From leading projects at the Industrial Development Corporation in Zambia to kick-starting independent enterprises and embarking on an MBA journey at ALUSB, Mulumba Lwatula ’19 is a man with many responsibilities. There are both risks and opportunities attached to juggling different duties, but Mulumba has found a way to make it work. We sat down with him to talk about the different roles that he occupies on a daily basis:
At the top of the list is his role as a senior analyst in business development at the Industrial Development Corporation in Zambia, a position that marked the departure from Mulumba’s previous career as an ICT professional. This career switch was motivated by his passion for business: “I have always been interested in business, even when I was in the tech field. Building businesses and coming up with solutions for people’s needs has always been a passion of mine.” So when the opportunity to get into business development at IDC came up, Mulumba took the challenge head-on.
A couple of years into his second career path, Mulumba is now travelling across Zambia, following up on existing projects and kick-starting new ones. His busy schedule allows little time for uniformity; one week he’ll be in Lusaka establishing the national airline, and the next he’ll be in the northern part of the country overlooking the presidential launch of the ZamPalm plantation.
“Every week is different. We run several projects across several sectors, so a lot of what I do includes checking up on the progress of some of these projects. But essentially, it all revolves around the IDC mandate: bringing about industrialisation in Zambia, creating jobs and turning around state-owned enterprises.”
In addition to his role at IDC, Mulumba is also an entrepreneur at heart. His passion for problem-solving led him to start several businesses of his own. This is something that is very much supported at ALU School of Business. Through courses like Entrepreneurship and Innovation, students learn about the instrumental role of entrepreneurial ventures on the continent and are encouraged to put that knowledge into practice. The E&I course ends with a Lions Den event, where the ALUSB students go through the real-life experience of defending their idea to a critical jury of potential investors.
The winner of the ALUSB Lions Den in 2018 was none other than Mulumba himself! He successfully managed to sway the jury with ‘Soko’, a digital platform with the goal of increasing financial inclusion in Zambia. Winning this competition incentivised him to go forward with the actualisation of his idea. “What started out as my entrepreneurship and innovation project has become my capstone project and will become my future business. Winning this competition has galvanised me to push even harder to make this idea a reality.“
ALUSB MBA student
“The work that I do today and the work that I plan on doing in the future will be expanding more and more across Africa.”
To top it all off, Mulumba is also a member of the Class of 2019 at ALUSB. “My decision to get an MBA was obviously related to the job that I am doing today. I felt like I needed to develop myself further, where business knowledge was concerned. I wanted to make sure that I was exposed to tools that would allow me to perform at my very best.”
Having lived and worked in almost every corner on the continent, Mulumba is a pan-African in the true sense of the word. So when he decided to pursue his MBA, he looked for a business school that shared his African-centred vision.
“My outlook has always been pan-African. The work that I do today and the work that I plan on doing in the future will be expanding more and more across Africa. So ALU School of Business spoke to everything I aspired to be.”
Although this MBA journey at ALUSB has been very gratifying for Mulumba, combining all these responsibilities is not always an easy task. Thankfully, he has the essential tools to maintain his balance: personal drive, support from his ALUSB classmates, and the ultimate motivators; his sons. “My boys are a great source of balance for me. Everything I do, I do to leave a legacy they will be proud of.”
Arnaud Niyongabo ’19 has been with Village Health Works in Burundi for the past seven years. As he embarks upon the final weeks of his ALUSB MBA experience, the winds of change are blowing in a new direction.
Arnaud just accepted a job with Kaz’O’zah in Bujumbura, an organisation that works to “encourage artisans to become skilled craftsmen, reach their full potential through skills development, hard work and determination, and then thrive as self-sufficient income-earners”. As Arnaud embarks upon his new horizon, enjoy this week-in-his-life as a husband, father, leader and ALUSB MBA student.
Monday, 21 January starts early in the morning. Arnaud grabs a cup of his favorite Arabic coffee and then takes his two sons, aged 3 and 4, to school. As he navigates the traffic on his way to work, he reflects on the challenges faced by the people of Burundi. Arnaud fully intends to play his part in improving the lives of many.
At work Arnaud meets with his team, where they discuss the events of the previous week, analyse their objectives and reflect on how they can improve. Arnaud creates a space for his colleagues to voice their challenges, leading brainstorming and problem solving sessions, ending with a clear way forward for the week.
“The MBA’s DBIA [Doing Business in Africa] course has taught me how to be resilient. Sometimes you just have to be ready for what’s coming your way. Expect the unexpected and adjust it to your goals, then keep moving forward”, he says.
Tuesday to Thursday sees Arnaud in the field with his clients, comprised of artisans, women, NGOs, restaurants, farmers and young people. Arnaud and his team are responsible for equipping their clients with the skills they need to become financially sustainable.
On Friday, Arnaud returns from the field, full of new information and progress reports to share with his team.
On motivation: Arnaud has a clear source of motivation for both work and school: “My wife is my greatest source of motivation. She ensures that I keep track of my studies and work”, he explains. This is turn drives him to be a better leader and husband.
On teamwork: Arnaud attests to the learnings from his ALUSB teammates. He is impressed by the diversity and commitment among his MBA classmates. He describes them as “a group of change agents with the passion and zeal for making their communities better places”.
