Tetlanyo (Teti) Lekalake
“Marketer in tech with entrepreneurial ambitions and a passion for diversity and inclusion.”
Hometown: Gaborone, Botswana
Fun Fact About Yourself: I love traveling and have been to 25 countries, including 11 African countries.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Cape Town, Marketing
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Facebook, Regional Marketing Programme Lead
INSEAD is one of the most culturally and professionally diverse MBA programs in the world. How do you see these global perspectives enhancing the value of your business education over the next year? Learning from so many unique perspectives will undoubtedly challenge me to become the best version of myself – as a thinker, leader and community member. But equally important to me is the potential that diversity has for creating a greater sense of psychological safety and belonging.
I began my career in an environment where I felt I had to assimilate and adapt myself to a dominant culture. There was a huge shift, however, when I joined Facebook at its Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters in Ireland. With over 90 nationalities represented, I felt inclined to express my ideas and my identity more fully. Consequently, for me, “diversity” and “inclusion” are more than buzzwords – and were certainly important decision criteria when I was thinking about where to pursue an MBA.
As everyone at INSEAD is a minority, I expect that this will create a more open-minded and inclusive learning environment. I also look forward to gaining a business perspective that stretches beyond the technology industry.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of INSEAD’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I aspire to have a global career, so I was very attracted to the fact that the school has campuses in 3 regions of interest for me. I’ll primarily be based in INSEAD’s Fontainebleau campus, but I intend to spend a period (two months) in either Singapore or Abu Dhabi.
The faculty and thought leadership evident at the school was another factor. Shortly before beginning my application process, I read Erin Meyer’s amazing book, Culture Map. And, during my undergraduate studies, I read Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne’s seminal Blue Ocean Strategy. As a marketer and someone who’s interested in designing more inclusive companies, I found these books inspiring. And I’ll hopefully get an opportunity to meet the professors who wrote them!
What course, club or activity excites you the most at INSEAD? Whilst at INSEAD, I’m planning to explore a business idea I’ve been exploring for a few months. I’m excited about participating in a Startup Bootcamp and entering the school’s New Venture Competition.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’m passionate about enabling economic development across Africa and dismantling systems of oppression. I believe that my biggest achievement at Facebook was doing impactful work that aligned with these values. For instance, in my last role, my day-to-day work involved scaling economic impact programs that helped upskill small business owners in Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey on how to grow their businesses using Facebook’s platforms and products. This was fulfilling because small businesses contribute heavily to economies and communities Africa. I’m also proud of the fact that some of the programs I worked on were specifically designed to support women, ethnic minorities and entrepreneurs with disabilities.
At Facebook, I was also actively involved in various extracurricular activities related to diversity and inclusion. For instance, I co-founded the Ireland chapter of an internal resource group called Black@ Facebook (the first outside the US). I led this group for four years, working with the rest of the team to develop it into a more powerful resource for departments such as recruiting and sales. More importantly, Black@ Facebook Ireland created spaces for Facebook employees to celebrate diversity and discuss race-related challenges.
How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? I decided to apply to INSEAD post-lockdown. The reflection that the application demanded illuminated what I’ve learned and accomplished in my career so far —and how much I still don’t know. I also thought extensively about the challenges that women in the workplace face. One of the outcomes of this reflection is that I started a podcast (Career Queens Podcast) earlier this year. On it, I interview women in the tech industry on topics such as Salary Negotiation, Transitioning into People Management and Starting a Business.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? After graduating, I intend to go back into the technology industry and pivot into either product marketing or strategy and operations. But, as I’ve mentioned, my ultimate career goal is to start my own company. I believe that the INSEAD MBA will help me to achieve these career goals faster and better prepared to empower people from diverse backgrounds and create enduring value for companies I join/ start.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard Business School
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into INSEAD’s MBA program? The story of INSEAD’s founding can tell you a lot about what it’s hoping to accomplish, and what kind of candidates it hopes to attract. If you’re globally minded and passionate about making a positive global impact through business, then apply!
DON’T MISS: MEET INSEAD’S MBA CLASS OF 2022