The FINANCIAL — A team of MBA students from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, will be visiting Rwanda and Kenya on business treks in April 2015. The team will be exploring the vibrant and entrepreneurial business environment of Kigali and Nairobi to gain insight into the culture and the opportunities of the region.
The students will be meeting some of East Africa’s most influential and inspiring entrepreneurs, companies, start-up accelerators, and impact investors to learn about the challenges and opportunities of operating in this region; such as African Entrepreneur Collective, M-KOPA, Living Goods and Acumen Fund. The group hopes the meetings will also be beneficial for the organisations, with students contributing innovative and strategic ideas based on their experience and learning from the Oxford MBA, according to Saïd Business School.
‘I am excited to experience the entrepreneurial ecosystem that is thriving in Nairobi and Kigali. East Africa is one of the most exciting parts of the world right now with rapid growth and disruptive innovations powering social and economic change,’ says Babatunde Ayoola, an MBA student organising the treks. ‘It will be really interesting to share this experience with my MBA classmates as we will be able to see how the theories we have been learning in Oxford are put in to practice in this environment.’
With participants from Africa, Europe, North America, South East Asia, and India, the trek is an opportunity for MBA students with an interest in Africa to access professional and personal resources and connect with Oxford alumni based in the region.
‘We have a diverse group of trekkers in terms of nationalities and professional backgrounds, so we will all bring different perspectives to our meetings. Most of us have also never visited East Africa before; this mix of expectations, viewpoints, and experiences is something that is completely unique to this trek,’ says Ayoola, who also co-chairs the Oxford Business Network for Africa.
Over 7% of MBA students from last year’s class are now pursuing careers in Africa. Alumni in the region have been instrumental in organising the trek and there will be an MBA event held on Monday 20th April in Nairobi for alumni and prospective students.
Saïd Business School is engaged with Africa in numerous ways, and offers a range of initiatives that allow MBAs to understand and become involved with business in Africa, such as an annual Oxford Africa Conference and an elective focused on ‘Doing Business in Africa’.
This year’s Oxford Africa Conference, which is student-led, aims to explore the current stage of integration and cross-border collaboration across Africa to understand how it is affecting culture, society, business, and the economy. The theme of this year’s conference, ‘A Continent on the Move: People, Politics and Business across Borders’, investigates new thinking and perspectives about Africa across all disciplines, including politics, business, arts, technology and academia. The conference takes place on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd May 2015 with speakers such as H.E John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, and Ashish Thakkar, CEO of Mara Group. Past speakers include H.E Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and Kennedy Bungane, CEO of Barclays Africa.