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The Accra Team

Volume 2, 2017

Don’t be fooled by the comparatively modest size of the CEIBS Accra Campus. There’s a lot going on at this base for the school’s operations in Africa.  This year participants from across the continent who have enrolled in the CEIBS Global EMBA programme are learning alongside peers from – and in – Europe and Asia.  One hundred and fifty-eight women with a strong interest in running their own business have already completed the Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership for Africa (WELA) programme and more will benefit from courses being offered in Accra, Lagos and Johannesburg this November. Last year CEIBS Accra Campus offered four fully-funded Executive Education Open Programmes as part of its corporate social responsibility initiatives in the region and 210 leaders from the private and public sectors have been trained so far this year through various executive education courses.

CEIBS’ foray into Africa dates back to 2008 and some of the existing staff have been with the school from the very beginning. Others have since joined the 13-member team being led by Executive Director Mathew Tsamenyi, who is also Professor of Management Practice in Accounting. In this issue we introduce you to Celestine and Kenneth who have been with CEIBS in Africa from the very beginning, along with Samuel and Thelma who joined the team within the last two years.


Samuel Ocloo-Dzaba, Alumni and Corporate Relations Manager

“I initially joined CEIBS as an Admissions Coordinator for the CEIBS Africa Global EMBA and Executive Education programmes. That meant managing the entire admissions process from the initial enquiry through to enrolment. I also worked with the marketing team to raise awareness of these programmes among key internal and external interest groups by organising on-campus recruitment events and representing CEIBS off-campus. And I supported the marketing team in the development and implementation of marketing and student recruitment strategies.

Now, as the Alumni and Corporate Relations Manager, I’m the intermediary between our alumni and the school. I build genuine relationships with corporate clients and I’m also largely responsible for all marketing and communications efforts for the Accra Campus.

Unlike my former role, which mostly had me sitting at my desk, I now spend most of my time outside the office meeting new people and sharing the CEIBS story.

I’m determined to engage our alumni even more and ensure that their interactions with CEIBS provide them with such great added value that they naturally want to become active members of the CEIBS family. I’m convinced that if our alumni feel valued and appreciated, they will not hesitate to provide the leads, referrals and even resources that the school needs for future growth.

I’m excited to be a part of the CEIBS community. I had my first visit to the Shanghai Campus in April and look forward to working even more closely with the teams in China and Europe. I believe there are ways in which we can leverage our resources and efforts as we work towards our shared goals. For example, CEIBS staff around the globe could support social intervention projects on the African continent which would generate wide publicity and visibility for the school. We could also explore developing an annual event which would bring Chinese business executives and investors to Africa where they could interact with CEIBS alumni and other local businesses. This could potentially create opportunities for the development of home grown businesses in Africa.” 


Thelma Opara, Head Business Development, Sales & Marketing, Africa; Country Manager, Nigeria

“In my former role as Country Manager for Nigeria, I was focused on growing the CEIBS brand, recruiting students, organising and running programmes within that specific country. I effectively managed all CEIBS-related affairs in Nigeria, from running the office to interfacing with the alumni chapter.

In my current position as Head of Business Development, Sales and Marketing for all of Africa, in addition to my responsibilities for Nigeria, I am also responsible for developing new businesses across Africa and recruiting students from across the continent.  

My strong knowledge and understanding of the Nigerian market, in particular, and the African market in general, their cultures and the psychology of their people have given me a great advantage in doing my job. More importantly, six years of experience working in the foremost business school in Nigeria, LBS, at different executive levels in both the Alumni department and the Sales and Marketing department gave me adequate exposure and in-depth knowledge of the management education sector in Nigeria – and Africa as a whole. In addition, my ability to learn and make decisions quickly has also been a great resource in effectively carrying out my duties.

CEIBS still has a long way to go to build a strong brand in Africa. If resources were not an issue, I would make frequent business trips to more African countries, participate in business events across the region, which would give CEIBS greater visibility as well as strengthen its brand recognition in Africa. I would also organise more experiential marketing events like the AVIC programme, to attract clientele who are more suited to CEIBS’ target market.  My job would be less challenging if there was a better understanding of the peculiarities of the African continent, particularly its diversity, and adjustments were made – especially to the Global EMBA admission process – to accommodate these unique features. I also think that deeper integration of activities across CEIBS’ various locations would go a long way towards us having a more holistic and integrated view and approach to work; so too would opportunities for ‘shadowing’ peers on the job. And of course more financial support for brand promotion activities would make things so much easier.

