May 29, 2011

Study Trip To Ghana

I recently co-led study tour trip to Ghana with 24 other students from the University of Washington's Leadership MBA program. In planning this Global Study Tour, our primary goal was to provide aspiring leaders with first hand opportunities to learn how global business leaders approach key challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.

We chose Ghana for several reasons including her rich culture and history, economic climate, access to industrial sectors and favorable public relations and political climate. We met and engaged with senior level executives of large, thriving indigenous and multinational organizations.

Study Tour Initiative
1. Company Visits: Meet with Senior Business Leaders – discuss challenges & opportunities
2. Visit Educational Institutions: Leadership Symposiums
3. Non-Government Organizations: Focus on Micro Finance
4. Cultural Activities: Visit key tourist sites such as Cape Coast, Ashanti King Palace, Kente Village and learn the Adowa dance.

By interacting with executives and observing company practices, UW Students learned firsthand knowledge of challenges and opportunities involved in driving business initiatives across international markets. Ultimately students from the UW MBA program returned to the USA with a better understanding how national and multi-national organizations operate in a global business environment. A second goal of the study tour was to provide students the opportunity to experience a foreign culture first-hand through music, customs, cuisine, and architectural sights. The tour provided us with opportunities to learn about new cultures with fellow peers, student leaders, and the faculty representative.

The tour also yielded some key insights on that impact Microsoft in Ghana/WECA. Most notably :
- Competitive Landscape – Google is the new “Cool”
- Potential increase in revenue due to influx of foreign investments
- Ghana is expected to have the fastest growing economy in 2011 – World Bank
- Potential partnerships with Telecommunication providers to deploy cloud and hosted services
- Emerging business opportunities with Mobile apps
Clearly the West African region presents very compelling business opportunities for local and multi-national organizations. Ghana in particular, is poised for very strong economic growth, driven in large part by incremental revenue from it's key natural resources - Oil, Cocoa and Gold