African Leadership University - Educating Africa’s Future Leaders by Benard Ngaruiya (A’20)

by tuftsigl
Aug 17

For the last month, I have been working at the African Leadership University in Mauritius as an intern for the Strategic Operations team. The African Leadership University is one of the greatest resources for educating Africa’s future leaders.

Africa’s population is growing exponentially, and Africa is becoming a major labor resource for businesses both domestically and intercontinentally. With such a resource at the world’s disposal, ALU’s mission is to create a generation of social entrepreneurs and business leaders that can lead the continent through this revolutionary change.

As part of the Strategic Operations team, my work is comprised of studying the systems of operation surrounding performance, communication, resource management and budgeting for the university’s three campuses (Kigali, Rwanda; Nairobi, Kenya; and Pamplemousses, Mauritius).

In the first week, I was tasked with conversing with professionals in Nairobi who are planning to invest in the new Nairobi business management and professional development campus. I was then in charge of conducting research on sustainable performance management systems in practice and theory.

At the end of the third week, I had put together an in-depth, comprehensive proposal on how ALU could optimize its performance management systems as it created new campuses and increased its workforce.  I found that this could be done by tweaking some cultural practices and adopting new practices in the day-to-day operations.

The first thought that went through my mind while submitting the proposal was fear that I was not qualified to be making such proposals that would affect the operation of an entire institution of tertiary education. The second thought was a feeling of happiness and pride for being able to research a topic and put together the proposal. I was able to achieve this with a series of edits and supervision and direction from my supervisor.
I then took on another research task looking into the economic situation of a number of African states in an effort to gauge whether ALU could open new campuses in these regions. With direct, constant feedback from my supervisor, I am currently working on this task.

At the end of every week. I have a scheduled professional development workshop with my supervisor where we discuss the key skills that I have gained in every week’s assignment, and at the end of every month, we discuss how these skills could be put in to practice in various professional fields.
Professionally, this has been an insightful and well-guided step into the real world, and I value everything that I have learned.

One of the best things about being in Mauritius is that despite having a series of tasks to undertake, I am not without a shortage of exciting things to do. There are beautiful beaches and community activities that interns get to attend. We participated in the Mauritius marathon. We took a tour to all the regions on the island. We have had discussions with professionals from two finance and investment companies on the island.

I am very excited about this opportunity, and I look forward to learning and growing during the remainder of my time at ALU.