Amine Alaoui Soulimani is a Mechanical Engineer from Morocco. He is the service manager of ThyssenKrupp, a German multinational, in Rabat, Morocco. Amine belongs to the founding class of the ALUSB MBA programme.
“Every company that is expanding in Africa or willing to expand, really requires a great pan-African network of individuals adept at navigating the continent’s challenges. Rising leaders, working professionals and transnational organisations can benefit from this network and from people who have this kind of network.”
Returning to Morocco after his undergraduate studies in Finland, Amine was driven by his passion to contribute to the optimisation of the immense potential in Morocco and Africa at large. Very inspiring (from the video below) are the preambles – “Africa is rising” and “Morocco is expanding” – to his perspectives on his country and continent. His outlook is made evident in the budding diversification of Moroccan companies across Africa, as well as the overall promising trends in Africa’s business, technological and educational climate.
Having graduated from ALUSB this past July, Amine has grown markedly in his understanding of virtuous leadership and his cognisance of the technicalities of doing business in Africa. Amine states that the opportunity for personal career advancement and corporate expansion for Moroccans aligns with the specifications of the ALUSB MBA programme to holistically equip students with V^3 (Value, Virtue, and Vision) leadership skills and sound knowledge of Africa’s present and prospective business landscape.
“This MBA will allow you to know where and how to do business in Africa, things to avoid, how to face challenges and most importantly, who steers and mans the development of various sectors and industries across the continent,” says Amine.
Watch the video below to learn more about ALUSB’s pan-African MBA programme through the eyes of Amine Alaoui Soulimani, Class of 2018.
Yvonne Gyefour (MBA ’20) is a Customer Marketing Manager at Unilever, Ghana, specialising in the personal care division. She describes her road to ALU, her key learnings so far and her advice to ALUSB aspirants. Get to know and be inspired by Yvonne’s career, her ALU and her legacy!
Yvonne’s arrival in Kigali for course orientation coincided with ALU’s first-ever graduation ceremony. From the snippet of the ceremony she was able to witness, she was highly motivated and reassured of her decision to study at ALU School of Business (ALUSB). Two months down the line, she speaks highly of her experience in ALUSB, tracing her superlative emotions from the all-absorbing intensives in Kigali to the enriching online interactions with her classmates at present. She describes her classmates as awesome – mid-career professionals from various countries with diverse experiences, and similar aspirations.
Weighing in retrospect, her attraction to ALU, Yvonne says, “two main things attracted me to ALU School of Business. One: The networking. Two: The Pan Africanism. Being well established in Ghana was not enough. I have a huge pan-African interest, and like Kwame Nkrumah said, we need unity to make an impact on the continent.”
Considerably, Yvonne’s road to ALU was paved by her desire for a transition from a national to a pan-African outlook/ impact. This transition is already happening on the fast wheels of the ALUSB Leadership Lab and the Doing Business in Africa course.
On Leadership Lab, Yvonne has the most fulfilled words. The programme has given her the opportunity to step back in introspection and be deliberate about the things that she does as a leader. She expresses her love and new-found devotion to ALUSB’s V^3 leadership paradigm, which is hinged at the intersection of virtue, value, and vision for true African leadership.
Yvonne’s goal for social impact in Africa primarily targets women and youth. She aims to help women get access to funding and training so they can expand their businesses, afford education for their children and live better lives. She strongly believes in the creativity and industriousness of Africans. She asks the average African youth, “what if you can do this if given adequate support, such that eventually, you are able to employ other people?”
In light of these, her key learning outcome from the Doing Business in Africa course has been a cognition of structured approaches to women and youth empowerment. Realising that she’s not the only one committed to these parallel causes, and having brainstorming conversations with like-minded classmates, she is certain of gaining more clarity down the line in addressing the inadequate conditions of women and youth in Africa.
“If you are at that point in your life where you feel like there is more you can do; and if you ever stop to think that there is a reason why you are African, then ALU puts things in perspective for you.” —Yvonne Gyefour, MBA ’20
Yvonne’s moonshot journey at ALUSB might still be at the translunar injection stage, but her realisations so far are quite reminiscent of the actual moon landing and lunar orbit. Her deep learning insights in combination with her inspiring personal drive speak of hope for the African continent. The culmination of her description of the past two months in ALUSB can be found in her choice of the qualifier “greatness” to summarise her journey so far.
She admits that it is ok to have fears and concerns about the travels or the money when considering ALUSB, but advises aspirants to sit back and reflect on their dreams for the African continent. If you want to apply, Yvonne gallantly says, “Just do it. You’re going to get a lot of help along the way, starting from the application phase.”
Guest Faculty Willy Yav, broadcaster and pan-African entrepreneur from the DRC, joined us for an interview while on campus in Kigali this past July. Hear Willy’s advice for building pan-African ventures and his thoughts about the future of Africa. Be inspired!
Here are some highlights from Willy’s interview. Scroll down to watch his full video interview, below:
“But yes, we are advancing. We are not going back. Africa is not going backwards.”
What led you to teach at the ALU School of Business?
“ALU believes that I have some experience to share. It is very important to talk about what I know, what I believe are the problems and what I suggest could be the beginning of solutions.”
What is your advice for making an impact at a pan-African level?
“We have to learn to start small after doing proper preparation…
At Pygma, the company that I co-founded, we are borderless…we are not limited by the borders that were set in place by a few people sitting around a table, carving up the continent up like a piece of cake.
