Alumni Profiles

Liza Azu

 

Nationality: Ghanaian

Year Graduated: 2015 (MBA'15D)

Current Role: Investment Professional, International Finance Corporation (IFC)

For one, I know that everywhere I go in the world, I am likely to meet a likeminded INSEADer!

Do share with us your background
I was previously an Investment Banker based in Ghana and Kenya. I studied Finance and Economics for both undergraduate and graduate studies (MSc Money & Banking, University of Exeter, U.K; BSc Business Administration (Majors: Finance, Economics) – Drake University, U.S.A)
 
What made you decide to do an MBA?
I was looking for a new challenge career-wise, in a more regional role, and decided an MBA would be the best way to transition into a new challenge. For me, the quality of the business school I attended was essential, as the MBA was partly about the skills and knowledge I would attain, but also about the people the programme would attract. I was very keen on a very diverse student body with renowned faculty, and INSEAD was the best I could find that provided exactly what I was looking for. The cherry on top of a very sweet cake was that it was only going to be a year off working.
 
How has INSEAD exceeded your expectations?
The people – from my classmates, to the professors, and even the staff – were fantastic! What amazed me was the diversity – people’s experiences from all over the world. For example, I met someone in my class who is probably more Ghanaian than I am, and definitely knows more about my country than I do (a bit embarrassing for me, I must admit) but officially appears as Indian in the statistics. Also the diversity in backgrounds – from the typical bankers, consultants and engineers, to doctors, lawyers, and even an artist!
 
Do you intend to remain in the same industry or looking to do a career switch?
I am in the process of making a slight switch from investment banking to development finance, which would allow me to use the skills I acquired through my previous role as a banker/project finance professional to have more of an impact in the world, and particularly in Africa.
 
How has the INSEAD MBA changed your life/perspectives?
For one, I know that everywhere I go in the world, I am likely to meet a likeminded INSEADer! It is amazing to think that INSEAD alumni are present in over 170 countries across the world, and I look forward to running into them everywhere life takes me. Being at INSEAD allowed me to create a bridge that enables me communicate with people of different nationalities, cultures, religions and viewpoints, a skill I definitely did not have to this extent before my INSEAD experience, and one that is very valuable in this increasing small global village we live in.
 
How would you describe the MBA curriculum?
The curriculum is great – it challenges everyone, as there is at least one class that is very unfamiliar ground but still very interesting. The cases used are very international, and I must say that I really enjoyed the cases written by INSEAD faculty. The electives, especially the Finance and Organisational Behaviour/Decision Science ones were amazing and challenged me to think in ways different from what I was used to!
 
How has the MBA programme aided you in your career?
I think the MBA changed the way I approach a lot of things, which has a huge impact on my future career. With the management and team work skills I acquired during my time at INSEAD, I believe I am better placed to lead a team of very diverse individuals, knowing my strengths and pain points, and my ability to manage both upwards and downwards will definitely get me far in my career.

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