Real Humans of Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2022
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Ghana, BSc. Administration (major: Accounting)
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): I spent the first four years of my career in Accra Ghana, working in product and lifecycle management, and commercial performance for a global telecommunication brand, Vodafone. Then, I moved to Vodafone Group Plc in the UK and spent two years as a commercial manager in the Cloud Computing and Security division of our B2B vertical. My last two years were with the Vodafone Procurement Company, working in strategy and operations and leading two major transformation programs across 24 markets.
Why business school? Why now?
Working with really smart and cool business leaders across multiple functions and geography in my previous career got me thinking deeply about (1) The kind of global business leader I want to become; and (2) how the pursuit of sustained business performance, when combined with a strong moral compass, can be a powerful force for good. Fundamentally, I want to understand how large corporations, outside TMT, organise to create value for consumers, businesses, and society at large.
My decision to pursue an MBA was, first and foremost, driven by my desire to pivot into an industry that scales impact at the intersection of government, business, and society. I was also seeking to build my global network, and equip myself to be a supremely effective business leader who inspires other high-performing professionals.
I knew I wanted to go to business school since the age of 15, right after I first met my mentor, who by then was doing amazing things on the African continent. I only delayed in applying to my dream school because of the many tough business challenges my previous employer asked me to solve – no year was ever the same! But now I feel ready to take on the business school challenge and fully immerse myself in the academic experience, despite COVID!
Why HBS? And what factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The HBS community: when I decided to attend business school, I considered Harvard and two other top schools. I reached out to students and alumni on LinkedIn and found the HBS community to be extremely helpful, humble, and passionate about the school. The people and the community mattered a lot to me and by the time I was ready to submit my HBS application, I had already formed a strong network within the HBS community. This is how cool the HBS community is.
Case method: the HBS learning approach forces students to step in the shoes of the protagonist facing complex business challenges. To me, a great leader is one who combines business judgement with a strong moral compass to maximise collective utility. HBS is training me to be that kind of leader and I hope to draw from the diverse perspectives of my accomplished peers and professors over the next two years.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
Having lived and worked in Europe and Africa, I bring a unique cross-cultural and multi-functional perspective to enrich class discussions.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I probably hold the title of the shortest appearance ever on BBC when Queen Elizabeth II visited my school in Ghana in 1999! Typical of any kid, I did not care much about that day, but I was happy my school, albeit momentarily, caught the attention of politicians, the media, and the people of Ghana.
Post-MBA career interests?
Strategy Consulting & Entrepreneurship
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Reach out. Reach out! Reach out to as many students and alumni of your target school as possible. Doing this gave me additional perspective beyond the school’s website, and ultimately, helped me decide on HBS as my best fit.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would have visited the school and possibly experienced the case method (or learning style) beforehand.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The wait between the final interview and the decision. That wait was the most stressful decade I have ever experienced. In order to cope, I stopped replaying the whole interview scenario and accepted the fact that I could not go back in time to change some of my responses.
What is your initial impression of HBS’s students/culture/community?
Every student I have met so far has been very approachable, open-minded, and personable. I have been impressed by the rich experiences, diversity in background and thought, and the great professional and personal accomplishments of my classmates! HBS as an institution has exceeded my expectations considering how much thought the school put into each step of the hybrid model and the amount of resources they have committed to maintaining the health and safety of the campus community!
One thing you have learned about HBS that has surprised you?
I have been surprised by the rigours of the MBA program and the number of hours I spend preparing for class! I wish I had visited campus much earlier to experience the case method first-hand, before starting this journey.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Cold calls. I have not experienced one yet and I hope it remains this way for the next 2 years. Very unlikely though!
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Forming deeper connections for life, with like-minded friends!