2020 MBAs To Watch: Nasi Rwigema, London Business School

Nasi Rwigema

London Business School

Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa

Fun fact about yourself: One of my goals in life is to become world-class at making pancakes. I practice regularly and take it very seriously.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of The Witwatersrand, BSc Engineering (Aeronautical) and MSc Engineering (Mechanical)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Associate Principal at Metier Private Equity in parallel with Project Director at Solafrica Energy

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Dataswift in Cambridge, England

Where will you be working after graduation? I plan to keep developing Pro-File, a startup I founded, during business school

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Vice President of Special Projects for the Africa Club
  • Co-President of the Tech & Media Club
  • Student Ambassador
  • Social Representative
  • Mo-Ibrahim Foundation Scholar

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During my first year of the MBA, my team within the Tech & Media Club sought to develop a new tech initiative for the school that would fill the most pressing gap in students’ journeys and elevates the LBS brand as a school that develops great tech talent and contributes to the tech industry. We conceptualised a 6-month tailored development programme to help students – who lack a tech background but have a strong passion for a future in tech – develop the knowledge and experience they need to position themselves for their ideal job in tech. In my second year, now as co-president of the Tech & Media Club, I built a team and lead the implementation of the first cohort, taking ten incredible students through the developmental journey I wished was on offer when I joined LBS.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At 23 years old, I happened into a project management role for what turned out to be a $500m concentrated solar thermal power plant. I joined as the third member of an entrepreneurial team and used “rookie smarts” to hustle and shepherd our teams towards realising the second successful CSP plant in Africa. Our plant won an international award for renewable energy plant of the year in 2014, having achieved the highest level of thermal storage per MW for a solar thermal plant at that time.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Michael Parke, who taught Leading Teams and Operations. Michael impressed me with his ability to teach a soft skill course in a structured, compelling, and practical way. Michael also has great empathy for his students and the process of learning. From his party trick of remembering 55 people’s names from a single handshake to weaving humour tastefully into the learning experience, I truly enjoyed listening and engaging with Michael.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Tattoo. LBS’s greatest strength, to me, has always been its diversity – across both its cohort and its faculty. Tattoo is the flagship LBS event that highlights and celebrates the diversity of everyone that makes up this incredible school.

Why did you choose this business school? In the same way that people go to the army to turn themselves into highly-skilled, effective operatives, my objective with business school was to turn myself into a high-functioning thinker and high-output professional. In this regard, I believed the most effective journey of personal development would be via a school that offered 1) great insights, 2) delivered by world-class teachers, and 3) practiced with and among super smart and widely diverse classmates. When you add to this and an incredible environment to explore and grow oneself, LBS hands down offers the best blend of these elements.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Step 1 is to craft an honest and concise story in your head of why you want to do an MBA at LBS (e.g. “My life experience thus far has helped me develop X, for the next phase of my life I hope to transition/expand/grow into Y and I believe the LBS MBA programme could best help achieve this based on it’s Z1, Z2, and Z3.”). Step 2 is to figure out if there’s enough personal value in this story to positively solve the equation of opportunity cost + personal value > current life trajectory. If you succeed with step 2, then step 3 is to turn your story into a killer application that ties up perfectly to tell it convincingly and comprehensively.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I wasn’t aware of too many myths coming in. An MBA is a natural fit for people with commercial backgrounds and so it’s natural that all business schools will cater well to business industries. What I’ve experienced that matters is that the culture at LBS encourages students to explore possible futures and the LBS environment is perfectly set up to support one’s personal journey of discovery and development. Once I found my path, the LBS resources emerged and were plentiful in helping me work towards my goals.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I have no regrets with my LBS experience but wish I could have traveled more with friends. For personal reasons, I couldn’t, but LBS provides amazing opportunities for you to see the world.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Charlotte Bax. Charlotte has been my entrepreneur buddy – if you will – throughout my LBS experience and I admire her ability to ‘just go for it’. Charlotte will be a huge success based on her affinity to dive off the cliff and assemble the glider on her way down.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My brother. I watched him go through his MBA and absorbed all his stories of growth and learning and being surrounded by incredible people. When my time came, and I was looking for a certain type of growth journey, I thought back on his experience and decided it was the right thing for me.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Inspired by Bill Gates: 1) Build a wildly successful business venture that improves the lives of African people and 2) Later, change my full-time focus to philanthropic activities that support disadvantaged African people.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A special friend from business school that’s always there when you need him.

Hobbies? Reading. Traveling. Running. Telling stories. Great movies. Playing with gadgets.

What made Nasi such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“I know Nasi best for his stellar participation in the 2020 ‘Entrepreneurship Summer School’, which I direct. For that programme, he was one of the only students to propose a social venture (an early-stage venture idea of a LinkedIn for low-skilled workers).

Beyond (and I would like to say, inspired, by) this, he has gone on to lead a number of terrific initiatives that have enhanced the reputation of the School and provided superb learning experiences for students – all relating to his passion for inclusivity in Africa: the organisation of five company-sponsored insight presentations on growth opportunities in Africa at the 2019 LBS Africa Business Summit, the Student Ambassador representing renewable energy and private equity opportunities in Africa and driving more LBS applications from strong African candidates.

As a formal co-curricular leadership role, Nasi was elected Co-president of Tech & Media Club with the specific goal of increasing the visibility of LBS’s strength in the development of tech professionals. In this role, he introduced, developed, and launched LBS Elevate, a tailored development programme for students with no technical background looking to transition into the tech industry.

Nasi is also the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Scholar for the Class of MBA 2020.”

Jeff Skinner
Executive Director, Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE 2020 MBAS TO WATCH or THE BEST & BRIGHTEST MBAS OF 2020

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