Author: Tinashe Nondo ’22
The week of the 25th of October 2020 is one for the history books. It marks the week I started my long-awaited dream of pursuing my MBA at the African Leadership University School of Business. During this first intensive week, it was clear that I had entered an arena with incredible leaders. The admissions team at ALUSB did a fantastic job of bringing together a diverse, multicultural and multidisciplinary pool of experts from across the entire landscape of Africa. My cohort is represented by 23 nationalities;19 countries of residence; 11 years of work experience and an average age of 36. Due to COVID-19, 2020 has required immense measures of resilience and adaptability, characteristics which ALUSB has embodied to date. It is an honour to be a part of the very first blended cohort, where both the March and October 2020 intakes will be forging ahead together.
INTENSIVE WEEK HIGHLIGHTS
The online intensive week was a mixture of academic sessions, buddy lunches and fun team building activities. Have you ever tried to give your colleague origami instructions in a breakout room on Zoom? Had a dance-off challenge with your peers? Or thought about what African leadership looks like and what type of leader you are within that context?
In Leadership Lab, one of the MBA courses I will be undertaking, we were taught the fundamentals of coaching and presented with the opportunity of coaching each other and ALU Undergraduate students facing challenges. It was at this moment that I realised that this MBA would not only expand my academic knowledge but would also enable me to practically apply the lessons learnt in class to real-life situations, all the while affording me the opportunity to build life-long networks.
“I got the sense that through my cohort, and the warm welcome to the African Leadership Network, I would be building international bridges across many regions in Africa.”
The opening address by Fadumo Dayib, the first female to run for the presidency in Somalia, had a profound impact on our class. She shared honestly about the challenges she has had to overcome especially as a woman, in a patriarchal society and the courageous feats she has achieved including negotiating with Al Shabaab, in order to make her dream of building a “Somalia for Somalis,” a reality. As she spoke, I was reminded of the fact that I am Zimbabwean because I am African. Were it not for Africa, my sense of identity would be nonexistent.
Throughout the week, I got the sense that through my cohort, and the warm welcome to the African Leadership Network, I would be building international bridges across many regions in Africa. We do hard things! We are here to change the narrative! We are in this together! We are Sisonke!
Want to read more stories from our ALUSB community? Here are some links to get you started:
Applications for the March 2021 MBA intake are now open! Head over to https://bit.ly/ApplicationM2021 to start your leadership journey!
Author: Tumiso Kevin Mokakangwe, ALUSB Intern
As 2020 has stretched humanity to its optimum level, even the ALUSB graduation was challenged. Truth be told, we did not know how virtual graduation would turn out, but we knew one thing: we had to celebrate the ALUSB MBA class of 2020!
As all eyes turned to our YouTube live stream for the virtual graduation ceremony on Saturday, 7 November, the graduates dressed in gowns and got ready to celebrate their amazing achievement from their respective homes, certainly not allowing the restrictions of the pandemic to steal the moment of success.
The online ceremony began with welcoming remarks from the President of the African Leadership University, Christopher Williams, highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on the MBA programme and its graduates. “COVID-19 has affected the graduates’ classes, finances and interaction. Also, COVID-19 has made us more aware that change must happen in the world, that a new breed of leadership must replace certain world practices,” said Christopher Williams, as he welcomed the attendees to the first-ever online graduation in ALU history! Furthermore, in his address, he mentioned how the success of the graduating class and their promise to the transformation of Africa is necessary to continue educating and unleashing the leaders through this programme. “There is a calling that everyone has to answer to without exceptions, it is to be authentic. You need to answer one of the following questions: what is your calling? How do you want to be known? What will you be famous for?” Christopher Williams stated as he motivated the class of 2020 to take the continent by storm and craft solutions that drive progress.
After the welcoming remarks, it was time to hand out the ALUSB Academic Awards that celebrate the students that have excelled in our flagship Leadership Lab and Entrepreneurship & Innovation courses! Chidi Afulezi and Dr Zukiswa Mthimunye commenced with the special awards for the graduates with outstanding performances in a couple of categories:
The awards were followed by the speakers from the 2 classes reflecting and purposing their future after the MBA programme.
“Let us not only move the needle but redefine the scale,” stated Mellisa Mazingi ’20, ALUSB student speaker for the class of 2020 ‘Insinzi’, as she took her time to show a lot of gratitude for the support she got during her ALUSB journey and reflected on the aims of her class when they decided to pursue their MBA. “When we committed to a pan-African MBA, we committed to leading the development of our continents, solving problems, creating jobs, leading governments, developing African organisations and building continental businesses. We are Africans with a deep and personal understanding of the things that need to be done for our continent to thrive. We as Africans have achieved so much and we have so much further to go. As it is the motto of ALU, WE DO HARD THINGS.” She ended with the pledge to commit to the vision and mission of the African Leadership Group and ALUSB of going into the continent to write stories of African leaders that paint a picture of an Africa so bright and vivid.