You need to build your business with the ambition to grow, to have an impact at an African level. I would say if you do something that works in Awolowo Road in Lagos, Nigeria, its going to work in Rue du Commerce in Kinshasa. Its the same people, the same problems. If we add to it the intellect…as long as you know how to interpret it and re-adapt it to our reality, and find an African solution, I guarantee we are going to be well – actually better than a lot of continents.”
What does the future of Africa look like through your eyes?
“Better than African today by far, and at one stage we are going to reach a critical mass of a lot of people thinking the way we now think, and we will have a continent that will be amazing.
People think that working success is in two or three weeks. No, its not true. Even considering the whole situation in the DRC, because I live there but partially, I can see where we have improved. We have actually improved a lot on certain aspects. Then, I can be there and say this is not fast enough for us to catch up, we should do it better.
But yes, we are advancing. We are not going back. Africa is not going backwards.”
Watch Willy’s full video interview here:
Luthando Vuba of the MBA Class of 2019 is a pan-Africanist and urban planner by trade, working at the nexus of policy and strategy. Discover why Luthando opted for the ALUSB MBA and how he has developed as a leader since he joined ALU School of Business.
“The one thing I had to face is what I thought I was as a leader, versus actually what I am and what others think around me, which we get from V^3 360 survey, where other people are telling you this is what we see about you”.
Here are some highlights from Luthando’s interview. Scroll down to watch his full interview.
What attracted you to the ALUSB MBA programme?
“I am very pan-African, very passionate not just about the continent, but about the potential that we have. When I was considering my postgrad, and I where I want to do my MBA, the big question that I was pondering was how do I invest in something that will carry some of my visions that I have for myself and goals that I am trying to achieve.
…I had engaged with and visited the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, and I had a very good sense of the quality that comes out of what the Group produces”.
Describe your leadership journey to date. How have you developed as a leader?
“The framework of ALU School of Business, the V^3 leadership model has become THE framework for me. Its a framework that I can get behind because it has challenged me, it has grown me…and I think for me, the key one has been becoming so self-aware…
…the one thing I had to face is what I thought I was as a leader, versus actually what I am and what others think around me, which we get from V^3 360 survey, where other people are telling you this is what we see about you”.
Watch Luthando’s full video interview here:
ALU School of Business (ALUSB) was honoured to welcome their third MBA cohort to Kigali, Rwanda on Saturday 7th July, 2018.
The MBA Class of 2020 is made up of 46 students, of which 33% are women. Residing across Africa, Europe, the United States of America and the Middle-East, this class represents 17 countries of residence (Benin, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dubai, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe). With a proud, pan-African DNA, the class represents 15 nationalities, 14 of which hail from the continent.
The class unites expertise from multiple industries: conservation, consulting, financial services and banking, agriculture, energy, consumer goods, education and healthcare are the most represented industries. With on average 11 years of professional work experience, this experienced cohort includes managers, directors, controllers, partners, C-suite officers, founders and entrepreneurs.
In line with the mission of ALU School of Business, this MBA cohort represents many employers with a pan-African vision, including AfricaRE, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Ecobank, Coca-Cola, EthioChicken, GE, the IUCN, DMM.Africa, Genser Energy, Unilever, WWF and LinkedIn to name a few.
Hours before starting their programme, many ALUSB MBA Class of 2020 students were able join the ALU community in celebrating the University’s first ever graduation, to honour the founding MBA Class of 2018. The ceremony was attended by His Excellency President Paul Kagame, along with keynote speaker, Strive Masiyiwa and ALU Founder and CEO, Fred Swaniker.
As they oriented to a new work-life-ALUSB normal, the Class of 2020 began an intensive week of team building, Business Fundamentals, Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) – and of course, ALUSB’s signature V^3 Leadership Lab. Over the course of the week ALUSB welcomed the following DBIA guest faculty to Kigali: South African Advocate and Professor of Law, Thuli Madonsela, Co-Founder and COO of DRC’s PYGMA Communications, Willy Yav, and Safaricom’s Director of Regional Sales & Operations, Steve Okeyo of Kenya.
We had the privilege of gleaning some wisdom from guest faculty Gbenga Oyebode, lawyer and chairman of Aluko and Oyebode, one of Nigeria’s top commercial law firms.
In this interview Gbenga shares his tips for doing business in Africa, his reasons for teaching at ALU School of Business, as well as his thoughts about what kind of leadership is needed to advance Africa and help bring about the African Century.
“Our ability to manage our people better, to mentor our people and show true leadership around the problems that bedevil our continent…that’s going to be the difference between the past and the future.”
Here are some highlights from Gbenga’s interview:
What is key to doing business in Africa that most people overlook?
“The 50+ countries on the African continent are not all the same….I think the real key is knowledge of the local market. Try to understand the market you go to, try to behave like the locals, to to understand what they want, their aspirations…pay special attention to the likes and dislikes of the local communities”.
What led you to teach at the ALU School of business?
“I have always felt that the gap on the continent is around education and leadership. I think that if we are going to achieve our objectives, and if in 20 years we look back and we ask, ‘What have we done?’ , it would be that we have educated our people better and at all levels, but that that education also includes significant investment around leadership”.
What kind of leadership is needed to drive Africa forward in the next 10-15 years?
“Our students must focus on leadership as a core skill, in addition to all the other specialist skills that they have acquired along the way…that’s going to be the real difference. Our ability to manage our people better, to mentor our people and show true leadership around the problems that bedevil our continent…that’s going to be the difference between the past and the future”.
Watch Gbenga’s full video interview here: