Q&A with Euince Ofori, INSEAD MBA Scholar and Olam Scholar 2017-2018
• Tell us about your life in your home country?
I live in Tema, Ghana which is about 30 kilometers from the capital city, Accra. I grew up with a single mum and three siblings. For the last five years, I have been working at a freight and shipping company. I was the company’s first employee and since I joined I’ve been promoted to Head of Operations. Working for a start-up has pushed me to be more versatile, reliable and productive than I might otherwise have been.
• Are you nervous about the year ahead?
I’m really looking forward to what I hope will be an incredible year, full of new experiences and encounters. The INSEAD MBA class is very diverse, so I am expecting classmates with different views and opinions shaped by our individual experiences and backgrounds. I think the course will equip me well for a career in international business and prepare me to do well in any environment I find myself in going forward. Right now, I am swarmed with things I need to do before I leave. Honestly, it’s quite overwhelming. But I keep telling myself, ‘you’ve got this, everyone else is probably feeling the same.’ One thing I know for sure, I deserve to be there. The only thing that I need to get cracking on is my French skills. I am already learning a little in a language class but I hope that being in France will mean I pick up a lot more.
• Where do you see yourself in the future? Do you plan to return to your home country?
My ultimate aim is to set up a venture capital company in Africa. I hope that I’ll learn some of the skills I need from the MBA. Another thing I really want to accomplish is to set up Ghana’s first food bank. I was working towards this with my local Church but sadly haven’t yet been able to make it happen. The fact that basic needs in Africa are still not met moves me. I’m already planning how I will move forward with the food bank when I get back home.
• If you plan to do so, in what specific ways do you hope to change Africa for the better?
Ghana, and to a large extent the whole of Africa, lags behind the rest of the world in providing value-added products and services. Most of the economies in the continent are import driven despite the fact we have ample talent and natural resources at home. Lack of easy access to finance has a huge part to play as it means businesses can’t scale up and provide products and services that meet international standards. Having helped build a company from the ground up, I can testify to the fact that this lack of financing and institutional support is one of the biggest challenges new and existing businesses face in Ghana. I think that business can be a force for good in the world and I want to help SMEs in my own country to flourish.
• What do you do in your spare time?
I spend most of my free time helping my mum, Angela, who runs her own bakery, named after her, Angie’s Bakery. Over the last few years, I have gotten involved in kick boxing and Judo. I also spent some time involved in church activities to help the neighbourhood.