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6 Famous African Leaders With MBAs

From a McKinsey partner to the president of Zambia, here are six famous and influential African leaders with MBAs

Fri Mar 4 2022

BusinessBecause
Population growth on the African continent has exploded recently, with Statista data predicting the total population to nearly double between 2020 and 2050. 

Business is also growing, and Big Three consulting firm McKinsey has called Africa 'one of the 21st century's great growth opportunities'. 

Africa is a breeding ground for some of the world's most inspirational business leaders, several of whom have sought to acquire an MBA to enhance their career opportunities, receive increased compensation, and land job promotions. 

Here are six African business leaders with MBAs:


1. Benjamin Fernandes, Stanford MBA


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©Daudi.mwakansope, used under this license


Founder and CEO of NALA

Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), MBA class of 2017 

Benjamin was the first Tanzanian to attend Stanford Graduate School of Business as an Africa MBA Fellow — a fellowship that pays full tuition and associated fees (typically around $140,000-170,000) for citizens of African countries with financial need. He’s also the youngest African to ever be accepted into the school, at the age of 23. 

Benjamin made a name for himself as an award-winning national television presenter prior to working for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the US, as part of both the Digital and Financial Services teams. 

Stanford GSB is known for its close links to the venture capital, finance, and technology firms of nearby Silicon Valley, which Benjamin used to network for his future ventures.

After completing his MBA, he founded NALA, a Tanzanian digital financial services platform that enables people to access their financial accounts through one single application, while allowing them to also make mobile payments offline. NALA is constantly expanding and now operates in Uganda and Tanzania.

Benjamin also supports and is committed to women empowerment and advocacy; he supports the Her Initiative — an organization dedicated to supporting women's advocacy in Tanzania.


2. Hakainde Hichilema, University of Birmingham MBA 


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Office of the Vice President of the United States


President of Zambia

University of Birmingham, UK, MBA Class of 1988

Hakainde Hichilema has an MBA degree in Finance and Business Strategy from the University of Birmingham, UK. 

He’s a self-made millionaire businessman, farmer, and politician most famous for being the leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND). He was the major opponent of Edgar Lungu, the president of Zambia from 2015 to 2021, and after winning the most recent election is currently serving as the seventh president of Zambia.


3. Serge Ekue, HEC Paris EMBA 


President of the West African Development Bank (BOAD)

HEC Paris, EMBA Class of 2011

Serge Ekue is a graduate of Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Bordeaux and holds a post-graduate degree in Banking and Finance from Paris V University, as well as an Executive MBA from HEC Paris. 

Serge has over 20 years of experience in international finance, structured finance, and markets. He managed Natixis’ Global Market — a French multinational financial services firm — for the Asia-Pacific region for nearly six years (2010-2016). He then became Natixi’s Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) country manager for the UK for four years before joining the West African Development Bank as senior advisor to the President.

The EMBA program at HEC is particularly known for its global business outlook, developing leadership strategies, and focus on digital transformation, all of which equipped Serge with the tools to achieve his current position, as president of the West African Development Bank.


4. Mohammed Barkindo, Washington University MBA


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© Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres, used under this license

Secretary-General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

Washington University, MBA Class of 1991

Mohammed Barkindo obtained an MBA as part of Washington University’s class of 1991, after earning a post-graduate diploma in Petroleum Economics from Oxford University. 

He’s served in various capacities in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group for 24 years, including as CEO. In 2016, Mohammed became the 28th secretary general of OPEC, and was re-elected in 2019 for another term.


5. Mayowa Kuyoro, Harvard MBA


McKinsey Partner

Harvard Business School, MBA Class of 2015 

Mayowa obtained a master’s in engineering from the University of Warwick before enrolling in an MBA at Harvard Business School

After graduating, her MBA propelled her career as she joined McKinsey’s Lagos office where where she’s now a partner. Mayowa also leads the firm’s fintech work across Africa and its Financial Services Practice in West Africa. 

According to her LinkedIn profile, she’s passionate about gender and financial inclusion, as well as the role digital technology can play in building solutions that drive equity.


6. Selorm Adadevoh, Wharton MBA


CEO, MTN Ghana 

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, USA, MBA Class of 2007.

