Raoul Ndayambaje ‘20 welcomed us to experience his life as the Head of Transaction Services Group (TSG) at Ecobank, Rwanda and ALUSB MBA student. Raoul’s burgeoning career in banking is both inspiring and fascinating as he grew from an early leadership role of data analyst team lead to a transactional products and services expert within seven years.
This week – 2018’s thirty-eighth, September’s third, and MBA Class of 2020’s tenth – is one of the typical non-travel weeks for Raoul. His Monday started as early as 5 a.m, an early bird habit he has cultivated to enable him to catch up on his coursework before heading out to the office at 8 a.m. His office is a shared executive office space on the second floor of the high-rise, primely located Ecobank headquarters in Kigali’s Central Business District.
Attending the regular Monday-morning executive committee meeting sets the tone for Raoul’s week. This week, his priorities include ensuring the bank’s corporate and commercial clients tax compliance for the month of September, preparing a Product Policy for collateralized facilities, managing clients’ business requests and reviewing Point Of Sale and E-commerce products performance. All of these responsibilities are interspersed with a healthy dose of meetings.
Raoul strives to be home by 7 p.m daily in order to face his studies, thus balancing up his early morning/ late night time allocations to school work. The requisite multinational and often cross-continental team engagement for his coursework tends to seep into some of his office hours. He highlights this diffusion of work and study as one of the compromises one has to make for effective team collaboration.
“I need to make sure that when my classmates are available, I sacrifice a bit of my time. A blended learning programme like ours demands setting-up a system of engagement. Down the line, we will have more fixed time slots and at that point, discipline becomes extremely paramount.”
[On roadblocks] Raoul mentions that working in a customer facing industry such as banking comes with the loss of full sovereignty over one’s calendar. He mentions that before his ALUSB MBA programme, he used to be a “one-stop lead,” however with the weight of school responsibilities, he has learnt to instill in his colleagues, the spirit of taking initiative over ongoing aspects of their departmental role.
“[Motivation] is in check as long as I keep remembering my whys,” says Raoul. Two months into the MBA programme, Raoul acknowledges that he is still in transition and adjusting his personal and professional times for his MBA programme. According to him, “the ride has not been easy but it has been smooth.”
[Work-life balance] is anything but a pendulum scale to Raoul. His work and life are embedded such that work is at the core of his life. In his words, “I can’t feel my life balanced if I am not delivering.” In light of this, Raoul doesn’t grapple with the culture of calculated time allotment towards personal and professional interests. What’s important to him is always finding the time to exercise and have a bit of spiritual meditation.
“[A perfect week] is one where I meet my weekly budget, submit my assignments on time and spend at least two hour-long sessions at the gym.”
To conclude, Raoul heartily chips in his appreciation of the humour-coated team encouragement and upliftment in his ALUSB MBA programme. Therefore, he says to ALUSB aspirants weighing the ramifications of the blended learning programme, “when your team mates from South Africa, Nigeria or Kenya crack a joke, you get to hear different types of jokes that will definitely make your life easier.”