In its mission to build leaders for the African century, African Leadership University School of Business (ALUSB) is launching a new, exciting degree especially for young professionals and recent graduates as they enter the job market. The programme, entitled Master of Management (MM), has been shaped by top employers to ensure graduates are able to build their business skills, add value to their employer organisations and propel their professional journeys forward.
We sat down with the Dean of ALUSB, Dr. Emmett P. Tracy, who is also the Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at African Leadership University (ALU). Dr. Tracy shared his excitement and vision for the new MM programme, highlighting that it would expand the ALUSB programme portfolio as well as serve a younger demographic with a top quality business education.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE ALUSB MASTER OF MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME AND WHO IS IT DESIGNED FOR?
The Master of Management programme is designed for early career professionals and recent graduates with up to three years of professional experience – those who are just getting started on their career journey. The programme is ideal for someone who wants to get a headstart in the job market and who sees value in developing the leadership skills, team skills and their entrepreneurial mindset that would allow them to succeed in their career. For employers, there’s an enormous attraction that these individuals will be able to make an impact from day one, through their agile thinking and ability to adapt to different professional environments.
DURING YOUR TIME AS THE DEAN OF ALU SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, YOU HAVE SEEN THE INSTITUTION GROW IN VARIOUS WAYS. WHAT WAS THE GOAL BEHIND ADDING THIS NEW PROGRAMME?
A while back we identified a demographic that we were not serving. The ALUSB MBA programme is geared towards later stage professionals. The average age of our MBA students is 36 years and the average work experience is 11 years. Year after year of application cycles, we were repeatedly presented with applications from highly qualified candidates who did not fall within the MBA’s minimum five year, post-graduate eligibility criteria. We thought deeply about how to best serve these applicants, about how to include them as part of our community and offer them a top business education.
While we are still very committed to our MBA programme demographic, in surveying employers and understanding their needs, particularly in regards to entry-level and junior management talent, we realised that the MM degree could provide a lot of value to the market, while broadening our programme portfolio.
HOW DOES THE NEW MM PROGRAMME COMPARE TO THE MBA?
Our MBA programme is unique from other top MBA programmes by combining three important elements: (1) a Pan-African student community, (2) an Africa-focused curriculum, and (3) a part-time, blended format (combining in-person and online learning). The format is an important aspect for our MBA students because it recognises that our MBAs are experienced professionals at an advanced stage in their careers, who are juggling a variety of responsibilities like work and family.
In comparison, the Master of Management programme is targeted at younger, early career professionals, who will start the programme much younger and move faster through the academic experience. The programme begins with a very intense immersion in business foundations and can be completed in less than one year. This helps our MM students accelerate their career while introducing them to core aspects of an ALUSB, Africa-focused education.
HOW WILL THE MM PROGRAMME PROPEL ALUSB TO ACHIEVE ITS MISSION TO SERVE AS A CATALYST TO BUILDING LEADERS FOR THE AFRICAN CENTURY?
Developing business leaders is about developing leaders at all stages of the workforce. The MBA programme is designed for managers and senior leaders in organisations, while the MM programme is designed for a younger demographic.
What we are excited about is creating an ecosystem where an MBA student can hire an MM graduate. As a pan-African institution, we expect that our graduates will go out and work in companies that span the continent. Part of the MM learning experience includes gaining exposure to a wide range of sectors and economies across the globe, through faculty and classmates. This exposure will allow our graduates to better access opportunities from Cairo to Capetown, Dakar to Dar es Salaam.
“Developing business leaders is about developing leaders at all stages of the workforce.”
WHAT ELEMENTS FROM THE MM EXPERIENCE EVENTUALLY MAKE A GRADUATE STAND OUT FROM A DEGREE HOLDER IN A PROFESSIONAL SETTING?
The undergraduate experience is a very holistic process, it helps you to start thinking about your future career and developing foundational skills needed to succeed professionally. On the other hand, the Master of Management is a very focused programme for those who are interested in pursuing certain types of careers – for example, marketing, finance or consulting.
The MM programme gives you extra time to hone the specialised skills required for success in your career, as well as a professional ecosystem that offers networking and mentorship for you to thrive as a young professional. An MM graduate leaves knowing what they want to focus on and how exactly they will make an impact in an organisation.
