Meet Notre Dame Mendoza’s MBA Class Of 2020

Zevi Fefoame

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

“Personality of a Lamborghini Aventador and calmness of any Bentley.”

Hometown: Kpando-Gadza, Ghana

Fun Fact About Yourself: I like interrogating/taking the weirdest and least supported view in debates.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Ghana, BSc Administration: Banking & Finance

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Vodafone, Accounts Receivable and Commissions Analyst

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In July 2017, I was left alone when the leader of the two-person team I was a part of resigned. Our team, formed in 2016, was tasked with handling account receivable and commission payable of the organization. My specific task was to handle the reconciliation and collection of extremely old debt. By the end of 2016, I had recovered $2M-plus of debt. I also put processes in place to ensure the same issue did not reoccur. In addition to my assigned role, I slowly ventured into the commission space. Then, my team leader resigned! I took over both aspects of our work, climbed the steep learning curve of understanding the computation, modeling and business rationale behind all the 25+ commissions of the business to the point where I became the resource person consulted on any commission scheme. I also led a conversation that resulted in optimizing our commission scheme. This new initiative would save the company $1M annually. I accomplished all these in three months!

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Helpful

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Mendoza was the only school I knew that offered the MBA and a Masters in Business Analytics (MSBA) as a two-year dual program. I am coming from a company that is keen on digitalization. A key component of the Vodafone digital agenda is the ability to innovate around customer and business data to create insights that could help the company become the industry leader in the areas it had set for itself. However, we lacked people with the requisite expertise to execute the task to perfection. This stimulated in me the desire to acquire the tools of business analytics to support any company I join in whatever capacity. Additionally, growing up I had wanted something geeky like computer programming, but now with geeky not seeming impressionable, Business Analytics is a good middle ground. With MBA plus an MSBA I am able to obtain and communicate the insight satisfying both my desire and the need of the business community.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Utilizing the climbing and bouldering wall in the Duncan Student Centre.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I had always thought what I enjoyed doing most was accounting. However, my role in my company for the last five months before applying for the MBA made me realize that my passion was in consulting. Helping senior managers define and execute strategic plans for the wider business brought me much fulfillment. This was a career switch and an MBA is the best way for me to hone in my skills and acquire the necessary professional development in that area.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? It would equip me to accomplish my life’s purpose. It would also provide me with an invaluable network.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Duke-Fuqua, University of Navarra-IESE, University of Rochester-Simon

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Average GMAT Score, MBA Rankings, Curriculum focus on Data Science, Employment Statistics

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I would say I don’t have a defining moment per se. What I have is parents who have influenced all of my upbringing that I consider the defining moments of my life. My mum is visually impaired; completely blind since about age 12. In June 2018, she was elected to the UN Expert Committee on the Convention of Rights of Person’s with Disability (CRPD). She did not start her life on a global level. No! She started as a teacher at a Teacher Training College. All my life, I have seen a woman with disability do the impossible. She balances family, community and career commitments to perfection. She always works towards her objective. She stood for the UN CRPD elections in 2016, but did not win. Instead of feeling defeated and being selfish, she started a campaign to get more women elected to the UN CRPD Committee by entreating nations to nominate more females because after the 2016 election only one woman remained on the governing body.

For this reason, I do not know the word “impossible”. Neither do I expect everything to come together in a day. Whatever I become, whatever I get in life, it is a result of constantly working towards my goal day-by-day, building the blocks and never giving up. I admit failure is part of the process, but I don’t believe in the crippling effects of failure. It is never a setback; it is only an opportunity to re-strategize and to highlight what is important. By seeing her repeatedly do the same thing, I have learnt that in life that it is okay to help other people even if it means they will get ahead of you. So many people she has mentored have reached the pinnacles she has yet to reach but she keeps mentoring people.

My father, is the most awesome man I have ever met and I mean that. To marry a women with disability in the 1980s in Africa is a bold step few can take. Through his example, I embrace challenges and difficult situations because I am the result of such a decision. To love people who are not like me and accept them into my fold is something I see him do every day. He dedicated his life to persons with disabilities not just by marrying a blind woman, but also deciding to be a mathematics teacher for the deaf and dumb at the secondary level and later becoming a headmaster for one of such schools in Accra. I know how to put people’s needs before mine and help others achieve their goals sometimes at my own expense because that is the life I have seen him lead. My mum could never have chalked all her achievements without his continued help. So yes, sometimes it’s okay not to be the one achieving but to be a helper along the way.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? Management Consulting

Where do you see yourself in five years? With the experience obtained in consulting, I want to start my own company with the aim of helping Africa develop a more conducive business environment and other support systems that will assist businesses thrive in Africa. Also, I want to pick up the torch of Disability and Women activism from my mother and add child advocacy.

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