The real value lies in the journey

6 minute read

Tell us a little about your career background

I have worked with over 100 impact-focused businesses across diverse sectors throughout my decade-long career. These include agro-processing, climate-innovative solutions, water and sanitation, education, and health transportation, where I contributed in various capacities to drive their growth and impact.

I began my career as a founding team member of Growth Mosaic, a B-Corp-certified social purpose consultancy based in Ghana. In this role, I was pivotal in preparing impact-focused businesses for access to impact investment, eventually serving as the Director of Acceleration. I oversaw the acceleration process, ensuring businesses were investment-ready, and led the delivery of other consulting engagements. 

Transitioning from Growth Mosaic, I assumed the Head of Investment Readiness and Enterprise Support position at Mirepa Capital, a development consultancy and impact investing firm focusing primarily on driving economic impact in West Africa through sustainable enterprise development. In this role, I led the provision of investment readiness and enterprise support, including post-investment technical assistance aimed at business growth and leading a project to increase the capacity of women-led enterprises.

My last full-time role before the MBA was as the Programs Partner for Ghana at the Mastercard Foundation. Reporting to the Country Head, my responsibilities included contributing to designing and managing the Foundation's initiatives in Ghana.

I am now a Program Manager at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, an impact-focused strategic advisory firm. I am part of a global team dedicated to driving best practices and program management for a client's enterprise development program spanning 20 countries, which aims to bolster local economies through entrepreneurship and job creation.

I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Ashesi University in Ghana and am a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Why was an Oxford MBA important to help you understand a global view of business where markets, trade and work are transforming at a rapid rate?

Before the Oxford MBA, I had primarily worked in Ghana. However, as I witnessed the rapid transformations in global markets, trade, and work dynamics, I was keen on gaining a broader perspective.

The decision to pursue an Oxford MBA stemmed from a desire to understand global businesses' intricate workings. I sought a program renowned for its ability to offer not just theoretical knowledge but also practical experiences and exposure to diverse perspectives. With its globally diverse class, professors leading research into new ways of thinking and rich academic environment, the Oxford MBA stood out as the perfect platform to fulfil this aspiration.

Throughout my time at Oxford, I engaged with a diverse cohort, each contributing unique insights shaped by their diverse backgrounds and experiences. This interaction broadened my understanding of global business dynamics and fostered invaluable cross-cultural learning experiences. My curiosity led me to courses such as Global Strategy, Business Strategy and Politics, Innovation Strategy, Building Major Programmes for the Future, and Energy Markets & Climate Change, which lent great insights into past global business trends, the future of business and how to create sustainable business value amidst increasing uncertainties and changing dynamics. 

Moreover, the Oxford MBA allowed me to engage with the broader Oxford University community through programs like the Weidenfeld Hoffmann Scholarship and Leadership program, the Oxford Character Project’s Global Leadership Initiative and the Skoll Centre Impact Leadership Program. These experiences further reinforced my conviction in the necessity of a global perspective and equipped me with tools to navigate the complexities of the international business landscape.

I chose the Oxford MBA to equip me to navigate the evolving global marketplace confidently and competently. It has given me the holistic understanding and practical skills necessary to drive worldwide, impactful change.

Turning to your personal career journey, did you know where you wanted to head in your career before your MBA?

I entered the Oxford MBA program with a keen interest in continuing an impact-focused career path. However, I approached the experience with an open mind, recognising the opportunity to explore new possibilities and refine my career direction.

During my time at Oxford, I actively engaged in various activities to deepen my understanding of potential career paths and clarify my goals. These activities included attending alum panels and company information sessions across different industries, where I gained insights into their missions, cultures, and opportunities. Additionally, I leveraged the diverse expertise of my classmates, engaging in discussions and seeking advice from those with backgrounds relevant to my interests.

Beyond these efforts, I applied only for roles that genuinely excited me. This approach allowed me to tailor each application thoughtfully and provided opportunities to connect with professionals in those organisations through informational interviews. I could identify emerging patterns and preferences over time by maintaining an Excel tracker of the roles I applied to and the insights gained from these conversations.

Reflecting on this process, I learned valuable lessons about myself, my interests, and my values. I discovered a passion for roles that combine business acumen with a meaningful societal impact, reaffirming my commitment to the impact space. Moreover, I gained insights into my strengths, such as strategic thinking and relationship-building, which I continue to leverage in my career journey.

How did the resources and opportunities of an Oxford Saïd education and career development assist you?

The resources and opportunities provided by Oxford Saïd's education and career development played a pivotal role in guiding my career transition and fostering personal growth. Even before the program commenced, I engaged with career coaching services, speaking with Dan Kiernan. This early interaction emphasised the importance of networking with professionals in my field of interest. This approach laid the groundwork for ongoing professional connections while at Oxford Saïd.

Once enrolled, the support from several career coaches, especially Dan Kiernan, John Madgwick, and James Nugent proved invaluable. Their encouragement and candid feedback during mock interviews and application advice sessions bolstered my confidence and refined my job search strategy. Moreover, they facilitated introductions to industry advisors within the career centre, who provided tailored guidance and facilitated connections with Oxford Saïd alumni in organisations aligned with my career aspirations.

Beyond career guidance, the elective courses offered at Oxford Saïd played a pivotal role in shaping my professional trajectory. These courses fostered curiosity and provided a platform to explore diverse topics, helping me identify and validate my areas of interest. Moreover, they honed my analytical skills, enabling me to assess complex issues through relevant frameworks and concepts. This critical thinking ability enhanced my academic experience and proved invaluable during interviews and professional interactions, where I could articulate insights with clarity and depth. 

Now you have taken your next career step, what recommendation would you give to incoming students embarking on their MBA programme?

For incoming students, aside from the things I mentioned that worked for me, I recommend the following:

Develop a rough plan

A rough plan is essential as you dive into the MBA program. With the intensity of the program and the numerous opportunities available, engaging in everything is unrealistic. Instead, prioritise the activities and experiences that align with your goals and interests. Immersing yourself in these chosen pursuits can lead to a more fulfilling experience.

Be kind to yourself

The job search process during and after the MBA can be challenging and unpredictable. Certain factors, like organisational changes and market dynamics, are beyond your control. Therefore, it is crucial to be kind to yourself throughout this journey. Building resilience and tenacity early on will help you navigate setbacks and maintain a positive mindset. Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint.

Embrace the journey

While the end goal of securing a job post-MBA may be foremost in your mind, remember that the real value lies in the journey. Take time to savour every moment of the MBA experience, from classroom discussions to socials with classmates and friends to networking events and extracurricular activities. Each interaction and opportunity has the potential to shape your personal and professional growth.

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