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”.
Watch Mutsa’s full interview below:
As the Stills Portfolio Lead and Head of Marketing for Kenya and Tanzania Country Operations at Coca-Cola, Nelly Wainaina ’20 is no stranger to leadership. Still, her time as an MBA student at ALU School of Business revealed some leadership aspects that she had yet uncovered. Watch the video below to learn more about other discoveries she made at ALUSB and her advice to young, African businesswomen.
On the V^3 Leadership Model
(…) It’s a programme that sort of unpacks you, like almost disintegrates the type of person you are; your leadership skills, your qualities and then puts you back together. And I find that absolutely brilliant because the journey of leadership does not stop. Many of us joined the programme when we thought: ‘I’m at the apex of my career, I’ve got lots of experiences, I’ve got a lot to teach,…’ But to be honest, there’s been a lot of unlearning and you have to do, you have to be receptive to the learning process so that you can learn and then transform. And I tell you, it’s been absolutely amazing.
To young businesswomen on the continent
Yes, women are different from male leaders but if you go into business with the notion of ‘I’m a different person than the other one’, then you already shortchange yourself. And I would advise women to play the game just like anybody else would, to believe in themselves. And once you believe in yourself, you become more confident and then opportunities start opening themselves up just like the rest of your male counterparts. So I don’t think there’s a difference in terms of skills for both men and women. It’s just if you present yourself as a ready person for the opportunity, you’ll absolutely be successful. So just believe in yourself and be confident in your choices.
Watch Nelly’s full interview below:
The ALU School of Business (ALUSB) is delighted to announce a partnership with The Africa List – a platform that brings together high performing business leaders in some of Africa’s most dynamic markets.
This partnership brings together two pan-African organisations, committed to supporting the development of business leaders and entrepreneurs to help drive the continent forward.
Throughout 2019, ALUSB will provide learning and development workshops in the countries The Africa List works in – Ethiopia, DRC, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia – and a four-day leadership retreat for a select group of The Africa List members at the end of the year. We’re very excited to start working with The Africa List’s members and to share our innovative teaching methods, including our signature African case studies.
The Africa List network is made up of business leaders drawn from the most influential companies operating in each country. The firms included vary in size; from growing start-ups to established family firms and multinationals.
The Africa List chose to work with ALUSB because of the opportunity to work with a like-minded organisation that has a strong record of developing some of the most exciting business people on the continent. “We are delighted to be working with ALUSB,” said Julie Benoist, Interim Head of Network for The Africa List. “Their focus on tailoring learning to the specific context and challenges our members face will help them take their careers even further, and help them build lasting businesses that can drive the continent forward.”
Our first workshop with The Africa List will take place on Tuesday 18 June in Lusaka, Zambia.
We live in a high-paced environment where emerging leaders are often expected to come with strong leadership, ownership and accountability behaviours – all on top of sharp technical skills. I don’t know about you, but unless you’re one of the few born leaders, leadership is something that needs to be developed and nurtured on a consistent basis.
Regardless of your career level or industry, executive coaching can be an amazing tool to make your development process as an emerging leader more thoughtful, intentional and smooth. Why figure it all out on your own, when you can have the assistance of an outside expert?
We reached out to ALUSB Alumna, Akua Nyame-Mensah, who is a strategic advisor and professional coach, to explore what executive coaching entails and its benefits for your personal and professional life.
Before immersing herself fully into coaching, Akua worked for Africa’s first tech unicorn, Jumia, where she helped build the real estate platform, Jumia House in Ghana and went on to lead Jumia House Nigeria. It was during her time at Jumia that Akua took her first step towards becoming a coach by getting her professional coaching certificate at TeamBuilding Africa (TBA) Consults. “For me, a coach is not necessarily an expert. The client is always meant to decide what we focus on and what’s important. My job is to help facilitate them, help guide them, help identify potential challenges, pitfalls and distorted thinking. I believe that people are already quite good by themselves and it’s my job, as the coach, to take them from functional to optimal.”
Here are some of the main benefits of executive coaching through the lens of Akua:
1. An improved sense of self-awareness
Self-awareness is where growth begins. It is the first step towards breaking away from your comfort zone and seeing things differently. A coach can be a catalyst for this development by helping new leaders see themselves from an outsider’s perspective. “Coaching involves a lot of self-study and self-reflection for the client. We all have an idea of who we are, how other people perceive us and then there’s that bit of you that’s always going to be hidden. Through coaching, you can get a better idea of who you are and how you present yourself to others. That knowledge can help you influence people better, leverage your strengths and identify key people that will help you improve your areas of growth. A greater sense of self-awareness can also lead to better time management because you have a better understanding of what’s important to you.”
2. A better understanding of your strengths and growth areas
Some skills may be fine as mid-level employees but as you enter into senior leadership roles, new expertise is needed. Coaching can help you identify those growth areas and help you develop them further. ”Through coaching and self-coaching myself, I learned more effective ways to have conversations about things I don’t necessarily agree with. I was always confident enough to say “no, I don’t agree with you”. But now I am able to approach it in a more productive way, like: “we have different ways of looking at this, I can see it from your point of view, this is mine…”. Just being a bit more diplomatic in my approach has had a huge impact on my professional life.”
Inversely, you might already have some leadership skills that you’re not even aware of. In that case, people like Akua can be the mirror that you need to recognise the uniqueness and value of the capabilities that you already have. “As a coach, my interest really lies in providing or helping to facilitate a conversation where people get fresh ideas, fresh perspectives and see things from a different point of view. My goal is then to help them move forward and leverage their resources, all while keeping them accountable. Every coaching session is a little bit different. If people feel a shift, have thought through a behaviour change or get a new idea for business development, that’s a successful conversation.”
3. Better leadership skills
As a leader, your responsibilities go beyond your own performance; you’re also managing a team that looks to you to make the big decisions. Executive coaching can help emerging leaders drive innovation and autonomy within their teams. “I have always been really interested in leadership and I have always been involved in leadership to some extent, both in sports and in my career. A lot of my initial interest in coaching came from wanting to be a better leader for those below me and a better colleague and support to those above me. What I quickly realised from my time at Jumia was; just because I had an extremely Ghanaian name or even had the opportunity to live in several African countries, didn’t mean that I would be able to be an effective leader in Ghana or be able to effectively influence people towards a goal. Not everyone is going to listen to what you have to say. You have to think of different ways to motivate people. You have to become comfortable with trying different things, you have to become comfortable with failing a little bit more openly.”
Are you ready to question your assumptions about yourself, discover your strengths and growth areas and become a better leader? ALUSB is offering one 60-minute executive coaching session with our very own Akua Nyame-Mensah ’19, People & Business Strategist and professional certified coach!
To qualify for these offers, you must:
- Submit your complete application by end of day 24 June 2019.
- Gain full admission to and confirm your seat in the ALUSB October 2019 MBA programme, in order to be connected to your executive coach.
- Conduct your coaching session(s) before 27 October 2019.
Don’t hesitate and submit your application at bit.ly/APPLYALUSB
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.