Oxford MBA Scholarship Targets African Business Leaders Of The Future

Oxford MBA Scholarship Targets African Business Leaders Of The Future

Two of South Africa’s brightest corporate talents have been awarded scholarships to join the prestigious Oxford MBA program as part of the University’s push to support Africa’s future business leaders.

The scholarships, awarded by the Saïd Business School at Oxford, are designed to support outstanding students who intend to return to Africa to pursue business careers.

Samkelisiwe Peter, an associate in the corporate finance/mergers and acquisitions division at Rand Merchant Bank, is the recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship, while Andrea Maitre Warriner, who works in strategic planning at the Johannesburg-based Africa Health Placements, has received the Saïd Foundation Scholarship.

The Dean of Saïd Business School, Peter Tufano, whose own family will fund Peter’s scholarship, said the school was helping to put young Africans at the forefront of the continent’s business development.

“The African continent holds incredible opportunities that are driving economic growth,” Tufano said in a statement. “Yet it also faces some of the most challenging problems in the world that will require strong vision and leadership.

“The Oxford MBA program scholarships are aimed at ambitious young professionals who are committed to change initiatives that will support the continent’s growth and raise the quality of life for many of its citizens.”

He said the scholarship program would be extended to provide more opportunities for talented Africans.

“I am committed to finding other donors who can help the school welcome a large contingent of future African leaders,” he added.

Peter, who will be taking a sabbatical from Rand Merchant Bank to take advantage of the scholarship, intends to eventually use the Oxford MBA as a platform to launch his own private equity fund in South Africa.

He said the MBA would serve as the perfect pivot to help him transition from an analytical advisory role into managerial and leadership positions.

Building PE Firms, Aid Agencies

“The knowledge gained from people from all corners of the globe and all walks of life at Oxford will allow me to expand my network and gain the knowledge needed to build strong African businesses through active ownership as a private equity investor,” he said.

“In the short term I want to gain private equity exposure building a reputation of strong investment acumen and results in emerging markets.

“Ultimately I aim to establish a fund in South Africa strongly focused on investing in developing regions on the continent. I aim to build scalable cross-continent companies that holistically impact the economies and the people in the regions where they operate.”

He said the Oxford University MBA’s strong focus on both private equity and Africa were big draw cards, as was the proximity to London, Europe’s business capital.

On the other hand, Warriner hopes to start a not-for-profit health sector-based strategic consultancy firm at home in South Africa at the end of the one-year Oxford program.

“This country faces some of the most challenging social problems in the world, yet solutions are often only available for those who can pay for them – I hope to change that,” she said. “I would like to begin this consulting enterprise in public health, and expand it within the public and social sector and across Africa.

“A particular area of interest is consulting within organizational development and assisting with the leadership of people – for example tackling the issue of how individuals and teams need to behave in their context if developmental change is to be successful. Almost all other change initiatives will fall flat if this question isn’t answered first.”

She said she was looking forward to using Oxford to help her develop and shape her own projects.

“I also hope to meet people who might partner with me in future projects. You know that saying: ‘give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe’ – I think the Oxford MBA will be a great axe-sharpener.”