Abena Nyantekyi-Owusu, an alumnus of Ashesi University and now a graduate student at Harvard University is hoping to be a key figure in developing technology solutions to help improve Africa.
She studied Business Administration at Ashesi, and is now undertaking MBA at Harvard Business School.
While in Ghana, Abena saw “the impact that business and the private sector have on developing nations.” After graduating from Ashesi, she pursued a dynamic career at General Electric where she fulfilled multiple roles, “working on products and solutions that contribute to development and are crucial for growth.”
Abena began with General Electric’s medical and health care device divisions, serving as a business analyst responsible for “increasing growth and market share” in West & Central Africa. When she became an account manager driving sales, she realized that her customers – health providers – needed much more than point products.
“They’re looking for holistic solutions,” Abena says. “They want the full package: credit, financing, facility design, training and logistics – everything that can favourably impact clinical outcomes.”
As she transitioned again into a project development manager, Abena worked with “clinical teams to bring solutions to life.” It was at this point that the desire for an MBA emerged.
“I had worked in Africa all my professional life. I wanted more exposure to people from all over the world,” Abena says of her interest in an MBA. “After doing health care for so long, I also wanted to explore other industries – business school would give me a good opportunity to take stock. And I want to be more intentional about honing my leadership style – it was time to learn from the best.”
Harvard Business School was Abena’s top choice. “It’s a super-global brand, especially in Africa; its network and available support in the region is unequalled.”
The case method also appealed to her. “You can get more and go further than with traditional learning. You build on insights from ninety-four other people versus one person – it probes and pushes you, forcing you to be a critical thinker who can clearly articulate opinions in a structured way.”
Abena is active in the Africa Business Club where she has been elected co-president for the year ahead. “Being in the HBS environment gives you so many options for your time and resources,” she observes. “It makes you take stock and prioritize what competes for your attention: cases, clubs, social obligations. You’re forced to be deliberate with your choices.”
As her required curriculum (RC) year comes to a close, Abena is weighing options for her internship: “I’m deciding between big tech or a start-up,” she says.
“Eventually, I want to be a leader developing technology solutions that are good for Africa. I’d like to create go-to-market strategies – in education, fintech, agriculture, or health care – designed specifically for the continent.”
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