Being part of a pioneer team
Right after graduating as an engineer in Nigeria, I joined a start-up team with six others to build what today has become the largest indigenous electronic payment and switching company in Africa. After seven years, in spite of the seeming success of my career and job satisfaction, there was a nagging need to extend the scope of what I considered a geographically and industry limited experience. I had a deep desire to understand business strategy from an international perspective with a view to applying that knowledge in Africa.
Cambridge was the perfect fit
I chose the Cambridge MBA programme for its long-lived reputation and multicultural focus. Without controversy, the Cambridge brand is likely the most recognised brand in education. I was looking for a business education with a practical and collaborative approach as well as a high quality credential which I could leverage in my desire to contribute to building Sub-Saharan Africa. The Cambridge MBA was just that ... and more.
A few highlights
A major highlight of my MBA experience was being a part of the winning team of the 2011 Hult Global Case Challenge. We emerged the winners out of over 1,000 schools including other top business schools. We were sponsored to the finals in New York where we met President Bill Clinton in person. This team win clearly emphasised the wealth in the ethnic and industry experience diversity existing in my classmates and on a more personal level, aided my appreciation of diverse ethnic, political and religious perspectives.
The opportunity to work with global companies on live projects is a rare and unique feature of the Cambridge MBA. One of our project clients was a leading investment company in the Middle East and North Africa. We worked with the client to define a market entry strategy into Sub-Saharan Africa. That gave me the exposure to international business strategy that I was yearning for. This new experience in business strategy was further deepened by the rich course offered on the MBA programme by a renowned authority in Strategy as well as the International Business concentration.
Finally, the MBA provided me the opportunity of an internship with MasterCard Advisors. During my internship, I was able to apply the knowledge gained in class with my career experience in payments and work on major strategy analysis projects for some global banks.
Beyond the academic wealth of the programme, the Cambridge MBA offered so much more. I had the privileged opportunity to learn from the personal experiences of some world leaders in the political and business sphere during the Cambridge Leadership Series. Having such discussions over dinner is a rare opportunity that you only get at Cambridge.
Reaching my goal
The Cambridge MBA has helped me become a more rounded and internationally vested individual, providing me with the tools required to lead in my field. The practical experience gained from the live projects and interactions with classmates daily has been invaluable in my current role. Today, I am back to my previous employer in Nigeria and currently working on business expansion project into other regions in Africa.
The Cambridge experience is second to none and was indeed a year that will last a lifetime. I am currently working with a group that is seeking to increase the number of African professional that have access to world-class business training because we believe that will go a long way in enriching the business, political and well as entrepreneurial landscape of Africa.
— Oremeyi Akah, InterSwitch
Cambridge MBA alumna