Business education in Africa: Challenges and breakthroughs – Ft. Enase Okonedo

On the sidelines of the Business Forum held at the American University in Cairo’s (AUC) New Cairo Campus earlier this year, Enase Okonedo, PhD, dean of the Lagos Business School, Pat-Atlantic University, Nigeria, spoke to Business Forward about the myriad of challenges facing the African continent’s business schools. What are the current disruptions and how can they be overcome? What does the future hold for business education in Africa? And what should business schools do to be best prepared and turn future challenges into opportunities? Watch our exclusive interview below or read on for the full transcript to find out.

What challenges are African business schools currently facing? And what challenges are they set to face in the future?

The current challenges that they face goes across the relevance of the curriculum and we are facing a lot of disruption now and even going into the future, in which we find that business and management education is delivered by a plethora of providers, not necessarily only business schools.

We have consulting companies. We have corporate academics and we have various tech companies that compete with business schools in educating the leaders of the future. Business schools therefore have to [sic] of how they can compete in this disruptive mode.

The second is that the traditional means of learning, which used to be between the four walls of a classroom, have been distrupted due to technology. I do think that that is an advantage for a continent like Africa with a rising population: to be able to take this learning to people wherever they may be using technology.

But, of course, business schools in Africa have to contend with the cost of delivering learning using technology. Apart from that, they also have to think about how to make this into profit for those that are profit-oriented.

How should African business schools change their programs to suit their regional contexts?

I think that when we talk about innovation in a global context or the macro context, we also have to think about business schools being innovative, in thinking about the unique ways that they can equip students with the skills that they will need for tomorrow.

It calls for innovation, not only in program delivery, but also in development of curriculums, working with industry and business, with the people who are going to benefit from this learning, trying to understand what the critical needs of employers and employees are today, and also retraining faculty to be able to deliver those courses.

I think for business schools to survive in the future, it calls for innovation, adaptability and new ways of thinking outside the box to be able to deliver this.

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