African economies are not growing at the expected rate in spite of abundant natural resources. A lot of factors are at play. But Henley Business School, Africa, in collaboration with Advertising Agencies of Nigeria’s (AAAN) initiative, AdCademy, is tackling this challenge from the platform of developing business managers who will strengthen their intellect and innovation abilities. Daniel Obi writes on Henley Business School’s partnership with the association and the scholarships to Nigerian professionals.
Henley Business School, Africa, recently offered scholarships worth over N15 million to five Nigerians, with the aim of developing and upskilling them into more efficient entrepreneurial leaders in the Nigerian economy. The programmes are fully accredited, and each is completed in 12 months’ of part-time study.
The school’s objective in partnership with AAAN’s AdCademy is to continuously build a pool of high-quality Nigerian business managers, especially in this challenging time when businesses are laid prostrate by socio-economic vagaries.
The scholarships, awarded to upcoming managers in the creative/advertising industry, are coming in the same year that the school is celebrating 30 years in Africa. Henley Africa has demonstrated a deeper interest in seeing Nigeria, and to a large extent, African economies, grow faster through developing intellectual and innovative processes more than relying on extracting finite natural resources.
Modern-day transition of many economies is largely depended on high technology, ICT and high value-added intellectual properties, which is not so much the case in most African economies. However, the leaders of Henley Africa believe that African economies can transform quickly based on the intellect and innovation capabilities that are nurtured in the creative industries.
“We developed these scholarships because we believe that the catalyst for deep transformation of economies to make them rich, diverse, resilient and growing faster is based on exceptional business education”, said Jon Foster-Pedley, dean and director of Henley Africa, while unveiling the scholarship awardees from his Johannesburg, South Africa, base.
The school gave full scholarships to two individuals while three others got 50% bursaries on Henley’s Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice. Recipients of full scholarships worth $7,000 each are Nkedilim Monye, Account Planner, Imaginarium Marketing Communications and Sheriff Akinpelu, Founder of Strategy Trybe.
The 50% bursaries were awarded to Joy Akemo Daniel of Agile Communications Ltd, Nabila Abdulmajeed of Imaginarium Marketing Communications and Abiona Elizabeth of Care by Zest. Their presentations to merit the award were considered outstanding by the judges.
Jon Foster-Pedley explained that each scholarship takes one year of part-time study to complete. The programmes are designed to be completed while working and are deeply experiential, focused on building character, mastering systems thinking, design thinking, critical thinking and mastering creativity. The learning is embedded in the workplace so people can apply what they are learning immediately in real time.
While explaining that business people need creative acumen and creative people also need business acumen, Foster-Pedley said the school gives this award to people who have demonstrated signs of leadership and practice, committed their time to build society and develop new businesses. “We are looking at building more scholarships and to allow partners to co-fund that”.
Foster-Pedley, who is based in South Africa and interested in extending the footprint of the business school in the continent, said the programme is imbued with management practice. “We want to build managers who build businesses. People who manage businesses get things done and see projects through to completion, beyond the rhetoric. That is why we want to support Nigeria with the capacity building that will demonstrate leadership and set examples across Africa.”
He expressed delight that the collaboration with AAAN on the AdCademy initiative is a collaboration with the deep intent to transform economies with new, high-level intellectual and creative skills, rather than via growth based on oil, gold and primary factors. He said: “Henley Africa’s mission is to build the people who build the businesses that build Africa, and in collaborating with AAAN we hope together to set a model of African development to the world.”
“Our interest is to build confident people who are not perpetually looking up to other countries for help and example, but who are rather able to stand masterfully on their own feet and build Africa on their own terms based on their own talents and capabilities.” Foster-Pedley said.
The motivation of both AdCademy and Henley is to make world-class education available and accessible to young professionals in Nigeria. The aim is to close the availability, affordability and accessibility gaps to quality education with a view to upskill professionals.
Truly, AdCademy appears to have found an ally in Henley Business School Africa, established since 1992 in Africa. Globally, Henley has over 80,000 alumni in over 160 countries, a growing network focused on developing leaders for a fairer world.
Jean-Pierre Choulet, Director of Development and Alumni at Henley Business School, who spoke from London, described AAAN as a fantastic organisation. He noted that unlocking human capital in Africa for Africa is critical for the continent.
Noting the challenges, the world is going through, including financial crisis, pandemic, digital transformation and climate change, Jean-Pierre Choulet said “What is happening to the world is steady uncertainty. In a world of more and more technology, what is it that we need? We need to be more human and champion human capital”.
Steve Babaeko, the President of AAAN expressed delight on the partnership with Henley Business School. He said the partnership demonstrates the deepening of the relationship that AAAN through AdCademy started last year with Henley. “This relationship will surely allow Henley to engage in some of the programmes run at AdCademy”.
“We are doing this because we truly believe in the future of our industry and making sure that the quality of human capital that we develop here continues to raise the bar and by so doing, build a stronger advertising industry not just for Nigeria but Africa”.
This is also important; I am not unmindful of the fact that AAAN will be 50 years as an organisation next year. This is laying the brick as part of the journey as we move into our centenary age. This is the kind of solid foundation we desire. All of this concrete foundation we are building is to help position the association into the future”.
Babaeko congratulated the scholarship awardees and tasked them to make the best use of it as the industry is developing its manpower for the future.