Joy Rucyahana ‘20 followed, representing the ALUSB class of 2020 ‘Umoja’. “Everything of value is going to come at a price. We are still going to fight even at your most prepared state and to learn that when challenges come they leave us with more experience,” Joy stated as she urged the team to go into the continent to make the necessary difference they spoke about in their sessions. She ended her speech with a powerful message to the graduating class: “Let us lead from a place of wisdom, knowledge and empathy.”
“Never be quiet when you should speak and don’t speak when you should be quiet.” – Ibukun Awosika
Before the graduates could be graced with their MBA degrees, there was one more important thing on the agenda: the keynote address. This year’s keynote speaker was none other than Mrs Ibukun Awosika, the Chairperson of the First Bank of Nigeria Limited and the CEO/Founder of The Chair Center Group, Mrs Ibukun Awosika. “Our abilities do not just depend on us, they depend on our community that we can lean on and the support we have. The knowledge you have gained here is meant to prepare you for what you are going to do. It will depend on how you apply your learnings, your relationships and your opportunities. It is important to shift from success to significance, leaving an impact in the work that you do,” Mrs Ibukun Awosika stated as she motivated the class of 2020. Her impactful words were far-reaching to the attendees from around the world.
Congratulations, class of 2020!
Author: Tumiso Kevin, ALUSB Marketing Intern
Graduation period is often a time of reflection and as we get closer to the big day for the class of 2020, we caught up with some of the graduating students to learn more about their best times at ALUSB and their plans are post-MBA. Read on to discover their highlights and next steps.
Grace Umulisa, Founder, Mw Trading and Bora Mart Stores – Rwanda
“The highlight of my MBA program was the visit by Dr Deeqo Mohammed because it challenged me to do more for my community and move from looking at life from a ‘me’ perspective to a collective outlook. I am excited that I can now fully focus on living out all that I have learned over the past 20 months and take advantage of the incredible pan-African network and friendships I have made to expand my business into other African markets after graduation.”
Jean Didier Akpona, Special Projects Manager, African Parks – Bénin
“ALUSB gave me tools to increase my capacity in the conservation business and increased my leadership acumen. After graduation, I will challenge myself to support the programme in order to benefit more French-speaking countries in Africa. My second biggest challenge is to support conservation in Africa by challenging young conservationists in Africa.”
Josphat Ngonyo Kisui, Executive Director, ANAW – Kenya
“ I am excited to be together with my colleagues during this graduation. My plan after graduation is to provide servant leadership. I also hope to use the skills and knowledge I gained to advance the continent of Africa.”
Rachelle Elodie Konan, Territory Manager for West Africa – Ghana
“Networking with diverse leaders across Africa is the highlight of the ALUSB MBA programme and I am happy to have achieved one of my FY 2020 goals by further enhancing my skills set. My plans after graduating include implementing most of the key leadership learning in my day to day life and seeking greater heights.”
Simon Kioko, Co-founder and Managing Director of You and I – Kenya
“The personal growth journey I went through thanks to Leadership Lab is priceless. I have seen my leadership strengths and skills significantly improve. I am a better leader now and I cannot wait to use what I have learned in my country and continent which desperately needs good leaders. I am excited about the opportunity to look back and celebrate doing hard things. It is a great milestone to get to this level. After graduation, I plan to keep working on ‘You and I’ which was my E&I project and also my capstone project. The world is counting on ‘You and I’ to make a difference.”
Graduating is a big accomplishment under any circumstances, but especially now, it is a true testament to resilience. The Class of 2020 has worked remarkably hard to get to this point and we are thrilled to celebrate with them and to cheer them on as they cross this final threshold!
The Class of 2020 graduation ceremony will be happening on Saturday, 7 November. The ALUSB community will be gathering online from across the world to celebrate the amazing achievement of the Class of 2020. In the graduating class, we have 17 countries represented, including Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Benin, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria and a range of companies including the World Wide Fund for Nature and African Wildlife Foundation in the conservation sector, Coca-cola and Unilever in the manufacturing sector, and Standard Bank Group and Africa Reinsurance Corporation in the financial services sector.
As the anticipation begins to build and excitement mounts, ALUSB is also pleased to announce that the keynote graduation speaker will be none other than Ibukun Awosika, the first female Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited and a driving force in business, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy on the continent!
“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 Awosika
To attend the graduation ceremony, kindly RSVP HERE and let’s celebrate the #ClassOf2020 together!
Author: Philip Mbwaya, ALUSB Marketing Coordinator
We had the chance to have a panel discussion on Strategy and Leadership with two industry experts: Jito Kayumba, partner at Kukula Capital, and Emmett Tracy, ALUSB Dean and Professor of Management and Finance.
