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.
Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Arowolo ‘18, a wife, a mother of two, and a Nigerian entrepreneur, with plans to expand beyond Nigeria. As Toyin enters the home stretch of the ALUSB MBA, she shares a message for women considering this programme, and talks about the moral responsibility that lays ahead now for the founding class of 2018, as they prepare to graduate.
“The core of this programme has been leadership, but it’s also been ethical leadership – and more than anything, that’s what Africa needs.”
Here are some highlights from Toyin’s Interview:
On striving for work-life balance during the programme:
“I look back and wonder where I had the time to do this. I have two girls, I.am a wife, I work a nine-five job which is more like an eight to eight. I am active in church, started a business midway through business school.
What advice would you have for people considering this programme?
“In the midst of all this, I am happy to say that I have kept up with school work, it hasn’t been easy….it’s been a beautiful experience…in two years as pre-ALUSB and post ALUSB – there’s definitely been a change.”
On what lies ahead beyond graduation:
“As founders, we have an even bigger responsibility to go out, do good and be the kind of leaders people look up to. One of the things that leadership does is inspire us and as the first class, the founders class, I think that we have the moral responsibility (to do so), which is even greater.”
“I think that all eyes are on us, and me as an individual as a member of the class….the sky’s the limit of all of us and we have so much work to do”.
Watch Toyin’s full video interview here:
We had the honour of interviewing Former CEO of MTN Nigeria, Business Advisor and CEO of Africa Context Consulting, Micheal Ikpoki, in between his classes in March.
This video summarises Michael’s superb insights on some of the important nuances of doing business in Africa, gives excellent advice for rising leaders on the cusp of entering the “C-suite” and provides some context on why he chose to teach at ALU School of Business.
What is the key to doing business in Africa, that most people overlook?
“Actions from the regulator and government are the biggest risk to any business, bigger than the risk of market actions…we are all trained to deal with the competition but as leaders we are not well-equipped to deal with others issues in the external environment, namely government and regulatory issues”.
What brought you to teach at the ALU School of Business?
“It’s very clear that if you look across Africa there’s a lot of positive movements taking place and governments are becoming more accountable. citizens are now beginning to ask for change and in the midst of that there’s going to be a lot more expectations on companies and business leaders need to live up to that. That is where the gap is and what you are doing here at African Leadership University…trying to create Africa-centric leaders is critical and a big gap that we need to fill”.
What advice do you have for someone joining the C-Suite or making a partner for the first time?
I would capture it in one word, “PRESENCE”. Now your decisions have a lot more impact….you affect the lives of more people, because people now look up to you, you become a role model, it becomes your responsibility to cultivate more role models across the organisation”.
Watch Micheal Ikpoki’s fantastic full interview below!
Our MBA students return to Kigali every 4 months. They come to be inspired and to learn from tremendous leaders from across the continent and from awesome ALUSB faculty. They network, participate in social activities and spend valuable face time together. We have compiled highlights from this week to give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into an ALUSB MBA intensive.
Saturday 3rd March
MBA students working in the conservation industry kicked off the MBA intensive week with ALU School of the Conservation-led visit to Akagera National Park. Students discussed the Park’s strategy to combine business and conservation with the Park’s leadership team.
Talking integration of business with Philbert from the Akagera team: “We are focusing on new business models, such as charging concession fees from eco-friendly businesses allowed to operate within the park”.
Sunday 4th March
Thank you Dr. Deqo Mohamed for inspiring us by sharing transformative work you have done with communities in Somalia. Your leadership and vision are a challenge to our generation to do more for our continent” – Yves Iradukunda ‘19.
In the run-up to International Women’s Day 2018, ALUSB’s first Women in Management session took place, guest starring two phenomenal role models, Dr. Deqo Mohamed & Ms. Ayesha Bedwei.
Monday 5th March
Class of 2019: Vice Dean & Prof. Catherine Duggan kicks off her blistering Political Economy course with the quote, “I think of your job as a leader as absorbing complexity and transmitting clarity” ~ Yaw Boateng. The Class of 2019 then explored 30 years Chinese economic development, preparing to project next 20 years: of African development.
