2023 MBA To Watch: Albert Kweku Gyamfi, INSEAD

Albert Kweku Gyamfi

INSEAD

“I am a Ghanaian banker committed to driving African development through impact investing.”

Hometown: Breman Asikuma, Ghana

Fun fact about yourself: I am proud to share my ethnicity (Akan) with the renowned Kofi Annan, and my name Kweku is given to a male born on Wednesday. Kofi is for a male born on Friday.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Resource Development and MSc in Development Finance, both from the University of Ghana.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Before my MBA, I worked at Accessbank Ghana, where I was head of operations and helped retail clients, including small and medium-scale enterprises, access credit and advisory services.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? In the summer of 2023, I had the privilege of interning with Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking Division at their London office. This opportunity will provide me with valuable experience and exposure to one of the world’s top investment banks.

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I am considering opportunities in investment banking, as I believe it will provide me with a broad range of experiences and help me develop strong problem-solving skills. My long-term goal is to gain experience from developed economies and use that knowledge to make a meaningful impact on emerging economies. I have a strong interest in development, as I believe it has the potential to create change and improve lives in developing economies.

By working in the investment banking field, I will have the opportunity to gain a deep understanding of financial markets, which is essential for making informed investment decisions. I believe this experience will be particularly valuable as I work towards my long-term goal of making a meaningful impact on emerging economies. In addition, the skills and knowledge I will gain in investment banking will be transferable to other fields, which will provide me with a range of career opportunities in the future.

Ultimately, I am motivated by the potential to create positive change in the world. I believe that by working in investment banking, I will be able to gain the skills and experience necessary to achieve my long-term goal of making a meaningful impact on emerging economies.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am active in the Africa Business Club and Social Impact Club in business school, driving positive change and making a meaningful impact in our community.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When asked about my most significant professional accomplishment, one experience comes to mind first. Following the completion of my undergraduate program, I was recruited into my previous employer’s graduate recruitment program. From my first day, I was entrusted with a leadership position overseeing a team of individuals, despite my limited professional experience. I was confronted with the challenge of managing an underperforming and dysfunctional team. To address these issues, I implemented policies to motivate and upskill employees, including regular training sessions, team bonding activities, and in-house performance reviews. These efforts resulted in remarkable improvements in overall performance metrics, including a 90% client retention rate, which earned me several accolades and recommendations. Initially, I found the challenge overwhelming, but I soon realized that it was an opportunity for growth and development. As they say, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

Why did you choose this business school? I chose INSEAD for several reasons. First, INSEAD is a truly global business school with campuses in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and a student body representing more than 80 nationalities. As someone who wanted to experience a truly diverse community, I was drawn to the opportunity to study and network with a diverse group of classmates from all around the world.

Second, INSEAD’s rigorous academic curriculum and emphasis on practical, hands-on learning through case studies, Master Strategist Day, virtual reality technology, and the opportunity to work on real-world projects resonated with my learning style and professional goals. I appreciated the focus on developing practical business skills and the opportunity to explore cutting-edge technology, research, and ideas.

Finally, I was impressed by the supportive and collaborative culture exhibited by most INSEAD alumni I contacted. The school’s strong alumni network and career services resources were particularly appealing to me, as I believe they will provide invaluable support and opportunities as I navigate my career. I felt that INSEAD would not only provide me with a world-class education, but also a strong community of peers and mentors to support me throughout my career.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor is Theodoros Evgeniou who taught us Understanding Data and Judgement (Statistics). He stands out to me because of his unique approach to teaching. He goes beyond academics and instead focuses on preparing us for the real world. Not only does he make statistics interesting (which, let’s be honest, is a feat in itself), but he challenges us to question our beliefs and confront our biases using some real-life lessons. Beyond his teaching style, he is also fun, unconventional, and unpredictable in the classroom, which makes for an engaging and enjoyable learning experience.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Organizational Behavior has emerged as my preferred subject because of its in-depth examination of human behavior within organizational contexts. Through this course, I have gained a comprehensive understanding of the complexities that underlie effective collaboration, including the roles of individuals, teams, and organizations. Moreover, I have appreciated the opportunity to learn from my classmates’ diverse experiences and explore how cultural differences can shape organizational behavior across different societies.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite MBA event at INSEAD was Master Strategist Day. This event allowed us to apply our strategic thinking and problem-solving skills to a real-life company facing significant challenges. This year, we had the opportunity to work with Chateau de Fontainebleau, which was an exciting and insightful experience. In diverse teams, we leveraged our individual strengths and backgrounds to analyze the Chateau’s current situation and provide innovative solutions. The event provided a unique opportunity to engage with the company’s management team, learn about their business first-hand, and network with industry professionals. My team might not have won, but I take great comfort in knowing a team from my section won – Go E9!!!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? As I have not finished my MBA yet, it is difficult to say what I would do differently. However, based on my experience so far, I believe I would prioritize taking on more leadership roles in extracurricular activities and group projects. While I have been involved in various activities and projects, I realize that taking on leadership positions can provide me with more opportunities to develop my skills and network with others. By leading a team or project, I can practice communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills and demonstrate my abilities to potential employers.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the most interesting misconceptions about the INSEAD MBA program is that it’s only suitable for those seeking a high-paying job, usually in consulting. While it’s true that many INSEAD graduates go on to successful and lucrative careers in consulting, it’s not the only reason to pursue an MBA at the school.