A perfect week for Arnaud is one where he is able to spend quality time with his wife, keep his two little boys happy and healthy, go to church, visit family and friends, meet his professional objectives of the week without roadblocks and submit all his ALUSB assignments on time.
Arnaud has a clear message for the newly admitted MBA candidates who will be joining ALUSB:
“Do not look at the MBA as just a tool to learn about business concepts or to help you move forward in your careers. It is also about human connections, about creating a strong network with your classmates, and about how you want to grow as a business leader”.
As he looks ahead to graduation, Arnaud is committed to continuing the projects that he started with his team mates, and to working to maintain the precious ALUSB relationships that he built over the past 18 months.
Manji Cheto ‘19 is a Primary Markets Business Development Manager for Africa, at the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).
In the video interview below, Manji speaks to ALUSB’s value proposition, shedding light on the ideal ALUSB candidate, and bringing to fore, the impact ALUSB is making through Africans like her, for Africa. If her words resonate with you, don’t look too far from our on-going MBA application. Join us here.
Here are some highlights from Manji’s interview:
Who is Manji Cheto?
Manji is a passionate pan-Africanist who refuses to give up on the future of Africa. My goal in life is that by the time my life ends, I am able to say that I contributed to the social and economic transformation of Africa.
What led you to ALU School of Business?
I had looked at a number of MBA programmes across the world, but ALUSB stood out because it gave me access to people on the ground, professionals who are driving Africa’s economic transformation passionately and ethically. These are people who looked at capitalism as had been applied to Africa and said, “This is broken. We have to fix it. Making profit and doing good does not have to be mutually exclusive.”
Who is the ALUSB MBA for?
Firstly, if you are someone who considers yourself African – I think that definition is really multi-faceted – and you are tired of seeing the negatives of Africa, this programme is for you.
Secondly, if you are a person who truly believes in changing the world, then this programme is also for you. This is because, in just about 2050, Africa is going to be a huge part of the world’s population so we can’t talk about global in any context without talking about Africa.
This is the moment for you to be at a pivotal part of a global transformation, not just an African transformation.
What kind of impact should one expect from the ALUSB MBA?
If you apply to this programme, know that every single thing you do from day one is going to have a transformative impact on the lives of ordinary people in Africa and across the world.
Words cannot express how proud I am of you, that you have made it successfully to the end of this grueling program of business leadership transformation and earned the right to be called the FOUNDING GRADUATES of ALUSB. You caught the vision, married it with your passion, you were selected among thousands, you have persevered, you have grown as leaders, you are equipped, and you shall continue to soar. Every one of you has been transformed from the competent managers that you were two years ago into competent Pan-African business leaders. I am honored to have played a part in your future success, of which I am confident.
To those whom much is given, much is expected. The journey that you started with ALUSB is not coming to an end; it is changing in its nature. You are now no longer students who are being transformed by our program; you are now graduates whose accomplishments and leadership will shape the brand and design of the program. Most importantly, your leadership will shape Africa. As you celebrate this milestone, I urge you to remember why you chose this program, and why this program chose you. We chose each other because we are passionate about changing Africa. Africa needs you desperately to make Africa great. Make Africa great by creating thousands of new jobs. Make Africa great by inspiring others to become better leaders. Make Africa great by consistently demonstrating V3 leadership.
I am so proud of you.
Make me prouder.
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!
ALU’s School of Wildlife Conservation (SoWC) is developing leaders with a mission to conserve Africa’s heritage.
A sanctuary for wildlife in East Africa, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy was established in 2004 with a new vision for conservation: to make conservation pay for itself without having to rely on government subsidies or donor funding. Their solution: to integrate the cattle business within a wildlife sanctuary.
The results: a system of land use that produces 60% more employment than the two enterprises would separately, taxable revenues for the Kenyan exchequer and a sustainable wildlife conservation model that that pays for itself. As wildlife has flourished, oversees visitors have grown from 12,000 to 85,000 visitors per year and Ol Pejeta is turning over more than $12M in revenue. Over $1M is reinvested back into the local community.
In order to share and develop expertise from pioneering new business models in conservation, Ol Pejeta engages with like-minded organisations, notably in the education sector. The ALU School of Wildlife Conservation (SoWC) is one such organisation, developing future and current leaders who make it their life’s mission to conserve Africa’s natural heritage. Students across ALU’s undergraduate and MBA programmes benefit from the ideas, expertise and network that SoWC brings to the table.
Regarding current leaders, ALU School of Business welcome it’s first class of conservation leaders in 2017 to join its MBA programme. Students hail from leading conservation organisations including; Serena Hotels, African Wildlife Foundation for Nature, Singita, Tanzania Parks Authority and New Forests Company.
About 300 future leaders across the continent started their undergraduate programme at African Leadership University Rwanda, and 100% of whom will be exposed to the basics of wildlife conservation as part of their first year curriculum; 25 full scholarships have been awarded to those who chose conservation as their life’s mission.
Watch the stunning video below to learn more about the inspiring work of The Ol Pejeta Conservancy and ALU’s School of Wildlife Conservation!