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Greetings from Guy: An African Success Story

 width=I invite you to join me in celebrating a great African success story. Its central character, Mame Yauto Faye was recently awarded a prestigious Berkeley’s Oasis Award as one of three “women who are changing the Sahel.” The other protagonists are Amadou Diaw, Founder and President of Senegal’s Institut SupŽrieur de Management (ISM), Eric Guichard, Founder and CEO of GRAVITAS Capital, Michiel Leenders and Louise Mauffette formerly of Canada’s Ivey Business School; Lluis Renart of Barcelona’s IESE Business School; and last but not least, Conrad Person, Michael Bzdak and Rene Kiamba of Johnson&Johnson (J&J), the champions of that company’s Management Development Institute (MDI).

GBSN was the catalyst that brought these passionate people together. ISM Dakar, Ivey Business School and IESE Business School are GBSN member schools.


Amadou Diaw is a visionary leader, social entrepreneur before the expression gained currency. He has created ISM and has grown it into the foremost business school in francophone Sub-Saharan Africa. His pioneering story can be found in GBSN’s “Cutting a Path to Prosperity Ð How education pioneers are building better business schools for the developing worthÉ and why” (Download Here).Eric Guichard walked into my office one day in 2006 when I was working at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. He had gone to high school and university in Senegal and completed his studies at Harvard Business School. In his words, this gave him a unique perspective on instilling innovative thinking and problem solving. He was keenly aware of the huge gap between the number of English language case studies and those available in French, let alone the extreme paucity of cases involving local protagonists in francophone Africa. Eric’s company, GRAVITAS Capital, most generously gave GBSN its first private grant, in order for us to partner with ISM in developing ten initial locally-rooted cases and teaching notes, the first such collection in francophone Africa.Eric Guichard, Founder and CEO of GRAVITAS CapitalMame Yauto Faye of ISM had been an early participant in a week-long GBSN pan-African faculty case teaching mentoring program, Teaching the Practice of Management, which is still being run today by the Association of African Business Schools.

Her’s is an extraordinary life story. In her words, “I am the youngest child of a very large family. My father imparted in me a passion for studies, from private primary school, public high school, Cheikh Anta Diop University where I earned an MA in English Studies with a major in African Culture and Civilizations. I went on to obtain a Master in Marketing & Communication, a Master of Research in Management & Organizations in Africa and an MBA in Strategy at Dakar’s Institut SupŽrieur de Management. I crowned my studies with a PhD in Business Administration from the US’s Atlantic International University. Thanks to our parents’ devotion and sacrifice all my sisters and brothers attended school through specialization.” Mame managed ISM’s case study initiative.Louise Mauffette and Michiel Leenders formerly of Canada’s Ivey Business School joined in. Motivated by a combination of curiosity about the case method and a desire to make it more effective and accessible for all participants, they had for decades researched and re-engineered the case method extensively and written books about case learning, writing and teaching. They also conducted case method workshops in many countries, including Kenya, where they worked under GBSN’s aegis. They sum up their motivation: “our greatest pleasure is to see these efforts bear fruit.”Work on the cases progressed, and in early 2007 Lluis Renart of Barcelona’s IESE Business School stepped in, and with Mame and her ISM colleagues, set out to do field work. They visited each of the companies involved, sometimes two or even three a day, and wrote first case drafts. He returned to Dakar later that year, faculty re-visited companies, and, coordinated by Mame, the team eventually finalized ten cases.

The cases were soon published, the first such collection in francophone Africa.Meanwhile J&J had been running MDI Ð a week-long senior management program for African medical personnel in English-speaking Africa. That program, part of J&J’s charity arm, was championed by Conrad and Michael at J&J headquarters and, based in Nairobi, Rene. GBSN collaborated with J&J, first in identifying African faculty who quickly replaced fly-in professors from UCLA; later extending MDI to francophone and lusophone Africa. ISM became the francophone MDI hub, and guess what? Mame Yauto Faye was put in charge of running ISM’s francophone program, the first cohort participating in 2016.Why am I telling this story? First, to celebrate Mame’s achievement. Second, to show how people who come together with a common aim can strengthen pedagogy at a young business school. Third to emphasize that it takes years to build local capacity Ð the only sustainable form of development; yet many aid organizations will only fund programs that show measurable outcomes within 3 years or so. Lastly, what are the outcomes ? Better-equipped ISM graduates and more effective medical services are truly improving African lives. My GBSN colleagues and I are very proud to be working with such exceptional women and men of good will.

Guy Pfeffermann is the Founder and CEO of the Global Business School Network