Despite the challenges I enjoy working at CEIBS. So far my best memory of my time with the school is the graduation ceremony which took place in Accra in January 2017. That was when the very first set of Nigerian WELA ladies I recruited (38 women of substance, the highest number ever recorded in the school's history) and the first set of EMBAs I recruited graduated. Watching each of them mount the podium to receive his/her certificate filled my heart with a sense of accomplishment and joy. I couldn't help recalling their individual journeys and marvelling at the transformations that had taken place during the programmes.”


Kenneth Assan, Senior Class Coordinator and Academic Administrator

“I was originally hired as Assistant Librarian and Class Coordinator but in my current role – though I still do a bit of work managing the Accra Campus Library – my responsibilities have increasingly been related to ensuring that courses and academic programmes are successfully delivered in line with CEIBS’ high standards.

As Senior Class Coordinator I work on class management and coordination of every programme organised by CEIBS in Africa. Meanwhile, as Academic Administrator I manage students’ records and the blackboard learning platform and library operations of CEIBS Accra Campus. I also help prepare accurate data on our programmes and academics, which is used for accreditation purposes etc., as well as prepare academic certificates and transcripts as needed.

I have the distinction of being the only member of the CEIBS Accra Campus team who has played a key role in the administrative side of the EMBA and Executive Education programmes offered since CEIBS’ inception in Africa. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to gain a wealth of experience which helps me work with people from different backgrounds (culture, mind-set, work experience).

My best memory of CEIBS so far is advice I got from Professor Kwaku Atuahene-Gima in May 2009. It was the second day of the first CEIBS EMBA module in Accra. He said, ‘Ken I know you work hard but if you want to work with CEIBS then you better be smart!’ His words have had a profound impact on my career at CEIBS.”


Celestine Kumahor, Programmes Delivery and Events Manager

“I was originally hired as a Marketing Executive in 2008 but have been subsequently promoted to various positions. Now as the Programmes Delivery & Events Manager, my primary role is to liaise with the Executive Director in the planning and successful execution of all programmes to meet international standards. I’m responsible for all CEIBS Accra programmes delivered both locally and internationally.

The difference between this and the other responsibilities I’ve had over the years at CEIBS is that now I manage a team of four, I’m allowed to make 60% to 85% of all decisions regarding my role and I’m also accountable for the outcome of these decisions. I promote the unique CEIBS brand through the delivery of the GEMBA, WELA and Executive Education programmes along with events such as seminars, graduations and study trips abroad.

I’m the only CEIBS Accra Campus employee who has worked in almost all the departments (Marketing, Admissions, Academic Affairs, Corporate Services, Events and Programmes) in Africa. I’ve learned a lot but I think I still have a lot to learn about what goes on at our other campuses. I think it’s important to integrate with our colleagues from China and Switzerland, to learn from them on the job and to get a better understanding of our various cultures.

I’ve had a long journey with CEIBS, and there have been some great experiences along the way. But my best memories are from the first two years (2008 to 2010). There were only five of us, and I was the only person doing marketing – though I didn’t have a marketing background. We had very limited resources but our passion helped us meet our target of recruiting 42 students for the first EMBA class in Accra. I will never forget what my then boss, Prof Kwaku Atuahene Gima, said to me. He said, ‘Employing you is the best thing to have happened to CEIBS Africa.’ Then three months later CEIBS President Prof Pedro Nueno said to me, ‘Thank you for your dedication and hard work. You are an asset to CEIBS.’ Today, those words of encouragement are still my source of strength and my motivation to give my very best to CEIBS from the school’s Accra Campus!”



Accra Campus Staff

Mathew Tsamenyi – Executive Director

Samuel Ocloo-Dzaba – Alumni and Corporate Relations Manager

Thelma Opara – Country Manager, Nigeria; Head Business Development, Sales & Marketing, Africa

Celestine Kumahor – Programmes Delivery and Events Manager

Mavis Akrofi – Finance and Administration Manager

Chigozirim Chukuemeka – Marketing and Administrative Executive, Nigeria

Kenneth Assan – Senior Class Coordinator and Academic Administrator

Winfred Nyarko – Finance Officer

Fafali Opoku – Class Coordinator

Benjamin Diabah – Research Associate

Abena Korantema Botchway – Marketing Executive

Elikplim Quaicoe – Marketing Executive

Lawrencia Ofori – Human Resource and Administrative Assistant 

Diana Nani – Programmes Coordinator