Selorm is a seasoned telecoms and financial services business leader with more than 22 years of experience. He started his career as a technology consultant with Hewlett-Packard in the UK, where he remained for more than four years before enrolling in the MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Selorm built on the experience he had in tech at Hewlett-Packard, and after graduating from Wharton worked his way up to become the CEO at mobile phone network company, Digicel, before joining MTN Ghana as CEO in 2018. 

He’s won several awards, most notably, CEO of the Year for the Telecommunications Sector, given to him by the fifth Ghana CEO Summit in May 2021.


Next Read: Which Fortune 500 CEOs have MBAs?


The main image in this article was used under this license.

Student Reviews

Birmingham Business School - University of Birmingham

Student

Verified

7/10/2023

On Campus

An amazing experience

Great, knowledgeable faculty with a beautiful campus. Lots of societies and clubs to choose from in accordance with your interest. One can also discover scholarship opportunities here. The course is perfectly designed and the career services at the uni are very helpful

Melanie

Verified

6/10/2023

On Campus

The beautiful campus and teaching expertise.

Overall the University of birmingham is just an incredible institution. From the array of expertise teachings and how phenomenal the campus is definitely enhances its beauty and is enriched with the amazing resources and incredible people that are always willing to help and make you feel welcomed everywhere you go. I would 100% recommend the University of Birmingham to be one of the best universities out there and through not only the various courses that they offer but all the social societies definitely adds to the fun and great opportunities that it provides

chikondi

Verified

4/10/2023

On Campus

Exceptional Support for international Students

Exceptional Support for International Students As an international student, my experience at the University of Birmingham has been nothing short of extraordinary, thanks to the outstanding support provided for international students. I would like to share my thoughts and experiences regarding the exceptional support I've received during my time here. From the moment I arrived on campus, it was evident that UoB prioritizes the well-being and success of its international students. Here are some key aspects of the support I've received: 1. Orientation Programs: The university's comprehensive orientation programs helped me acclimate to campus life, navigate administrative processes, and understand the academic system. I never felt lost or overwhelmed, thanks to the informative sessions and friendly staff. 2. Academic Advising: The academic advisors for international students are incredibly knowledgeable and approachable. They assisted me in creating a personalized academic plan, selecting courses, and understanding degree requirements. Their guidance ensured that I stayed on the right track academically. 3. Language Support: UoB offers exceptional language support services, including English language courses and conversation partners. These resources were invaluable in improving my language skills and building confidence in my communication abilities. 4. Cultural Integration: The university fosters a diverse and inclusive environment, making it easy for international students to feel like part of the community. There are numerous cultural clubs, events, and workshops that allow us to connect with fellow students and celebrate our diverse backgrounds. 5. Mental Health and Counseling Services: Recognizing the challenges that international students may face, the university provides excellent mental health and counseling services. It's comforting to know that support is available when needed, and these services are respectful of cultural differences. 6. Career Services: UoB offers exceptional career services tailored to international students. From resume workshops to job fairs, they've been instrumental in helping me prepare for my career post-graduation. The university's strong network of alumni has also been a valuable resource. 7. Visa and Immigration Assistance: Navigating the complexities of visa and immigration regulations can be daunting, but the university's dedicated staff provided guidance and assistance throughout the process. Their expertise made the experience seamless. 8. Housing Support: Securing suitable housing can be a challenge for international students, but the university offers assistance in finding on-campus housing options with flexible payments. This support ensured that I had a safe and comfortable place to live. 9. Financial Aid and Scholarships: UoB offers various scholarships and financial aid options for international students. Their commitment to making education accessible is commendable, they also provide financial support for graduation through the guild of students.

Student

Verified

16/02/2023

On Campus

student experience

I highly recommend the University of Birmingham. I think the school environment is very friendly to international students. I was able to get guidance and help from students in the school. I was also able to get support and guidance from the professional team on my career path. I would recommend the University of Birmingham to first-time international students and Masters students.

Student

Verified

29/01/2023

On Campus

There is always somebody to help!

The university respects the culture and background of their highly diverse student. It carters to everybody's need and puts its student first. It tries to the make the student feel at home and helps them deal with the university life.

