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Entrepreneurship Has New Meaning for Ghanaian Student at Babson

You only have this semester to meet Nana Ama Akosa, a junior from Ghana, at Babson. She is here for the spring term as the first student in Babson’s Emerging Scholars Program.

Nana Ama is a student at Ashesi University College, in the capital city of Accra, where she studies business. Before coming here, her plan was to go to law school after graduation. She thought her mind was made up. (Read the school’s write-up about Nana Ama’s scholarship on Ashesi’s website.)

Being a Babson student, however, has given her a new view, opening a wide range of possibilities. She continues to consider law, but is also thinking of going into international consulting to help new Ghanaian businesses.

According to Nana Ama, “There is so much opportunity there now, especially with the recent discovery of oil – and companies are coming in to Ghana to benefit from that.”

Here are some of my questions with her answers:

How has being at Babson helped with career goals?

·         “It has opened my eyes to opportunities I had not even considered!”

What has been the biggest challenge?  

·         “Balancing time has been the toughest. I want to do everything!”

Have there been any surprises?  Here’s the list…

·         “I didn’t stand out; the student body is so multicultural!”

·         “Students, faculty and staff are very friendly; it was easy for me to get involved and immersed.”

·         “I love teaching you all about Ghana – people here think all Africa is the same; some even think it is one country!”

·         “Winter weather!  I was not prepared for it.”

·         “The lack of public transportation was a big surprise; I’m used to having a ride available all the time and everywhere!”

·         “Babson focuses less on textbook teaching and more on real-life business experience. I really like it.”

·         “The impact of extracurricular activities on preparing students for ‘life’ is emphasized here. I see how valuable that is.”

What will you take back to Ghana that you didn’t expect?

·         “I’d like to see if Ashesi can be less academic-centered.  I’d also like to see volunteerism improve generally, like it is at Babson.”

·         “I’ll be excited to tell Ghanaians how friendly Americans are and that they are generally confident and patriotic – but in a good way.”

·         “People here act like they can do anything. The sky is the limit. Like it is said: ‘It is possible at Babson’.”

She wants to leave these facts to Babson:

·         “Africans are friendly!”

·         “Africa isn’t just about genocide, poverty, and war.”

·         “Ghana isn’t backward; we’re much more and bigger than any of that!”

·         “I appreciate this opportunity. I hope such efforts will continue!”

·         “I encourage you all to visit Ghana.”

She has immersed herself fully into Babson life and learning and will bring Babson’s spirit back to Ghana with her.

A Bit about The Emerging Scholars Program at Babson College

Babson College is committed to providing the opportunity for a small, select group of highly qualified students from emerging market countries to attend Babson for one semester at no or very limited cost. The Emerging Scholars Program is open to two to three students per year from schools with which Babson has a strong (but usually non-exchange) relationship. A committee consisting of the Undergraduate Dean, at least one faculty member and a representative of the Glavin Center will oversee the program, deciding on the number of students, potential partner schools, and the admissions and selection process for students. Students chosen will be enrolled for one semester at Babson and be entitled to enroll in a full load of undergraduate courses and live in Babson undergraduate housing.

Students chosen under the program will receive a waiver of normal Babson tuition and room charges for one semester. Students will be responsible for other ordinary charges, but various not-for-profit organizations have also provided partial support for students under this program in the past.