2021 MBAs To Watch: Glory Bantan Mafor, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Glory Bantan Mafor

Arizona State University, W. P. Carey School of Business

“I am assertive, confident, creative, efficient, funny, hard-working, motivator, outspoken, proactive, relentless, self-starter, strategic thinker.” 

Hometown: Douala, Cameroon

Fun fact about yourself: I used to end my egg-and-spoon race halfway when I was in nursery school to have the pleasure of sucking my right thumb. I stopped thumb sucking when I was 16.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor’s in Electrical & Electronic Engineering (Power Systems) from the University of Buea, Cameroon. Master of Science (Physics Research) from the University of Fort Hare, South Africa

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked for Konkola Copper Mines, Zambia, where my last position was the acting Section Electrical Engineer for the Kitwe Refinery Plant.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Dell Technologies, Austin Texas as a Global Operations Intern.

Where will you be working after graduation? Dell Technologies, Austin Texas, Advanced Innovation Consultant.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am passionate about student excellence. I believe success is not about the amount of wealth amassed but the number of lives you impact. For this reason, I chose to occupy two roles that will help me impact more lives and advocate for the shy.

I am the Director of International Students Affairs for the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) of Arizona State University (ASU). This makes me the international graduate students advocate to the decision-makers. I gather and make easily accessible resources necessary to enable international students to seamlessly transition and fit-in into the American System of education. My goal is to make them excel as soon as they arrive with little or no obstacles.

I am also the Co-Director of the W. P. Carey School of Business Ambassador Club. I organize Q&A sessions between ambassadors and prospective students and mentoring/buddy sessions between ambassadors and incoming MBA students. These mentoring/buddy sessions are for new MBA students to share their academic challenges and build the required friendship necessary for them to have some mental support from their buddies as they go through the program.

Lastly, I lead a “mix and unwind” session for African MBA students on weekends. This helps to support and share resources that will enable African MBA students to adapt to the American culture and educational system quickly. It is also a convenient forum for African students to share their deepest worries, fears, and challenges.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being nominated for the Poets & Quants Best & Brightest class of 2021 MBAs is my proudest achievement as I did not see that coming. I would have least expected that I will be considered amongst the Best & Brightest of the W. P. Carey School of Business class of 2021. Saying I was shocked when I got the email from the school’s operations team is an understatement. The challenges we go through indeed make us stronger and stand out, and I am grateful for the honor.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my time at the Zambian Mine, I pitched and got approved an energy-efficient optimization intervention with an approximately $1million per quarter energy savings potential. This achievement taught me the following: there is always an opportunity for optimization irrespective of the organization’s age and value. Secondly, it triggered my desire to advance my analytic ability (one of the reasons why I decided to go to business school).

Why did you choose this business school? Impacting and uplifting others is what I like doing even in my place of work. One of the reasons for doing an MBA was because I wanted to understand the connection between people and businesses. In the list of schools I considered applying to that offered scholarships, I was drawn to the W. P. Carey School of Business slogan “Where Business is Personal”. This caught my attention, and I decided it was W. P. Carey School of Business or no other. This was the only school where I applied. I was happy I got accepted, and 18months down the line, I am thrilled I made that decision.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Picking one professor as my favorite is a challenge because they were each amazing in different ways and impacted my career in different aspects. However, if I must pick one, I will say Dr. Brett Duarte is the winner. Though I enjoyed process optimization in my pre-MBA career, Brett’s fashion, passion, and enthusiasm in teaching Data-Driven Quality Management heightened my love for process optimization. It made me appreciate more the tools necessary. After taking it, this class made me confident I can handle almost any business challenge because of how succinctly and how easy to assimilate he taught us about process optimization tools and processes. The grown passion has motivated me to desire a Lean Six Sigma Certification. I am currently working towards getting this certification alongside my MBA degree.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite event was the orientation sessions during our first two weeks on Campus from August 7th to August 19th, 2019. First, the international student orientation session psychologically prepared me for the difference in educational systems between business school and the other schools I have attended out of the US. By the end of that orientation on August 7th and 8th, I had a clear picture of what was required of me academically and the changes I needed to make mentally, attitude-wise, and habit-wise to adjust to the new environment I quickly found myself in. The peek into the MBA program and activities we had during the full-time orientation awokened my appetite to delve into the program straight away and made me forget my jetlag for a second. This made me appreciate two things about W. P. Carey School of Business. First, the faculty is excellent at communication and well-organized. Secondly, as one way to prepare us for academic and business success, they care a lot about setting us up (especially international students) with the right mind frame at the very beginning of the program. As the saying goes “Proper preparation prevents poor performance”.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? As an international student, I will not take an over 24 hours flight to land in the US three days to orientation without my accommodation and transportation for the semester sorted out yet. This led to some challenges during the first two weeks to find my way around Tempe, AZ. However, my classmates and the MBA school operations team were very helpful in providing useful off-campus resources.

