Nana Yaw Kyere Opare-Anim
“An intellectually curious planner who doesn’t adapt to change but brings the change.”
Hometown: Mamfe, Akuapem (Eastern Region, Ghana)
Fun Fact About Yourself: I am blessed with a range of culinary skills and a decent blend of singing and literary prowess. I consider myself a master juggler of a multiplicity of talents.
Undergraduate School and Major:
Undergrad: University of Ghana (Economics and Statistics – Combined major)
Post Grad: Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Nestle Central and West Africa (Inter-Market Planning Lead and Regional Demand Analyst).
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? Diversity is the melting pot for extraordinary solutions. You can never think beyond the reach of your mind and that is what globally diverse perspectives afford you. This mix of intellect and differing experiences is like two pairs of iron sharpening each other. As the US Supreme Court Justice Breyer said, “The true place of growth is where many intellectuals of varying backgrounds question each other’s thoughts and assumptions. That is the place where informed foundations of thought are built”. That is the uniqueness of the INSEAD MBA; the ability to lay your thoughts bare and put them under scrutiny by other equally brilliant minds of uniquely diverse and global perspectives. You come out a more informed and assured version of yourself ready to drive change in the landscape of business and the world at large.
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? The INSEAD brand has a strong name especially in the English part of Africa. Thanks to the strong Alumni network in Ghana especially, it was truly INSEAD or nothing for me. What the MBA is known for is reach. I heard a story once where an alum stated that with INSEAD, you can just pick a map, choose a country you want to work at and like a magic wand, the opportunities will start flying open. The uniqueness of the MBA over others is the truly global reach it has.
What has been your first impression of the INSEAD MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best INSEAD story so far. I had the unique privilege of watching the redefining of a new era of business leaders in Ghana. In a mentoring session in Ghana, I met a lady called “Lucy Quist”, who had dared to leave a company as prestigious as Vodafone to Head a largely fledgling company called Airtel. She quickly repositioned this Telco as a tech and web-driven data brand and captured a huge portion of the data space in Ghana. In a matter of years, they were competing strongly in the data space and at a point usurped the leading network (MTN) for a while on data. Then I also researched into another game changer “Sharon Akyeampong”, who was turning the cosmetics space in Africa from artificial to naturals and competing fiercely against brands like L’Oreal and Ghandour Cosmetics. Truly, they are embracing the catchphrase “Bold is the new normal”. When I saw where they schooled at, I understood that INSEADers are never followers but always leaders of the pack. It is exciting to be part of a group which is known for outstanding excellence.
What course, club or activity excites you the most at INSEAD? The Africa, Consulting and Political clubs are three clubs I am enthused to join. The networking and potential job opportunities are basically endless in these groups, and they are also areas I am extremely passionate about. INSEAD truly believes in leveraging its globality; As is often said, “No country is a majority in INSEAD”.
One course I am really looking forward to is Financial Crisis and Crisis Management. I deeply consider crisis management to be quite important given the current global landscape and the possibilities of these ongoing factions and wars impacting the finances of most countries. The world is becoming a global village and one action by a country or other has far reaching consequences on others. How to navigate these troubled waters is an enviable skill which I will leverage on with the help of the exposure to this concept at INSEAD.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The COVID crisis had far reaching effects on economies and many businesses felt the harshness of the atmosphere created by the pandemic. Nestle Central and West Africa was no different and there were ideas to either throw caution to the wind and increase our inventory holding to unimaginable numbers, which would have a marked effect on operating cash flows and locked up capital. As the COVID-19 response lead for the Supply Chain function, I worked cross-functionally to create a sustainable model to not only ensure availability but also optimize stock holding. This model ensured we had the highest-ever service level in the history of the Region (99.6%) amidst a 50% spike in demand across markets. This achievement was recommended by the Global Operations team, and I was awarded the Supply Chain Star award for 2021 (from over 500+ employees in Nestle Central & West Africa).
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I have a vision to be in Global Business Leadership (Group CEO of a Multinational Company) and looking at my current career track it would have been mountain-moving to achieve. Therefore, the perfect pivot I needed to launch me into an arena where the possibilities are endless is by far INSEAD. They currently have the second highest number of CEOs in the world. Harvard, which is number one, has its concentration in the US and INSEAD runs the rest of the world (even with presence in the US also). Immediately after graduation, I would pivot into consulting for a few years and posit myself for opportunities that would endear me to leadership in the longer-term.
What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I think I have watched every episode of “Fridays with Sandy” on the Poets and Quants YouTube page. I would recommend listening to the advice given by these two doyens in the Business Education Field. However, as much as possible as a prospective MBA applicant, you must do as much research as possible on the school you are applying to, and Poets and Quants is really the stand-out for me aside the school’s website.
What other MBA programs did you apply to?
Oxford (Said Business School MBA)
HEC Paris MBA
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into INSEAD’s MBA program? The MBA is a really a game-changer in terms of future career and networking prospects. Before applying to any MBA programme, you need to do some serious introspection and understand what really makes you tick. The most authentic version of yourself is your truth, which INSEAD is looking for. INSEAD is looking for globality and diversity and thus what makes you unique amongst the 1000s of other prospective MBA applicants is the foot you must put forward. INSEAD applications demand preparation, and you must put in the work before you will be admitted; A building is only as strong as it’s foundation. INSEAD isn’t only about great stats but great stats do matter!
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