Both panellists have vast experience leading teams and organisations and shared 5 insightful pieces of knowledge about how leadership and strategy can contribute to your career success! Read on to discover all of them:
1. Leadership and strategy go hand in hand
As a leader, it is important to have a holistic approach in your operations, which includes having an effective strategy that you plan to execute.
“There may be leaders without effective strategies and there may be strategy persons without good leadership skills.”- Emmett Tracy
It is important to develop a leadership and strategic mindset to ensure that you achieve your organisational and career goals.
2. Inclusiveness is key
“If you want to execute a sustainable strategy, the organisation has to be part and parcel of the strategy, that involves all employees having an awareness of it.” – Jito Kayumba
Systems thinking is a crucial mindset in implementing a long term strategy.
All members of the organisation need to therefore have a holistic approach in executing their day to day role and realising how different departments work to achieve the common organisational goal.
If all team members are included and aware, it boosts motivation and makes them feel empowered to take initiative beyond their daily duties.
3. It is important to set milestones
In order to determine whether your strategy is working, you have to set milestones and metrics.
“You have to set and see the future unfold ahead of your current situation, it can help in planning and assessing your progress.” – Emmett Tracy.
As you execute your business strategy, you have to frequently assess the performance using the set milestones. The milestones should in turn encourage flexibility in case a part of your strategy is not working.
4. Communication is a crucial skill
“Leadership is a lot about presence, vision and communicating through words or action.” – Emmett Tracy.
Once you have a vision and direction, it’s time to express your ideas to your organisation. Effective communication enables a smooth flow of information throughout the organisation.
How can you effectively communicate in times of crisis?
“In communicating in times of crisis, it is important to have the confidence to communicate effectively. One way of developing confidence is by having a strong team around you. The greatest asset you can have as a leader is the kind of people you have in your team.” – Emmett Tracy.
5. Authenticity is important in shaping your leadership journey
“Nothing is more important than being your authentic self. Your authenticity is attached to your story.” – Jito Kayumba
When a person has a great sense of self-awareness and they are able to appreciate their situation, they are able to add more value to an organisation.
Embrace your journey and show up as your true authentic self in order to thrive as a leader!
The Master of Management programme is designed to bridge the gap between employer needs and the skills young professionals and recent graduates have. Are you seeking to accelerate your career and develop your leadership skills and business acumen? Start your application today at: https://bit.ly/MMAPPLY21!
ALU School of Business is pleased to announce the newest MBA Chairman’s Scholarship recipients! The prestigious scholarship has been awarded to two outstanding, pan-African leaders who will be joining the October 2020 MBA programme.
Each Chairman’s Scholar was selected for their impressive track record of leading both in the workplace and in their communities. Join us in congratulating Morine Kuria from Kenya and Evett Ngale from Cameroon!
Morine Kuria is the Operations Director and the acting CEO at Filamujuani Foundation, a Multimedia Training Institute in Kenya. Morine first joined Filamujuani as a student in 2016 and later joined the team as an intern before returning to lead the organisation.
In 2017, she became the Production Manager for a television show on MNET, where she managed a budget of $330,000 and successfully delivered 52 episodes for the show in 6 months. In 2019, Morine re-joined Filamujuani as the Operations Manager to handle a 5-year contract with KCB Foundation and Mastercard Foundation. She stepped up as the acting CEO in June this year as Ken Oloo, the Founder and immediate CEO of Filamujuani Foundation, transitioned to serve on the board of the organisation.
Morine has a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing and has a broad experience serving clients such as KCB Foundation, Mastercard Foundation and Acumen Fund.
Morine is passionate about empowering the youth to live up to their best potential! She serves her community as an active mentor for young women and also volunteers at Lapid Leaders Africa, a leadership programme that she was once a part of. She enjoys traveling and aspires to visit a new country each year. For now, she is content visiting new places virtually.
Evatt Ngale is a Cameroonian who is currently living in Senegal and working for Helen Keller International as the Regional Human Resources Manager for the Africa Region. He has lived and worked in over 10 countries across Africa and the Middle East and has over 16 years of progressive experience in General Administration, Litigations and Human Resources Management.
At Hellen Keller, Evatt is responsible for the strategic Human Resources management of national staff across 12 countries in Africa. Prior to his current role, he held strategic Human Resources Management positions in top humanitarian aid and development organisations such as Save the Children UK and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He also has private sector experience working for Les Brasseries du Cameroun.
Evatt is passionate about people and has over the years used his skills in strategic HR management, organisational culture, employee attraction, retention and development as well as performance management to support business needs and the mission of his various employers.
Inspired by his passion for kids he has been supporting the day-to-day operations of his mother’s Orphanage, Save the Children Alliance, in Cameroon, which was founded more than 12 years ago. Evatt is also an avid football fan.