Raymond Agbanu decided to pursue an MBA at Maastricht School of Management (MSM) with 15 years of experience in banking and the desire to change careers and develop his entrepreneurial skillset.
After a guest lecture from Erik Joosten, founder and CEO of healthcare solutions firm Arion, Raymond’s passionate pitch for a subsidiary in Ghana resulted in a new mentor and a new job leading the charge for an African expansion.
“I chose MSM because the Netherlands is known for its entrepreneurial activities. l was looking for a career change, and there is no more suitable place than MSM,” says Raymond.
“I realized that with the new dimension of entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa, it would be good to develop these skills. l can now put my previous experiences together with the MBA knowledge and introduce innovation to the Ghanaian Health Sector.”
With a strong focus on the societal context of business and corporate social responsibility, MSM invites many high-profile guest speakers like Erik Joosten, whose company motto SMILE (Socially Responsible; Market Driven; Innovative; Leading; Energetic) aligns with the school’s philosophy.
Erik spoke to MSM MBA students about his own entrepreneurial experience and Swash – a new product range of pre-moisturized wipes and gloves that can be used to wash immobile patients without the need of water.
“Raymond approached me afterwards. He asked me about possibilities to sell Swash in his home country Ghana, as he identified immediately the benefits of our product,” recalls Erik.
“When he explained that Ghanaians sometimes had to bring their own bucket of water to wash a relative in a hospital, we saw immediately how big the help of Swash could be.
“Without Raymond, Ghana would be somewhere in our long-term plans. But he convinced us with a sound business plan.”
Photo: Erik Joosten (left) in Ghana to further explore the collaboration with Raymond Agbanu (right), joined by a representative of the Ghanaian Government.
From there, their journey began with Raymond taken under Erik’s wing and completing his training and mentoring during his final semester at MSM.
“We both thought it was wise to let me have the real practical aspect of the entrepreneurship at the company. He gave me three months’ mentorship where we went through all things that an entrepreneur has to do in satisfying the market,” Raymond explains. “After my experience at MSM, I’d like to become a full fledge entrepreneur and create change and innovation in healthcare delivery.”
On MSM’s mentorship program, students gain new career opportunities and make an impact. After graduation, Raymond started working for Erik and is currently back in Accra, Ghana, as Arion’s sales manager.
“Our highly-interactive classes help develop our degree students to become effective communicators and agents of change,” says Wynand Bodewes, associate professor of entrepreneurship at MSM.
“Positivity is contagious. Students at MSM realize this when they meet ambitious entrepreneurs who talk passionately about their endeavors. At the same time, our students challenge them to explore market opportunities that they wouldn’t have thought existed.”