The Curious pan-African: Reflections of an MBA Student | Part 3

Author: Tinashe Nondo ’22

The rest of the world’s standards are too low for us, we can’t do according to best practice but new practice.”- Dr Fred Swaniker

During intensive 3, I was introduced to contemporary frameworks, had the privilege of gaining new allies whilst adding novel skills to my leadership toolbox. This intensive was also a culmination of the hard work we put into one of our courses, Strategy in Africa. During term 2, we met Moji and Dayo Dunmoye, founders of Juvenis Spa, an airport Spa currently located in Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. In our Pan-African Groups, we formulated new strategies that our live case clients will be able to implement to improve revenues, further control the value chain and increase market share within the beauty and wellness industry in Africa.

No one should dictate how you run your own community, Africa knows how to work, how can we upscale what we are already doing without becoming overly dependent on foreign aid?” – Dr Deqo Mohammed

Dr Deqo Mohammed did a fantastic job of closing off the virtue module in Leadership Lab and consequently introduced value, the second tenant of the V^3 leadership model espoused by African Leadership University. She facilitated a real-life case study in which she was faced with an ethical dilemma: pay warlords with donor proceeds to start and maintain a sustainable fishing village that would feed hundreds of community members or forgo the project altogether?

As students, we deliberated on possible solutions she might have considered, we were fixated on how she should have held onto the fishing project and were impressed by her fearless resolve to not cave in to the expectations of the elders in her community or the pressure imposed on her by the warlords. When asked how she balances coming up with sustainable solutions, empowering her community and contending with a hostile environment, she emphasised the importance of not losing one’s moral compass and reflected on how humanitarian aid has created dependent communities in Africa. It is clear that she is a firm believer in creating long-term, viable solutions that will empower and add value to her community without misaligning her high core values: courage, character and integrity.

Pitching a solution to a client within 48 hours is no small feat but at ALUSB, we do hard things. This was our warm welcome to BUILD Lab, a design thinking framework in which the consultant must first BELIEVE in the client’s organisation or product before UNDERSTANDING his/her needs and organisational problems. Once understood, the consultant then INNOVATES and creates plausible solutions to address the challenges after which he/she LISTENS to the client for constructive feedback before DELIVERING a final pitch. As MBAs, we wore our consultant caps and had the privilege of working in groups to pitch solutions to AkiGarment; Alaturca; Exigent; The Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre (JHGC); Space for Giants; Yako LTD and ZoraBots.

The experience showed me the value of showing up for my team and adjusting to new dynamics as I had the privilege of working with colleagues I hadn’t worked with to date. After engaging with our client, Benjamin Karenzi, C.E.O of ZoraBots Africa, we took note of his passion for Africa not to be left behind in the 4th industrial revolution. Presently he has been working tirelessly to introduce Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at a co-curricular level in primary and secondary schools. As a group, we were able to draft a concept note which was accompanied by a pitch deck. Both of which were well received.

Some risks will be successful and others will be flat out failures, but you won’t die. Always make a bet on yourself!”- Aishetu Dozie

The fireside chat with Aishetu Fatima Dozie, CEO and founder of Bossy Cosmetics, Inc was sensational! Aiesha candidly spoke about the importance of self-care and setting healthy boundaries. An advocate for learning, unlearning and relearning, she has mastered the art of failing forward and being unapologetic about what she would like to achieve and the resources required to meet personal goals. Her life is a testament to the fact that no experience is a wasted one, today she is still able to apply the lessons she learnt within corporate environments. Prior to founding Bossy Cosmetics in 2019, in a bid to advance and empower women in business, Aishetu had led a successful 20-year career in the finance sector, working for big-name companies such as Goldman and Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers.

If we are to succeed as leaders within both the private and public sector, we need to innovate, renovate and re-imagine. We can no longer be held captive to old ways of thinking.”- Dr Fred Swaniker

Dr Fred Swaniker’s passion for the continent is palpable. In a session with the founder of the African Leadership Group, he reflected on his entrepreneurial journey. He admitted that although innovation is messy, it is possible through collaboration and persistence. I left the conversation all the more grateful for the networks I have already formed and the opportunities I am being given to frame my ideas. One of our new subjects, Entrepreneurship and Innovation couldn’t have started at a better time.

Though our collective academic journey has been pivotal, I love the emphasis that ALUSB makes on enabling students to craft personal mission statements as opposed to solely focussing on majors. The MBA itself is challenging and in the same breath practical, it forces one to introspect and at the same time develop as a well-rounded leader. We are here for the long term development of Africa and are being empowered to become the leaders our continent deserves. We are the ones we have been waiting for. #JoinTheTribe!

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