ALU School of Business is proud to present our newest MBA Chairman’s Scholars: Emily Kinuthia of Kenya and Lukonga Lindunda of Zambia. These two remarkable African professionals will be joining the ALUSB MBA Programme in March 2020.
Read on to learn more about the impact that these pan-African leaders are making through their organisations, as well as to their communities, regions and to Africa.
Emily Kinuthia is the General Manager, Marketing Communication and Citizenship at NCBA bank in Kenya, where she oversees marketing strategy development and implementation across East Africa.
She has over 14 years of marketing, brand building and communication experience having worked in the advertising industry, managing multinational brands across Africa, as well as driving marketing for leading brands in the financial and technology sectors.
Emily gained strategic leadership knowledge having led the advertising and brand building engagements for Nestle equatorial Africa Region – consisting of 5 business units, across 16 African countries, and delivered consistent growth for these brands in market share and revenue for 4 years.
During her time in advertising, she also worked with the leading telecommunications brand in Kenya, Safaricom, as a business unit head, and while there was able to understand the dynamics that drive both brand equity and revenue growth for the Telecommunication and ICT sectors.
Armed with this knowledge and experience, Emily took on the opportunity to head the marketing and communications department at the former AccessKenya, now Internet Solutions Ltd. While there, she built a framework that grew the brand from low awareness to high equity and increased revenue, through consistent and transformational brand engagements that targeted B2B enterprises.
As an Entrepreneur, Emily is the co-founder and Director of Hair Expo, an engaging platform within the hair and beauty community, that she created and successfully launched into the market in 2014, a first of its kind in the Kenyan market.
In her efforts to make a positive impact on society, Emily supports and drives philanthropy efforts such as Twakutukuza Trust, a not-for-profit Cancer Trust that raises funds to support cancer patients with financial, medical and social needs. She also founded a feeding programme dubbed Embrace A Child in rural Machakos. Embrace A Child was born out of the desire to bring a positive change in the rural areas of Kenya, where poverty was high due to a lack of education and a lack of access to basic needs.
Lukonga Lindunda is a startup ecosystem builder, Executive Director and co-founder of BongoHive, an award-winning innovation and technology hub based in Lusaka, Zambia that is changing the landscape of innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.
Lukonga is a Mandela Washington Fellow and has 11 years of experience working with entrepreneurs and development partners. He began his career providing technical assistance in educational projects and programmes by building sustainable and affordable ICT infrastructure and support systems with Education Development Center Inc. and VVOB vzw. In 2011, he founded BongoHive with three colleagues after noting a gap in the support young entrepreneurs needed to bring their innovative business ideas to life outside the usual corridors of innovation in Southern, Western, and Eastern Africa.
Since then, Lukonga has steered BongoHive to nearly 500 Startups and MSMEsharnessing over $1 million in resources to support their growth with over $750,000 startup capital raised since 2016. He also co-led the building, management, and roll-out of Africa’s first digital mapping of technology and innovation hubs in 2012. He has personally spearheaded public and private partnerships to leverage the ecosystem work BongoHive does by building partnerships with firms such as the Zambia ICT Authority, World Bank, UNICEF, EY, Musa Dudhia and Co, Facebook and Google amongst many others.
Lukonga’s vision goes beyond the private sector and Zambia, having realized the interconnected path of the region’s development and the complexity of creating a viable support network for entrepreneurial development. Not only has he actively participated in the policy-making space in Zambia by making comments on Zambia’s ICT and Broadband policy, but Lukonga has also overseen BongoHive’s participation in the Africa Innovation and Technology Forum (AIPTF) an initiative led by African hubs to incorporate innovation into the continents’ development agenda. Closer to home, Lukonga has also sought to create a practical vehicle for collaboration and regional integration with partner hubs in Malawi and Zimbabwe by establishing the Southern Africa Venture Partnership which seeks to build up technology and innovation sectors in the region.
George Ampratwum ‘20 is the Career Development Manager at the African Leadership University (Rwanda) and the African Leadership College (Mauritius). He’s also part of the class of 2020, known as Umoja, that will be graduating soon! We were privileged to have a chat with George about his past 20 months as an ALUSB MBA student and his forthcoming graduation in March and his plans for the future.
George joined ALU with the purpose of building students’ professional development. Today, he is the manager of a strong team and department that is focused on helping ALU students find their footing in the professional world. In his role, he is tasked with students’ professional development, employer management with the different partners and managing the placement of students on both campuses.