What is the biggest myth about your school? W. P. Carey School of Business is excellent at supply chain only. Though the school’s Supply Chain Department and students produced are phenomenal, they are also excellent in students’ quality made from the Business Analytics, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Consulting, Finance, and many areas of emphasis. The curriculum of these different areas of focus is exceptional.

What surprised you the most about business school? The fact that our attention is being drawn mostly to the development of interpersonal skills, and much emphasis is laid on skills like effective communication, ethics, teamwork, leadership, conflict management, networking, and many others. This is quite different from my Pre-MBA idea I had about business school. Though we learn about the technicalities of decision-making in different areas and analytics (which is what I thought the entire business school is about), I found it interesting and very helpful that emphasis is placed on building and nourishing interpersonal relationships. At the end of the day, business is about people and making their lives better (“Business is personal”).

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I shared my story, past, present, and future with passion and conviction.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is another challenging question as I admire all my classmates’ different aspects due to the cultural, geographical, and career diversity in my class. However, Kizito Okougbo stands out to me most because of his humility, curiosity, diversity in his knowledge base, and his never-ending desire to learn more. Despite the challenges he faces, he keeps the positive spirit alive, which is inspiring.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Initially, I found it less disruptive because I thought I could achieve more from home as I would save the 50 minutes to-and-from school walk time. After spending two semesters remotely, I started to recognize the difference between in-person classes and team meeting experience with virtual reality (which I prefer). I began to feel the pressure of always being in front of my laptop and losing the solid line between work and off-work time as my environment was the same day after day. As such, I decided to do on-campus classes with all the necessary protective measures taken. This is to provide me with a stable work-life balance essential to be an efficient and effective manager in today’s new normal.

However, for my 2-months summer internship, the shift worked in my favor. I was able to achieve all, and beyond the 9 internship objectives, I set for myself. In one of my objectives, which had to do with networking, I was able to have one-on-one career orientation sessions with over 65 Dell employees: Directors, Vice Presidents, Executive Vice Presidents, and Managers. Something I would not have been able to achieve in-person.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My boss at Konkola Copper Mine in Zambia, Mr. Mbobe Nyondo Calvert, was my most significant influencer. He is an MBA holder in Finance as well. When I shared my desire to occupy one of the C-suite positions someday, he advised that I start that journey by enhancing my managerial skills. During the application process, I encountered severe challenges that almost postponed the process, but he encouraged, motivated, and made me see opportunities in the obstacles. Here I am today, almost graduating in a few months.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? To me, success is defined first by how many lives I impact positively. As such, my first item on my professional bucket list is to be an excellent, extraordinary, and inspiring business leader model for young Cameroonians and youths around the world. Secondly, I want to be the most visionary CEO by 40.

What made Glory such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Glory is an exceptional community member and contributor to the W. P. Carey culture of “Business is Personal”. In her role as Student Ambassador Co-director, she has worked to improve student experience by creating opportunities for professional development for her Student Ambassador peers as well as highlighting the diverse and unique student body in the Full-time MBA program for prospective and admitted students. Glory is a resilient individual who is committed to always doing her best, bringing out the best in her peers, and promoting the W. P. Carey MBA program so that other people can be inspired to take the next step in their professional and personal journeys.”

Hunter Loring
Associate Director
Graduate Student Recruitment, W. P. Carey School of Business



Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.