5 Common Pitfalls Young Professionals Should Avoid

5 Common Pitfalls Young Professionals Should Avoid

Author: Philip Mbwaya, ALUSB Marketing Coordinator

Embarking on your career for the first time can be quite daunting as a young professional. Throughout your career journey, you will experience pitfalls and bumps along the way.

Last week, we gave you tips on how to stand out as a young professional. This week, we will highlight things you should avoid in the beginning stages of your career!

Here are five pitfalls you should avoid as a young professional:

1. Overconfidence in your academic certificates
Although academic knowledge is a great asset, it should not hinder your appetite to learn!

“Just because you have the right degree for the position, does not give you the entitlement to the role.” – Diana Gombe ‘21, HR Business Partner, Africa Field Division

Employers are on the lookout for curious young professionals with a learning mindset.

2. Getting comfortable with average performance
Most entry-level professionals often push themselves to deliver maximum value in the initial stages of their careers. However, with time, people tend to get comfortable in not exceeding expectations.

“As an employee, going over and above what is expected is what distinguishes you.” Desiree Afor, Head, Total Rewards and Mobility – Mastercard Foundation

Tip: You should always seek to go out of your comfort zone and exceed expectations in your role in order to stand out from the crowd. If possible, seek more duties beyond your role.

3. Poor communication
As a young professional, you might be tempted to stay in the background and not interfere with the usual on-goings of your organisation. But only by clearly expressing your interest in a particular role or project can you come top of mind when the opportunity arises!

“The managers that you work with should know your areas of strength and interest.” – Desiree Afor ’20, Head of Total Rewards and Mobility, Mastercard Foundation

Tip: Building a transparent relationship between yourself and your manager will create room for communication and growth in your career journey.

4. Lack of confidence
Don’t sell yourself short! Undervaluing your ability to perform in a role can translate negatively into your actual performance.

“Employers often identify potential through your actions and not necessarily through your words.” Diana Gombe ‘21, HR Business Partner, Africa Field Division

Tip: The best way to boost your confidence in your abilities is by continuous practise and asking questions when you are unsure of something.

5. Conformity
Functional structures and systems are set up in an organisation for a reason, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot change! When entering a workplace; you have the option of conforming to the set systems and structures of looking for ways to improve them.

“I often look for people who question how things are done and how they can be improved.” – Desiree Afor, Head, Total Rewards and Mobility, Mastercard Foundation

Tip: Always look for ways structures can be improved.

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 and business skills?

Start your application today at: https://bit.ly/MMAPPLY21 and start your career acceleration journey!

MBA vs. MM: 4 Key Differences

MBA vs. MM: 4 Key Differences

Author: Philip Mbwaya, ALUSB Marketing Coordinator

As some of you might know, ALU School of Business (ALUSB) expanded its programme offers with the ALUSB Master of Management (MM)

While both the ALUSB MBA and the ALUSB MM are designed to equip one with the skills and knowledge to thrive professionally, they are fundamentally different. If you want to pursue quality business education at ALUSB, you have to, therefore, consider several factors before choosing a programme.

Read on to learn more about the key differences between the two programmes and what you should consider before applying!

1. Professional experience

The ALUSB MBA programme is designed for established professionals with 5 or more years of work experience. This allows the students to bring their pan-African, real-world experiences into the classroom and apply what they learned directly on the job.

In contrast, professional experience does not play a major role in undertaking the MM programme. The Master of Management (MM) programme aims to create the foundation for recent graduates and young professionals with up to 3 years of post-graduate experience to launch successful careers. 

In summary: the ALUSB MBA programme is suitable for established professionals whereas the ALUSB MM is for young professionals who are just getting started!

2. Career goal

The ALUSB MBA programme is designed to prepare you for that strategic leadership position in your organisation whereas the MM programme is designed to equip you with foundational business and leadership skills to kickstart your career. 

MM graduates often aim for entry to mid-level positions whereas MBA graduates aim for senior-level positions in various organisations.

3. Programme mode of delivery

Post-graduate studies generally are quite rigorous to undertake. At ALU School of Business, we offer a part-time 20-month MBA programme that blends interactive online education with in-class sessions. This blended learning model enables students to build their studies around their work schedules. 

In contrast, the ALUSB MM is a full-time 10-12 month programme that requires you to be present in Kigali for most of the time.

The schedule and mobility of both programmes are therefore an important factor in choosing a suitable option to undertake. 

4. Programme costs

Due to the different target audience, mode of delivery and programme duration, the MBA programme and the MM programme have different tuition costs. The ALUSB programme tuition fee is $30,000 whereas the MM programme costs $13,500.

With these differentiating factors, applicants should have their long term goals in mind when choosing which ALUSB programme to apply for. Both programmes are unique in their own ways but they do have one thing in common: they will give one an upper hand in the ever-dynamic job market!

Interested in catalysing positive change and taking your career to the next level?

Click here to start your ALUSB MBA application

Click here to start you ALUSB MM application


Introducing the ALUSB Master of Management programme

Introducing the ALUSB Master of Management programme

Author: Philip Mbwaya

In its mission to build leaders for the African century, African Leadership University School of Business (ALUSB) is launching a new, exciting degree especially for young professionals and recent graduates as they enter the job market. The programme, entitled Master of Management (MM), has been shaped by top employers to ensure graduates are able to build their business skills, add value to their employer organisations and propel their professional journeys forward. 

We sat down with the Dean of ALUSB, Dr. Emmett P. Tracy, who is also the Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at African Leadership University (ALU). Dr. Tracy shared his excitement and vision for the new MM programme, highlighting that it would expand the ALUSB programme portfolio as well as serve a younger demographic with a top-quality business education.