His reasons for pursuing an MBA, despite already having a full plate, were twofold: “I was in the search for an MBA that would address my varied interests such as psychology, sociology, information systems, and human resources; all of which are intersected.” At the same time, George was looking for an MBA programme that would allow him to further build on his leadership and management skills to scale up the career development programme at ALU. All roads led to ALUSB.
Fast forward to today. George is at the end of his MBA journey and he looks back fondly at his time at ALUSB. The highlight of his experience? The ALUSB community! He reinforces that the people he has interacted with throughout the programme, including alumni and other cohorts, have played a considerable role in his professional and personal growth. George also notes that he enjoyed the process of learning and unlearning certain things that he thought he knew. “Breaking down my own leadership concepts and building new ones based on Leadership Lab has been a big highlight of my experience.”
“The programme has had a tremendous impact on my leadership trajectory.”
George believes that applying the skills learned through the programme have had a tremendous impact on his leadership trajectory; “I became the team’s manager while pursuing my MBA, and I have also been able to take up more leadership roles such as being part of ALU Rwanda’s leadership team,…” He credits this growth to the ALUSB curriculum with special mentions to Leadership Lab and the entrepreneurial-focused courses that allowed him to go beyond his current reality and anticipate future needs of his projects and his team.
Even though the past 20 months did not go by without any roadblocks, finding some type of balance between the MBA, his personal life, and his professional life has been a positive challenge for George. He is motivated by the intrinsic need to learn and gain new knowledge and skills. This enabled him to see challenging experiences as “functional challenges” that helped to push him out of his comfort zone. Moreover, George states the influence of the people around him, such as his spouse and classmates, were key players in overcoming any roadblocks throughout his ALUSB MBA journey.
“I feel like I’ve found a new family through the ALUSB MBA.”
George has built strong friendships with people he can trust to have his back when needed. While he acknowledges the fact that he had friends before, he points out that his friends from the programme have been a phenomenal addition to his life. “I feel like I’ve found a new family through the ALUSB MBA.” George is nostalgic about the experiences and adventures he has had with his classmates: a road trip to Uganda, a visit to Kenya, and an intensive in Mauritius, and definitely more to come.
“I could not do it alone; if I did not have my MBA classmates to support me and encourage me.”
Beyond having a good time together, his classmates taught him to be resilient and to have courage. “Seeing my classmates navigate through their own journeys, has really taught me the value of being resilient and pushing one’s self harder.” He believes that having each other to lean on, is one of the main reasons that they have gotten to the final stages of their MBA.
George also appreciates having a diverse pool of classmates. He is grateful for the opportunity to learn about different countries through a narrative that reflects the reality in those countries. “The biggest asset of the ALUSB MBA is the network. I feel like there’s someone I know in every African country that I visit.”
“I feel like there’s someone I know in every African country that I visit.”
“The future is limitless.”
“The future is limitless. I have unlocked potential I didn’t think I had. I discovered my ability to manage people and I’m now aware of my potential to be more than a domain master.”
George is optimistic about the new and exciting opportunities that may present themselves in the future. Moreover, he’s still passionate about building the capacity of the next generation of the African workforce through career development at ALU!
Looks like George is ready to take the African business landscape by storm – look out for him in 2020!
This year ALUSB welcomed two, stellar MBA classes into the ALU family; the Class Of 2020 “Insinzi” started in March and the Class of 2021 “Ubuntu” in October.Click here for details about our latest MBA class, “Ubuntu”.
We had the honour of welcoming Hakeem Belo-Osagie, the chair of Metis Capital Partners and senior lecturer of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, at the ALU Rwanda this week! Here are 6 pieces of knowledge that he left us with:
1. “The ties that you make here, will remain with you for the rest of your life.”
“I was lucky to enjoy an education with a lot of diversity. The school I went to had students from 50 or 60 different countries. It left me with this sense that national boundaries and racial boundaries are artificial, that we should be able to relate to people across the globe. What divides human beings is much less than what unites human beings and at the end of the day, it’s the individual that counts.