Student

Verified

27/01/2023

On Campus

Variety

I love studying Pharmacy at Birmingham and would absolutely recommend it, especially because of the variety in every aspect of the course. Firstly, the variety of people you meet from all areas around the country, and even countless others from outside the country. Each person has a different background and experiences creating a melting pot of personalities to interact with. Next, the lessons - there are numerous types of lessons we encounter on a weekly basis from lectures to dissections to a computer workshops. Additionally, specific to medical degrees, I have 7 placements annually in hospital, community, and GP pharmacies. The only lack of variety in the pharmacy course is the classrooms since there are limited number we can use and the medical school is separate from the main campus. The only part I don't enjoy about pharmacy is the distances and unreliability of public transport in Birmingham. Living in the vale, the university is a long 25-minute walk away and my closest shop is over 10-20 minutes to walk. Although there are closer accommodations, I really love my flat with its modern decor, large room, and social aspect of the shared kitchen.

Student

Verified

4/01/2023

On Campus

Experience at University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham has been an outstanding university. They have provided complete support during COVID-19. The university is incredible when accessing support with mental health. I currently study criminology at the university of Birmingham. The course has been brilliant, with constant support from lectures and tutors to ensure that you achieve the best grade possible. I could not recommend University of Birmingham more!

John

Verified

2/12/2022

On Campus

Cool

Great campus for studying with kind and professional staff and the campus is very well connected to the city center. There were so many people who wanted to enroll in the course that they had to queue for a new course for six months in advance. The classes were always crowded, but the professors never let anyone through. I love this uni

Joshua

Verified

30/11/2022

On Campus

A very welcoming uni

This university is regarded as one of the best in the world. They provide a welcoming environment that enhances the lives of the students because each one of them has a sense of community and a desire to study.

Beining

Verified

21/12/2023

On Campus

The professor's instructive pedagogical approach.

Professors in the College of Arts and Law at the University of Birmingham tend to employ a facilitative pedagogical approach in their teaching. They guide students in language analysis through the application of discourse analysis and methods of linguistic research, fostering the students' ability to analyze various texts. The overarching goal is to maximize the impact of language. The entire process is characterized by a systematic and gradual progression, infused with a sense of humor and engaging elements.

Student

Verified

7/10/2023

On Campus

An amazing experience

Great, knowledgeable faculty with a beautiful campus. Lots of societies and clubs to choose from in accordance with your interest. One can also discover scholarship opportunities here. The course is perfectly designed and the career services at the uni are very helpful

Melanie

Verified

6/10/2023

On Campus

The beautiful campus and teaching expertise.

Overall the University of birmingham is just an incredible institution. From the array of expertise teachings and how phenomenal the campus is definitely enhances its beauty and is enriched with the amazing resources and incredible people that are always willing to help and make you feel welcomed everywhere you go. I would 100% recommend the University of Birmingham to be one of the best universities out there and through not only the various courses that they offer but all the social societies definitely adds to the fun and great opportunities that it provides

chikondi

Verified

4/10/2023

On Campus

Exceptional Support for international Students

Exceptional Support for International Students As an international student, my experience at the University of Birmingham has been nothing short of extraordinary, thanks to the outstanding support provided for international students. I would like to share my thoughts and experiences regarding the exceptional support I've received during my time here. From the moment I arrived on campus, it was evident that UoB prioritizes the well-being and success of its international students. Here are some key aspects of the support I've received: 1. Orientation Programs: The university's comprehensive orientation programs helped me acclimate to campus life, navigate administrative processes, and understand the academic system. I never felt lost or overwhelmed, thanks to the informative sessions and friendly staff. 2. Academic Advising: The academic advisors for international students are incredibly knowledgeable and approachable. They assisted me in creating a personalized academic plan, selecting courses, and understanding degree requirements. Their guidance ensured that I stayed on the right track academically. 3. Language Support: UoB offers exceptional language support services, including English language courses and conversation partners. These resources were invaluable in improving my language skills and building confidence in my communication abilities. 4. Cultural Integration: The university fosters a diverse and inclusive environment, making it easy for international students to feel like part of the community. There are numerous cultural clubs, events, and workshops that allow us to connect with fellow students and celebrate our diverse backgrounds. 5. Mental Health and Counseling Services: Recognizing the challenges that international students may face, the university provides excellent mental health and counseling services. It's comforting to know that support is available when needed, and these services are respectful of cultural differences. 6. Career Services: UoB offers exceptional career services tailored to international students. From resume workshops to job fairs, they've been instrumental in helping me prepare for my career post-graduation. The university's strong network of alumni has also been a valuable resource. 7. Visa and Immigration Assistance: Navigating the complexities of visa and immigration regulations can be daunting, but the university's dedicated staff provided guidance and assistance throughout the process. Their expertise made the experience seamless. 8. Housing Support: Securing suitable housing can be a challenge for international students, but the university offers assistance in finding on-campus housing options with flexible payments. This support ensured that I had a safe and comfortable place to live. 9. Financial Aid and Scholarships: UoB offers various scholarships and financial aid options for international students. Their commitment to making education accessible is commendable, they also provide financial support for graduation through the guild of students.

