details about our latest MBA class, “Ubuntu”.