Spain’s ESADE Plans to Expand Focus on Africa
ESADE Business School in Spain plans to expand its focus on Africa, both as a place to do business and as a place from which to attract more prospective business school students. As part of this effort, the Barcelona school hosted a panel discussion earlier this week to inspire current students to consider work in Africa, the Financial Times reported.
“The number one goal of this event was to open students’ minds to the opportunities in Africa,” Katie Carr, who is ESADE’s regional director for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India, told the FT. Carr was appointed to the role six months ago and immediately decided to analyze the school’s connections to each of the regional areas she oversees. Among her discoveries: more prospective applicants took the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) in Nigeria than in Spain, and yet students from the entire continent make up only 2 to 3 percent of ESADE’s incoming classes.
More of Carr’s analysis uncovered the fact that very few ESADE students consider the African continent as a possible region for future job opportunities, according to the FT. And so the idea for Monday’s panel event was born. The event consisted of five panelists sharing experiences about their work in Africa and the opportunities they see there for graduating business school students.
One of the panelists, Shaun Gause, decided to form a trade development and consulting firm in Sierra Leone after completing the Georgetown-ESADE Global EMBA two years ago. Gause had previously been involved in charitable healthcare activities targeting Africa, but they left him feeling frustrated.
“My previous work in Africa involved me chasing after money and equipment. While it made an impact, it only lasted as long as the money was there. Then you had to go and get more money,” he told the FT.
Now, as chief executive and co-founder of Global Group Inc (GGI), Gause invests the money of wealthy individuals in projects chosen by GGI on a not-for-profit basis. With their principal protected, investors can choose to share in any profit a project makes, but profit is not their main aim, the FT reports.
Gause acknowledges that there is a lack of appetite, particularly coming from the west, for Africa as a business destination, but he underscores the rewards he thinks can be found there. “You can go there and learn not just how to survive, but how to thrive,” he told the FT.
“They say necessity is the mother of invention… If you take the lessons you learned in Africa and apply them in the US and Europe you might find you learned more than you expected,” he adds.