CLO Ryan Findley leads the Class of 2019 through the Renaissance Dam Simulation, a pan-African Leadership lab exercise, combining V3 challenges with negotiation skills.
Tuesday 6th March
Guest faculty Gbenga Oyebode, a successful lawyer, business adviser and board member for several companies, including MTN Nigeria, led a Doing Business in Africa session with Classes of 2018 and 2019. He then joined a subset of students for lunch and discussion.
“You need to have a strategy to manage the success of your company”. Guest faculty Micheal Ikpoki, the former CEO of MTN Nigeria, currently business adviser and CEO of Africa Context Consulting, an Africa-focused business advisory company, explores the importance of stakeholders management in Africa with our Classes of 2018 and 2019.
Wednesday 7th March
ALUSB CAO, Dr. Emmett Tracy, led an all-day Business Strategy session with the Class of 2018, building on their McKinsey Academy courses.
Thursday 8th March
International Women’s Day #IWD2018, Celebrating intelligent, passionate, beautiful women who are changing Africa.
After spending a day in the field with local organisations, our Class of 2019 presented their BUILD-structured findings and recommendations.
Friday, 9th March
Guest faculty Nicola Galombik, Executive Director of Yellowwoods, leads her “Where Value meets Virtue” session, focused on the importance and pursuit of shared value in African economies.
On Monday, September 25, the ALU School of Business (ALUSB) formally launched classes in Kigali, Rwanda, welcoming its inaugural class to the continent’s first pan-African MBA. The diverse founding class welcomes students from over 22 African nations.
In an opening ceremony the night before, ALUSB founder Fred Swaniker and Dean Modupe Taylor-Pearce celebrated the class and challenged each student to make the most of this opportunity to grow as business leaders and transform the continent.
On the first day of school, students explored foundational concepts, such as vision, values, and leadership lessons from the continent. Swaniker called upon them to be co-founders of the programme by helping to solve problems, co-creating the experience, and building Africa’s MBA with ALUSB staff. Students also explored their personal visions and ALUSB’s vision by considering these three questions:
With ethical and entrepreneurial leadership being essential for transformative change, Dean Taylor-Pearce shared his leadership path from the United States Military Academy to the Sierra Leonean armed forces. He promised to build competent leaders of character at ALUSB and challenged the co-founders to help build and protect values of integrity while at ALUSB and throughout life. Students then debated leadership case studies and analysed Swaniker’s insights on leadership based on his experiences doing business across the continent.
With many first time visitors to Rwanda, the inaugural class toured Kigali and learned more about the country’s history and city planning. The tour also allowed students to start building relationships with their peers and they have started working together in Home Learning Teams and pan-African Groups on activities facilitated by ALUSB Vice Dean Catherine Duggan and Director of Learning Miguel Lameiro.
Day two welcomes McKinsey & Company Senior Partner, Acha Leke, to share his experiences from advising organisations across Africa as well as insights from the McKinsey Global Institute’s Lions on the Move 2.0 report. The remainder of the week will introduce ALUSB’s Leadership Lab and case studies on Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) from ALUSB’s All-Star Faculty of proven business leaders.
The other DBIA sessions will be led by South African entrepreneur and women advocate Wendy Luhabe, former African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka, Professor Catherine Duggan, and Standard Chartered Private Equity CEO Peter Baird.
Steve Boehlke has over 25 years experience as a leadership development consultant and facilitator for senior executives at various Fortune 500 companies. He has spent the last 7 years working as a Senior Advisor to the African Leadership Group, where he has helped shape the group’s leadership development frameworks and assisted the group’s senior leadership to become more effective. Throughout his career, Steve has helped leaders, without regard to position, to become more influential and dynamic. He currently serves on ALU’s Global Advisory Council. Steve is a graduate of Princeton University, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and Princeton Theological Seminary.
“Students that want to learn how to do business on the continent need to learn how to develop political skills that are also ethical.”