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES THE ALUSB MASTER OF MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME FROM OTHER MASTER OF MANAGEMENT PROGRAMMES GLOBALLY?
The Master of Management programme is quite popular, especially in Europe and the United States as well as within Africa. Compared to other programmes, the ALUSB MM programme has a distinct focus on Africa, which is also a core pillar of our MBA programme. The pan-African approach is integrated into the curriculum, equipping you with the knowledge to understand the African business landscape. The MM curriculum also takes into consideration employer priorities for entry-level and junior managers in organisations across the continent.
Beyond that, we have a passion to deliver impactful leadership education. Everything that we do within the African Leadership Group has a strong focus on developing leaders, through developing self and leading others.
The focus on Africa is core to what we deliver because we see it as an incredible opportunity to help rising leaders solve the challenges that are within Africa. We see it embodied in the kind of students that graduate from ALU, from the tremendous impact that they make in the communities and organisations they get involved in.
WHEN CAN INTERESTED CANDIDATES EXPECT APPLICATIONS TO OPEN FOR THE ALSUB MASTER OF MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME?
The application for admission to the Master of Management Class of 2021 is officially open! You can start your application today at: https://bit.ly/MMAPPLY21. We look forward to welcoming our very first Master of Management students into the ALUSB ecosystem in January 2021.
To find out more about the ALUSB Master of Management admission requirements, programme structure, tuition fees and financing, please click the following link: https://www.alusb.com/mm/
Author: Philip Mbwaya
Driven by a passion for helping people and knack for debating, Taona Wayne Nyamakura ‘21 pursued a budding career in law in Zimbabwe. He currently works at The Chambers – Advocates of Zimbabwe as an Advocate of the High Court and Supreme Court of Zimbabwe. We caught up with Taona, nearly halfway through his ALUSB MBA programme, to find out more about his decision to pursue an MBA degree as a law professional and how the programme impacted his career up to this point.
As the world celebrated Father’s Day this past Sunday, Chidi Afulezi, ALUSB’s Head Faculty for Product, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, took this opportunity to flip the script and bring attention to an important issue in our communities: gender-based violence. We’re honoured to share his reflections on fatherhood with our larger community.
I would like to shout out all the ALUSB fathers. Happy Father’s Day to you. It is my privilege to play this role with you…It is not easy, but the fact is, being a father is the ultimate job in life. Yes, you have or will soon have an ALUSB MBA, and you are a captain of industry that takes no prisoners, but all of that is really beside the point…to me, the true measure is to be most successful at being a good father.
Now, of course, I had to flip this a bit. I am the dad of three incredible young women in their teens, and that has me acutely focused on the pain and raw helplessness that many fathers experience when their daughters leave home and don’t come back, or come back with wounds deeper than any external damage. I find myself focused on the angst and shame that some fathers feel to know their sons leave home and become predators and perpetrators of incredibly cruel acts towards women in our communities.
“Father’s Day is a day for me and for the rest of the fellas out there to affirm our undying and unequivocal support for our women.”
Listen, I am not here to equivocate about any of this. Gender-Based Violence is real, and anyone who wants to get into nuance or “should haves, could haves” lost me when they opened their mouth to speak. As a father of three girls, the husband of another man’s daughter, the son of another man’s daughter, and the brother to another man’s daughters…Father’s Day is a day for me and for the rest of the fellas out there to affirm our undying and unequivocal support for our women.
We can’t be leaders, or successful business people, without that affirmation. Yes, we can breathe fire in the boardroom or negotiate under extreme circumstances. But, I’m a father of three members of Africa’s most important demographic segment, and I will do what I must to support them, that’s what matters most. Nothing matters more.
I appreciate you, and again, Happy Father’s Day.
In these times of great uncertainty, you might be wondering how business school admissions processes might have been affected. We sat down with Jacob Dodoo, Associate Director of Admissions and Marketing at ALU School of Business (ALUSB), to update you on any changes that the MBA programme has gone through as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How was ALUSB able to adapt its MBA programme when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out?
“We’re proud of what faculty and staff have been able to accomplish amidst unprecedented uncertainty …”
The ALUSB MBA comprises a blended learning model, which means that we combine interactive, online education with in-class sessions in Kigali, Rwanda, which are week-long experiences that we call “intensives”. Given lockdown restrictions this year, ALUSB decided to continue running its online components uninterrupted and review the timing and delivery of in-person sessions. We’re proud of what faculty and staff have been able to accomplish amidst unprecedented uncertainty and the feedback from students has been really positive.
As countries locked down across the continent and travel restrictions were put into place, we took the decision to postpone the matriculation date for the March 2020 MBA entrants to October 2020. As they prepare to start their programme in October, our incoming students will commence their learning with a brand new MBA prep programme, launching in July 2020.
In what way has COVID-19 affected the overall MBA programme?
The ALUSB MBA is a pan-African programme, drawing students from across the continent. As long as the global health risk remains high, we will seek to leverage our online capability and conduct as much learning as possible online. To make sure that the students can still benefit from the networking advantages of this pan-African MBA, we’ve incorporated more student activities to the intensive schedules as possible, to accommodate cohort bonding while providing additional networking opportunities with other MBAs from Africa and around the world!
How is the ALUSB Admissions team assisting students through their MBA application in the midst of the pandemic?
The admissions process for applicants to our MBA programme remains the same. The entire application process is online and one good thing about working from home is that potential applicants have some additional time to work on their MBA applications.
“… offering hands-on service and guidance to all applicants is the number one priority for the ALUSB Admissions team.”
As always, offering hands-on service and guidance to all applicants is the number one priority for the ALUSB Admissions team. We can be reached via email, WhatsApp, and phone. We also offer various online webinars on Zoom, in order to assist applicants in submitting stellar applications, while ensuring that their questions are answered. The ALUSB MBA “Virtual Application Clinic” is a Zoom webinar where the Admissions team presents applicants with a detailed overview of the ALUSB Admissions process. Similarly, the “How to Fund your ALUSB MBA” webinar is designed to share details on the funding options we offer, as well as to help applicants think constructively about how to fund their MBA. Don’t miss our next ‘How to Fund your ALUSB MBA’ webinar, which is coming up on Wednesday, 17 June!
If travel restrictions are still in place before the new MBA class matriculates, will the start of the programme be delayed?
ALUSB is investigating the possibility of running an online matriculation and intensive in October if travel restrictions persist. If this is approved, then there will be no delay to the start of the October 2020 MBA programme.
What could be the potential setbacks and constraints as a result of the current situation for students who want to apply for ALUSB MBA scholarships?
There will be no constraints for anyone that wants to apply for any of the ALUSB MBA scholarships. In fact, we have introduced new scholarships to diversify the perspectives in our MBA classrooms. I urge applicants to check them out in the financing section of our website.
Do you have any work from home tips for current students?
The whole ALUSB team is also working from home at the moment! A few tips that have helped me in transitioning to remote work are:
- Having a designated workspace or home office in your home.
- Having clearly defined working hours and taking regular, short breaks to stretch, breathe and clear my mind.
- Listening to podcasts on a daily basis.
- Communicate, communicate, over-communicate with your team! Keep aligning on deliverables and be sure to also check in with them regularly to ask how they are doing. It is better to over-communicate than to under-communicate.
What message do you have for anyone that is interested in joining the ALUSB MBA programme?
“At ALU School of Business, we are building a community of change-makers who are leading at the frontiers of pan-African business.”
African Leadership University is transforming education on the continent. At ALU School of Business, we are building a community of change-makers who are leading at the frontiers of pan-African business. Come be a part of our community and be inspired by the amazing work that is being done across Africa to drive this continent forward while transforming yourself as a leader. If this is something that excites you, then this programme is definitely for you!
You heard the man! Start your application today at: https://bit.ly/ApplyNowO20!
Following the growing number of Covid-19 cases on the continent and in other countries of origin for ALUSB faculty and students, the resulting travel embargoes, as well as the World Health Organisation upgrading the global risk to high alert, ALUSB has taken the decision to postpone the March graduation.
ALUSB views this decision as a difficult, but necessary, step to ensure the health and well-being of a community of professional leaders, corporate executives and academic experts who are responsible for businesses across Africa and the world.
The graduation ceremony will be postponed to Saturday, 7 November. The momentous occasion will take place at 10:00 am at the Kigali Convention Centre, Rwanda.
We’re looking forward to celebrating this milestone for the class of 2020 ‘Umoja’ later in the year! Stay tuned for more updates.