Student

Verified

16/02/2023

On Campus

student experience

I highly recommend the University of Birmingham. I think the school environment is very friendly to international students. I was able to get guidance and help from students in the school. I was also able to get support and guidance from the professional team on my career path. I would recommend the University of Birmingham to first-time international students and Masters students.

Student

Verified

29/01/2023

On Campus

There is always somebody to help!

The university respects the culture and background of their highly diverse student. It carters to everybody's need and puts its student first. It tries to the make the student feel at home and helps them deal with the university life.

Student

Verified

27/01/2023

On Campus

Variety

I love studying Pharmacy at Birmingham and would absolutely recommend it, especially because of the variety in every aspect of the course. Firstly, the variety of people you meet from all areas around the country, and even countless others from outside the country. Each person has a different background and experiences creating a melting pot of personalities to interact with. Next, the lessons - there are numerous types of lessons we encounter on a weekly basis from lectures to dissections to a computer workshops. Additionally, specific to medical degrees, I have 7 placements annually in hospital, community, and GP pharmacies. The only lack of variety in the pharmacy course is the classrooms since there are limited number we can use and the medical school is separate from the main campus. The only part I don't enjoy about pharmacy is the distances and unreliability of public transport in Birmingham. Living in the vale, the university is a long 25-minute walk away and my closest shop is over 10-20 minutes to walk. Although there are closer accommodations, I really love my flat with its modern decor, large room, and social aspect of the shared kitchen.

Student

Verified

4/01/2023

On Campus

Experience at University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham has been an outstanding university. They have provided complete support during COVID-19. The university is incredible when accessing support with mental health. I currently study criminology at the university of Birmingham. The course has been brilliant, with constant support from lectures and tutors to ensure that you achieve the best grade possible. I could not recommend University of Birmingham more!

John

Verified

2/12/2022

On Campus

Cool

Great campus for studying with kind and professional staff and the campus is very well connected to the city center. There were so many people who wanted to enroll in the course that they had to queue for a new course for six months in advance. The classes were always crowded, but the professors never let anyone through. I love this uni

Mahoro

Verified

22/01/2024

On Campus

Excellent reputation

The University of Birmingham has a strong reputation for academic excellence and research output that is why I chose to study here. The university boasts a faculty of renowned experts and scholars in various fields who are supportive to students in their academic endeavors. Birmingham offers many opportunities for students to engage in cutting-edge research across multiple disciplines. The university additionally, has modern facilities and resources to support student learning and research. However, certain classes have large student-to-faculty ratios, making it more challenging to receive individualized attention. The cost of living in Birmingham, especially for international students, may be higher compared to other areas in the UK.

Student

Verified

15/03/2024

Online

Immersion into Legal Studies

As a law student, a common stereotype of a typical law degree would be long, boring classes fully based off theory and essays. while essays and theories are a necessary part of the law experience, the University of Birmingham Law School modules also cater to the more creative sides of the law. modules of creative writing, blogs, videography, podcasts, etc., are available. modules on makeshift court sessions to practice advocacy. deeper research on the law and its ethics, and using legal skills to tackle modern-day concerns such as artificial intelligence. not only do you gain the necessary tools that prepare you for the legal world. you also gain additional knowledge that puts you one step ahead and allows for flexibility after your studies.

Student

Verified

22/04/2024

On Campus

International Relations and Development

My experience at the University of Birmingham has been exceptional. The University has given me a wide range of opportunities to participate in a wide range of activities, which benefit me in my well-being and in my studies. The University is fantastic in ensuring that you get the education you want, as long as its not too farfetched. By example, I requested to switch courses in the summer between first and second year, and my request was dealt with smoothly in a matter of weeks. The campus is a very easy one to navigate, and in itself is a very nice one, quite modern.

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