Samuel Safo Owusu-Acheaw, Business Administration major, was selected as the Class Speaker for Ashesi’s Class of 2021 at the University’s 17th Commencement ceremony which was held on Saturday, June 5, 2021. This was the second of two virtual Commencement events that were held this year. The first ceremony was held on May 15, 2021, for the Class of 2020, with Joachim Asare as the Class Speaker.
Samuel’s speech represented the voice of the Class of 2021, and also reflected on the experiences and lessons from their time as students at Ashesi University.
An alumnus of Mfantsipim School (MOBA ’17), Samuel aspires to be a generational thinker with a solid global impact. He considers himself an afro-industrialist who believes in the currency of social capital and wants to leverage finance and media to improve lives while transforming mindsets.
He also sees himself as a problem solver, and thus channels his energy and drive towards problem-solving opportunities.
“A notable landmark of my problem-solving quest was curating a team to explore the use of organic photovoltaic cells to solve Ghana’s electricity crisis using design thinking skills in the local Hult Prize Business Competition. Chalking first place, my team represented Ashesi in the Dubai-held regional contest,” he told Kuulpeeps.
Besides his knack for problem-solving, Samuel is also a firm believer in continuous training and mentorship. “My perspective is that training and mentoring are prerequisites for initiating sustainable global change,” he said. “While mentorship provides me with a sense of orientation for my professional and personal development, training improves my intellectual capital. Given my training and mentorship mindset, I aspire to be a private equity analyst who dares to transform Africa through impact investing.”
Samuel’s unique problem-solving skill also aided him to succeed in various leadership positions on campus.
He was the Deputy Speaker for the Ashesi Student Council’s Parliament. This role required him to vet and validate semester budgets for the Ashesi Student Council, review the constitution and make relevant sustainable laws, listen to the concerns of the student body and represent the student body in meetings with faculty, administration and executives of the university.
He was also the founder and host of the The Levitate Show (TLS), a weekly online radio show which involves the youth in socio-political national conversations like investments, technology, education amongst others. As host, he interviewed personalities like Mr. Kojo Addae-Mensah (Databank Chief Executive Officer), Mr. Sangu Delle (Africa Health Holdings Chief Executive Officer & Golden Palm Investment Chairman), Mr. Bernard Avle (Citi FM & Citi TV General Manager) amongst others.
He was also an Honorary Delegate at the Learn Impact Innovate Model United Nations, Ashesi’s representative at the U7 + Alliance Worldwide Student Forum and came second in the 2020 MTN Pulse Business Challenge.
Away from academic and leadership activities, Samuel is a football enthusiast. “I am a huge Chelsea fan and I have dedicated the rest of the year to shoving the UEFA Champions League we just won in the face of my Manchester United friends,” he said with so much happiness.
His love for football led him to take up the role of Assistant Coach and later Manager for the Elite Football Club of the Ashesi Premier League (APL).
Revealing one of his memorable moments as a student of Ashesi, Samuel described the experience as his best and worst moment in the one incident.
“It was freshman year, specifically my Introduction to Computing Class. We had to climax a rough semester with our team-based project semester presentation. My team developed a model around cloud computing, and I recall that prior to presentation day, we slept off like about 5 am. My class started at 8 am and my team was about the third team to present. Unfortunately for me, by 8:30 am, I was still in dreamland, and I had not heard my phone buzzing with calls. The situation I just described was really embarrassing because I was just about to mess my group up, especially as the section I had to present was the engine of our project.”
“Fortunately for me, my team members knew my room and rushed to come wake me up. Then as soon as I entered the class, it was literally my turn to present. Contrary to the expectation of the class (because everyone by then knew I was fast asleep), instead of asking for time to gather my thoughts, I buzzed right in and started. Guess what, I killed it and killed those tight corner questions the lecturer asked our team. In a span of about 30 minutes, I had transitioned from the guy who was about to endure the wrath of his group to the star boy.”
Samuel added that the key lesson from this experience was resilience. “You see, upon entering the class, I could have decided to allow the faces of my colleagues, the lecturer’s mood and reaction to affect me – that would have only made me tensed and most likely messed up the presentation. But realizing the position I was in and exhibiting a resilient aura within the moment was instrumental,” he said.
“That’s a key I think a lot more people need to understand. In that, the complexities of life can be overwhelming, however, panicking causes more harm than good in any situation. The next time you find yourself in a situation, just take a deep breath, relax and tell yourself, ‘I’ve still got this’. You have no idea how powerful of self-affirmation can be!”
Samuel also revealed that Ashesi University taught him to be bold and go all out for whatever he wants to achieve. According to him, transitioning from childhood to adulthood, he realized the Ghanaian and African culture at large was quite closed. One which did little to give capacity to youth to express themselves, resulting in the young ones being asked not to speak or share their views in the midst of adults.
However, Ashesi’s approach was different. “The concept of Ashesi has given me a boldening capacity,” he said. “Listening to my school president, Mr Patrick Awuah exactly four years ago at my matriculation, he reiterated a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”
“Ashesi believes this quote and these words have been modelled as part of the school’s basic cultural logic. The atom of my experiences in my four-year stay in Ashesi has been strongly girded on those words. Those words have created a paradigm shift in my perspective. And now, I am leaving Ashesi as an individual who has metamorphosed into an atom of boldness filled with confidence and inquisitiveness and has an expansive knowledge of global and multicultural topics eager to share to promote my quota of civic engagement and a more progressive and inclusive society.”
With his afro-industrialist mindset, Samuel wants to leverage his knowledge in business and social capital to create a labour shift from the African services sector to a more expansive industrialized Africa.
“Reiterating the words of Sangu Delle, the most important thing for me, is for my grandchildren to ask me, if Africa was once poor. With this drive, I am really determined to leverage the continent’s resources, my technical know-how and social capital to initiate sustainable and scalable technological-based solutions to the challenges plaguing the continent, particularly, energy and agribusiness industry.”
Click on the comment box below and leave us your thoughts. Thank you