ALU students are in a very special position. You’re living and working together with highly intelligent people from different countries, different religions and different ethnic groups. The ties that you make here, will remain with you for the rest of your life. Whether you go into government, politics or business. When you hear about a flood in Senegal, something will prick your conscience because you studied with someone from that country. When somebody tells you that you must hate a Sudanese because they’re fighting someone in Southern Sudan, you’ll say; ‘no, there is a way we can solve this problem’. You will not be afraid to do business in a different country, cause there will be people you know there and you’ll have a sense that they’re not that different from you.
I had a classmate from Aby Dhabi at Business School and the two of us got together and decided to do something interesting. Because we trusted each other and we knew each other from school, we were always able to sit down together, come to what we thought was a fair deal for both Nigerians and Arabs. The relationship that I still have with the government of Abu Dhabi is very much created by him and our relationship. And that is one of the examples of what a network can do.“
2. “In thought, precision. In style, concision. In life, decision.”
“There are 9 words you should remember in life: In thought; precision. In style, concision. In life, decision. This is a saying that one of my tutors used to reiterate.
In thinking, you must be very precise. When it comes to your style, try to be simple. Do not try to be too elaborate, too full of yourself. There is a beauty in simplicity. In life, decision. You must have the capacity to make decisions. That is a very important part of your life. Those 9 words have never left me.”
3. “Your first boss is either your second father/mother or your final nightmare.”
“In my business career, my first boss and my first business partner were great mentors to me. Your first boss is either your second father/mother or your final nightmare. My first boss was a very secure person who looked upon me as someone to develop and he did this long before the word mentorship was used or was in fashion.
Mentors are very important because they help you separate what is important from what is not important. When you have a bad moment, when you think that it’s all dark, when you have the feeling that you’re at the end, they make you realise that they have been there many times before.”
4. “Success is talent and hard work, meeting opportunity.”
“Success is talent and hard work, meeting opportunity. However, not everyone gets an opportunity, especially in Africa, where large groups of people are living below the poverty line. You have to be honest with yourself. Even if I had worked as hard as I worked, if I had been born in Southern Sudan, in parts of Northern Nigeria, in Syria or as a refugee in Palestine… Where would I be today?
While taking a certain amount of pride in what we’ve achieved, we must continually remind ourselves that we have had certain opportunities. What does this mean? Those who have certain opportunities, have no excuse for laziness or not taking on a certain challenge.
Part of your life should also be dedicated to creating more opportunities and that should be a significant part of your life.”
5. “Making business as much as an option for women as for men is fundamental. “
“Making business as much as an option for women as for men is fundamental. If you look at study, after study, after study… they all show that by empowering women, more responsible decisions are taken in the upbringing of children, in the education of children and in the way which responsible spending takes place. I think that these factors make women’s success crucial. That economic independence will lead to the social change that we need.
In my mother’s generation, women were nurses, secretaries, teachers… But there was a whole business area that was not meant for them and I think that having women in that business area is necessary.”
6. “You just have to make up your mind in life because there is not enough time for everything.”
“People are often not as busy as they think they are. A lot of time is wasted on things that we really shouldn’t waste a lot of time on. You just have to make up your mind in life because there is not enough time for everything. I made up my mind to prioritise family, work and my social mission. And I stick to that.”
Delivered in partnership with INSEAD, one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, Strategic Leadership in Africa is a brand new executive education programme for African executives, that integrates global insights into strategy, leadership and team-building with deep knowledge, experience and research on the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Africa.
We sat down with ALU School of Business (ALUSB) Vice Dean Catherine Duggan, who led the Strategic Leadership in Africa (SLA) programme development from the ALUSB side, to tell us more about this world-class initiative
What sets Strategic Leadership in Africa apart?
“The best of both worlds”
“One thing that’s unique about this SLA programme is that it will integrate INSEAD’s offerings as one of the global leaders in executive education with ALUSB’s deep expertise in Africa. Participants will get the best of both worlds: global perspective from one of the top business schools in the world, together with Africa context, focus, and experience from an innovative, truly pan-African business school.
I’m especially excited about this programme because it is the product of a true partnership between the ALUSB and INSEAD faculty and staff. From the beginning we agreed that we wanted something developed specifically for the African market, rather than something that was bolted together from pieces of programmes designed for other markets.
As a result, I think participants will find that SLA is a learning experience that is integrated, practical, and relevant to the challenges (and opportunities) that they are facing right now in African markets. It will also give them a chance to think about where African markets fit into the global economy and how they can best position themselves and their organisations for what we like to call the African Century”.
Who is Strategic Leadership in Africa for?