The Master of Management programme is designed for early-career professionals and recent graduates with up to three years of professional experience – those who are just getting started on their career journey. The programme is ideal for someone who wants to get a headstart in the job market and who sees value in developing the leadership skills, team skills and the entrepreneurial mindset that would allow them to succeed in their career. For employers, there’s an enormous attraction that these individuals will be able to make an impact from day one, through their agile thinking and ability to adapt to different professional environments. 


A while back we identified a demographic that we were not serving. The ALUSB MBA programme is geared towards later stage professionals. The average age of our MBA students is 36 years and the average work experience is 11 years. Year after year of application cycles, we were repeatedly presented with applications from highly qualified candidates who did not fall within the MBA’s minimum five years, post-graduate eligibility criteria. We thought deeply about how to best serve these applicants, about how to include them as part of our community and offer them a top business education. 

While we are still very committed to our MBA programme demographic, in surveying employers and understanding their needs, particularly in regards to entry-level and junior management talent, we realised that the MM degree could provide a lot of value to the market, while broadening our programme portfolio. 


Our MBA programme is unique from other top MBA programmes by combining three important elements: (1) a Pan-African student community, (2) an Africa-focused curriculum, and (3) a part-time, blended format (combining in-person and online learning). The format is an important aspect for our MBA students because it recognises that our MBAs are experienced professionals at an advanced stage in their careers, who are juggling a variety of responsibilities like work and family. 

In comparison, the Master of Management programme is targeted at younger, early career professionals, who will start the programme much younger and move faster through the academic experience. The programme begins with a very intense immersion in business foundations and can be completed in less than one year. This helps our MM students accelerate their career while introducing them to core aspects of an ALUSB, Africa-focused education. 


Developing business leaders is about developing leaders at all stages of the workforce. The MBA programme is designed for managers and senior leaders in organisations, while the MM programme is designed for a younger demographic.

What we are excited about is creating an ecosystem where an MBA student can hire an MM graduate. As a pan-African institution, we expect that our graduates will go out and work in companies that span the continent. Part of the MM learning experience includes gaining exposure to a wide range of sectors and economies across the globe, through faculty and classmates. This exposure will allow our graduates to better access opportunities from Cairo to Capetown, Dakar to Dar es Salaam.

“Developing business leaders is about developing leaders at all stages of the workforce.”


The undergraduate experience is a very holistic process, it helps you to start thinking about your future career and developing foundational skills needed to succeed professionally. On the other hand, the Master of Management is a very focused programme for those who are interested in pursuing certain types of careers – for example, marketing, finance or consulting. 

The MM programme gives you extra time to hone the specialised skills required for success in your career, as well as a professional ecosystem that offers networking and mentorship for you to thrive as a young professional. An MM graduate leaves knowing what they want to focus on and how exactly they will make an impact in an organisation.


The Master of Management programme is quite popular, especially in Europe and the United States as well as within Africa. Compared to other programmes, the ALUSB MM programme has a distinct focus on Africa, which is also a core pillar of our MBA programme. The pan-African approach is integrated into the curriculum, equipping you with the knowledge to understand the African business landscape. The MM curriculum also takes into consideration employer priorities for entry-level and junior managers in organisations across the continent.

Beyond that, we have a passion to deliver impactful leadership education. Everything that we do within the African Leadership Group has a strong focus on developing leaders, through developing self and leading others.

The focus on Africa is core to what we deliver because we see it as an incredible opportunity to help rising leaders solve the challenges that are within Africa.  We see it embodied in the kind of students that graduate from ALU, from the tremendous impact that they make in the communities and organisations they get involved in. 


The application for admission to the Master of Management Class of 2021 is officially open! You can start your application today at: https://bit.ly/MMAPPLY21. We look forward to welcoming our very first Master of Management students into the ALUSB ecosystem in April 2021. 

To find out more about the ALUSB Master of Management admission requirements, programme structure, tuition fees and financing, please click the following link: https://www.alusb.com/mm/


How an MBA can benefit Law Professionals

How an MBA can benefit Law Professionals

Driven by a passion for helping people and knack for debating, Taona Wayne Nyamakura ‘21 pursued a budding career in law in Zimbabwe. He currently works at The Chambers – Advocates of Zimbabwe as an Advocate of the High Court and Supreme Court of Zimbabwe. We caught up with Taona, nearly halfway through his ALUSB MBA programme, to find out more about his decision to pursue an MBA degree as a law professional and how the programme impacted his career up to this point. 


Postponed: ALUSB MBA March graduation

Postponed: ALUSB MBA March graduation


Following the growing number of Covid-19 cases on the continent and in other countries of origin for ALUSB faculty and students, the resulting travel embargoes, as well as the World Health Organisation upgrading the global risk to high alert, ALUSB has taken the decision to postpone the March graduation.  

ALUSB views this decision as a difficult, but necessary, step to ensure the health and well-being of a community of professional leaders, corporate executives and academic experts who are responsible for businesses across Africa and the world.

The graduation ceremony will be postponed to Saturday, 7 November. The momentous occasion will take place at 10:00 am at the Kigali Convention Centre, Rwanda. 

We’re looking forward to celebrating this milestone for the class of 2020 ‘Umoja’ later in the year! Stay tuned for more updates.

Introducing the March 2020 ALUSB MBA Chairman’s Scholars!

Introducing the March 2020 ALUSB MBA Chairman’s Scholars!

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

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


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 MSMEs harnessing 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.