Introducing Nexford’s summer 2020 graduates

Anna Johnston
27.07.2020·5 min read

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, we celebrate our rising stars: meet our #NXUGrads

Let’s face it. 2020 has been a year to remember for all the wrong reasons. COVID-19 and ensuing shutdowns rock the global economy, a new wave of the next generation face questions: stick with the job you already have, find another one fast, or invest now to emerge from this crisis stronger?

As the world starts to reopen for business, some of our new graduates are now well-positioned to help spur their businesses, communities, and economies – after completing their MBA programs at Nexford University.

May 2020 Grad: Makram Kamel

Makram Kamel is planning section head at EVA pharma, one of Egypt’s leading pharmaceutical companies, which gained global notoriety in June 2020 for producing Remdesivir and Favipiravir, two drugs used in the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

Makram joined Nexford’s graduate degree program in April 2019, graduating 13 months later. “Joining Nexford didn’t only increase my business knowledge but also my interpersonal skills,” he says.

As an experienced section head, going back to school wasn’t the obvious choice for Makram – he had already proven himself working in the pharmaceuticals industry, and was a Supply Chain Professional Certified with a “CPIM & CSCP APICS” Certificate from The American University in Cairo. But Makram embraced the experience, taking a capstone with an intrapreneurial focus – working on a real-life project to help Eva Pharma.

At the height of the pandemic, Nexford introduced a new collaboration with LinkedIn Learning – that every enrolled learner could get unlimited free access to expert-led courses. Makram got straight to work earning an extra qualification “Time Management: Working From Home” – at the very moment the world was working remotely from their living rooms.

“My time management skills improved during my MBA journey.”

June 2020 grad: Kerelos Abdelmasseh Elmasseh

Eva Pharma’s customer service supervisor Kerelos Abdelmasseh Elmasseh added innovation to his repertoire of skills at Nexford. He joined his colleague Makram and graduated with his MBA in just 12 months.

“The MBA program at Nexford provided me with a complete view of business and how organizations are expanding globally, managing the internal system and developing multiple plans.”

Nexford’s learner network is ambitious, with a global community from 65+ countries – working at top companies such as Microsoft, Deloitte, Google, EY, GE, and GSK. It was through Nexford’s global network plus its modern’s methods – case studies and real-world application – that Kerelos learned about innovation “for the first time”.

Although most managers like to think they’re in control, customers wield power in directing a company’s investments. Before managers decide to develop a product, they must ask their customers first: do they want it? How big will the market be? Will it be profitable? The smarter the questions, the more aligned innovations are with the needs of the customers. This is what Kerelos learned.

May 2020 grad: Olutobi Temitope Makinde

Olutobi Temitope, financial planning, analysis, and reporting manager at Interswitch, an Africa-focused digital payments, and commerce company, joined Nexford in April 2019 and graduated with his MBA in 2020.

On day one, his goals were very different from the ones he holds today.

“The way I think has changed. The way I look at businesses has changed.”

He says: “Prior to joining the MBA, I looked at the business just as an employee’s perspective, the program has enabled me to view business with a 360 approach. From the regulatory perspective, and the management perspective.”

Nexford has reinvented how Olutobi thinks though problems: “I believe I can cope with any challenge because I have the necessary skills needed, I have a robust process on how to think through challenges.”

June 2020 grad: Odiri Ajakpovi

“Without Nexford I wouldn’t be as confident as I am.” Meet Odiri Ajakpovi. He works in HR at The Dangote Group, one of the most diversified business conglomerates in Africa with a hard-earned reputation for excellent business practices and products’ quality with its operational headquarters in the bustling metropolis of Lagos, Nigeria in West Africa.

In March 2019, Odiri embarked on his MBA adventure with Nexford and graduated in June 2020 – just as Lagos began to reopen after COVID-19 restrictions eased. Odiri loves to learn, he has three master’s degrees – he also has over six years’ work experience across industries, and studied across three different continents; Africa, Asia, and Europe, but online learning was new to him.

“I have never attended an online degree program before! I have always attended traditional classroom programs. This has actually helped me with my computer-savvy skills. This is the highlight.”

Another highlight, he says, was the faculty engagement. “They are there to assist at any given time! When you are drifting in terms of academic performance, they are always there to advise you and guide you on how to go about it.”

Odiri was selected by his organization to attend Nexford’s MBA. It was an “honor”, he says. “The skills will help me be relevant in the business world and help me to develop my managerial and communication skills. My goals now are to put what I have learned from the program into practice in my career.”

For example, he says, he has started a company in India. “I was doing business in India, learning how to communicate – not in Hindi, Bengali, or Marathi – but in a way that shows you respect the Indian culture, business, and lifestyle. And I have been able to gain respect from my Indian colleagues. I have also been able to build a rapport.”

So, there you have it. Four alumni. Four summer successes. Maybe it’s time to go back to school for you? If in doubt, here’s Olutobi’s no. 1 career hack: “Just believe in you, live with no doubts, you power the way.”

Get inspired: Discover programs

About the Author

Anna Johnston

Anna Johnston is an award-winning Head of Content, who tells galvanizing stories with a creative team at Nexford.

Anna was the overall Award 2020 winner for the business case: Satya Nadella at Microsoft: Instilling a Growth Mindset, with Professor Herminia Ibarra and Aneeta Rattan. She is formerly a writer at London Business School, consistently ranked among the world’s best its MBA.

Anna’s work has been published in Forbes, Thomson Reuters, Huffington Post, HR Magazine, the Financial Times, and thought-leading firms such as Accenture and McKinsey & Company.

Anna is a speaker, coach, and presenter. More information about her can be found on LinkedIn.

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