“Senior managers and decision-makers”
“One of the most exciting things about SLA is that it is really designed for people who are helping their organisations to thrive in the rapidly-growing (and rapidly-changing!) pan-regional and pan-African market. I think that the ideal participant in this programme is, first and foremost, a person who is thinking about this common set of challenges, rather than a person with a specific CV.
We’ve found that this type of executive education programme is perfect for people who have recently been placed in a position to guide and grow their organisations across borders or in particularly challenging environments. People in these positions have often recently moved from leading a functional area into the senior leadership team and now need to be able to think strategically at very high levels, lead across organisational areas, and develop a deep understanding of the context of doing business in one or more countries on the continent. A programme like this is also excellent for people who are expecting to make such a transition into senior leadership.”
We’re looking for participants who have already had significant professional success and who can bring and share their insights and experience. The dynamic and participant-focused nature of the programme, combined with an accomplished and diverse group of participants, really allows us to leverage the insights of the group itself and makes for a much richer and more practical learning experience than a more traditional lecture format.
One of the best things about any programme is the networks and relationships it helps to create. SLA will bring together a group of some of the most exciting leaders from across the continent, all of whom are looking to expand their networks and meet people facing similar issues across Africa.
As a result, this programme is also perfect for people who have already gotten an MBA elsewhere, or who are now too senior to consider an MBA degree. Rather than delving into the functional, technical skills of an MBA, this programme will focus on the issues of leadership and high-level strategic thinking that become more and more important at the highest rungs of business”.
Please describe the Strategic Leadership in Africa curriculum.
“An integrated, problem-focused curriculum”
“SLA offers an integrated curriculum with four angles: Understanding Strategic Challenges in Africa, Building High-Performing Teams in Diverse Environments, Understanding the Context of Doing Business in Africa and Developing Leadership Skills for a Changing World.
The curriculum is designed to be as practical and relevant as possible, even as we talk about cutting-edge theories and approaches to handling business challenges. One of the ways we’ve done that is by creating a programme in which the elements are integrated, much as they are in the real world, rather than divided into separate “courses.”
Both the INSEAD and ALUSB faculty teaching in the programme are committed to a problem-based approach. In some sessions this will mean exploring real-world cases faced by organisations in Africa; in others it will involve working through the actual challenges that the participants are facing. In every opportunity the programme will provide tools and analytical techniques to help manage both the challenges at hand and the ones participants may face in the future.
Even the logistics of the programme are designed to be as practical as possible while adding value for participants. It combines two in-person modules in Kigali, Rwanda (each approximately 4 days long), with an online “intermodular” period during which participants will work through some of the challenges they are facing in a systematic way. They will also be eligible to take selected online courses (at no additional cost) to review or develop key skills”.
Strategic Leadership in Africa launches in February 2020. Please click here to find out more about this exciting new programme!
MBA student Mutsa Kajese 20′ believes that leadership is a lifestyle that is continuously practised and improved. He is the founder of Ubuntu Lab, a personal growth hub and the author of “30 days of Transformation: A Guide to your Authentic Self”.
We’ve summarised some highlights from Mutsa’s interview below. Scroll down to view his full video interview.
What does leadership mean to you?
…we certainly need more leadership on the continent.
“Leadership is not something that you can learn, per se. It is more than that. It is living to the very core of your being, understanding that it’s not about you. You notice that one core component of leadership is that you always have to serve the other; and empathy is also a very big component of that as well. That is what I think leadership is and we certainly need more of it on the continent”.
On striving for work-life balance.
I have to allow things to flow into each other, as opposed to being very strict.
“I believe in work-life integration…I make sure I have dedicated time. I am a father, I am a husband as well, so I have to allow things to flow into each other, as opposed to being very strict and saying okay, at this time I need to do this, and I need to play with my daughter for thirty minutes and if I go thirty-one minutes, it’s over. Life doesn’t happen like that”.
On 30 Days of Transformation: A guide to your authentic self:
It is a tool kit for you to elevate yourself; to level up so you can start contributing to a better world.
“It’s just a guideline, not necessarily set in stone, but a guideline for you to elevate yourself to the next level of your life. It doesn’t matter whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, whether you are a student, whether you are an undergrad or post-grad, parent, recently married or going through anything – or not going through anything. It is a tool kit for you to elevate yourself; to level up so you can start contributing to a better world”.