INSEAD offers many opportunities for students to pursue their passions and interests outside of the traditional corporate path. For example, the school has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and social impact, providing students with the tools and resources to start their own ventures or make a positive impact in their communities.

So, while a high-paying job may be a desirable outcome for many INSEAD graduates, it’s not the only reason to pursue an MBA at the school. As they say, “Follow your passions and the money will follow…hopefully!”

What did you love most about your business school’s town? I absolutely love having my MBA in Fontainebleau because of the town’s rich history and cultural heritage. It is incredible to be surrounded by so much history and witness how it has shaped the town’s economy over time. Plus, being able to tell my friends that I study in a town where Napoleon Bonaparte used to live is definitely a cool party trick.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised to learn how intense and fast-paced the program is. The INSEAD MBA program is like a whirlwind of knowledge and activity, where you’re constantly bombarded with new information and experiences at lightning speed. Despite the intensity, it’s also incredibly rewarding, and I’ve learned a lot in a short time.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Elaborating on my personal experiences was a game-changer in my INSEAD application. It allowed me to showcase how my unique background and skills could contribute to the program and set me apart from other candidates. By highlighting my experiences in different roles and cultures, I demonstrated my adaptability, creativity, resilience, and uniqueness. While applicants may hesitate to get personal in their application, it can be a simple yet effective way to gain an advantage.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Out of all my MBA classmates, Gurpreet Arora takes the cake for being my favorite. I mean, who else can boast a track record as impressive as his, not just in business but also in medicine? His work in Mundri, South Sudan, whiles working with Doctors Without Borders, is nothing short of heroic. He bravely battled extreme weather, armed conflict, and a severe lack of resources to bring life-saving care to a displaced population of 100,000. Gurpreet pulled off the impossible, introducing 24/7 ER services, setting up better supply forecasting and reporting mechanisms, and even opening a new health center in Kediba. His dedication and ambition saved countless lives, and I can’t help but be inspired by his unwavering optimism in the face of adversity. Oh, and did I mention that he saved a baby, and the baby’s family even wanted to name their baby after him? Unfortunately, they had difficulty pronouncing “Gurpreet,” so they went with “Jacob” instead, after one of Gurpreet’s German colleagues. You can’t win them all, but Gurpreet still remains a winner in my books.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I aspire to achieve two primary goals in my professional journey: First, I want to gain valuable experience working in developed economies. Second, I want to utilize that experience to contribute towards addressing the distinctive challenges encountered by emerging economies.

What made Albert such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“I am writing to recommend Kweku Gyamfi, our excellent MBA student,. Kweku is a banking professional from Ghana with an impressive track record of helping small and medium-sized firms access credit in a frontier market. In his six years at Accessbank, he received multiple promotions and won numerous awards. Kweku’s passion for developing emerging economies has motivated him to contribute to the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in Ghana. Kweku’s drive to contribute to the growth of emerging economies started during his time as a research assistant at the University of Ghana, long before he entered the banking industry. During his time as a research assistant at the University of Ghana, Kweku collaborated with the University of Lund on a project aimed at uncovering the reasons for agricultural yield gaps in Eastern and Western Africa. The findings provided valuable insights into Africa’s agricultural sector and helped inform policies to improve agricultural productivity and reduce poverty.

Kweku’s contribution to the MBA program is unique and significant. Kweku’s Ghanaian perspective and experience make him a valuable addition to any MBA program, as he brings diversity and a fresh outlook to the classroom. His experience and background working with small and medium-sized firms in a frontier market provide a rare perspective on the program. He is an active participant in class discussions, sharing his insights and experiences, which makes for more engaging and enlightening discussions. Kweku’s deep understanding of emerging economies’ challenges and opportunities is commendable. Moreover, Kweku’s leadership skills and ability to collaborate with others are remarkable. He has participated in various group projects and has consistently demonstrated his willingness to go above and beyond to ensure that the group delivers high-quality work. His team members have praised him for his leadership and motivation toward achieving their goals.

Kweku stood out in the core Organizational Behavior. His maturity and unique perspective enabled him to look at problems from multiple angles and tackle challenging issues in search for integrative solutions. Kweku is both a leader and a team player. He knows when to be in front and when to support others. In many occasions, his vulnerability and openness advanced class discussions, encouraging other students to share their unique perspectives, reflect and learn from one another. I thoroughly enjoyed having him in my course. I also appreciate his contribution to the Africa Business Club, driving positive change and increasing awareness of tremendous business potential in African countries.”

Ella Miron-Spektor

INSEAD Europe Campus

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