November 4, 2018
College is one of those experiences you would most likely never forget, from the first day you step unto campus grounds, through to graduation. For many Ashesi graduates, the future lies beyond the walls of their alma mater. Since Ashesi was founded 16 years ago, alumni have made significant strides in their impact; from establishing startups, working in the corporate world to impacting the community through social projects.
Nevertheless, there are a few who have found their niche right here at Ashesi, contributing to the community in a variety of ways and being a source of inspiration and guidance to many students. Below are a handful of alumni who share how their journey as employees at Ashesi begun and what keeps them coming up the steep, windy hill each day.
Zeina Kowalski ’14
For her final year project, Zeina drew a brand auditing framework for Ashesi. So it was only natural that Zeina joined the Admissions Department after graduating.
“I had never thought of working in education, but when I realized the contribution I could make to the community, I wanted to work here,” she shared. “As a Business Administration major, I was keen on applying my skills to build quite a fortune, but when I started to think of what I would do with the money I could make, I was convinced to giving back to my community.”
Working as a Marketing and Financial aid officer at Ashesi, Zeina steadily developed a passion for supporting education for students whose families earn low on the income bracket.
“When you spend about 80% of your time at a place, you may grow to love it, and I love that what I’m doing here at Ashesi leaves a visible mark,” she said. “Every day there is a learning curve and the small community feels like a family. Seeing the impact we make in the lives of students by providing them with financial support, seeing their progress every day, the outcomes they achieve and seeing them graduate has been very fulfilling for me. Fulfillment defines success for me. I don’t think finances should be a barrier for education for anyone. Working with admissions at Ashesi has developed my capacity to make an impact beyond Ashesi.”
Dennis Asamoah ’12
An academic and a techie at heart, Dennis Asamoah’ 12 loves to spend his time researching and sharing advancements in software, especially when it has anything to do with computer science. After graduating Ashesi with a Magna Cum Laude in Computer Science and an MSc. Computer Science degree from the University of Minnesota, Dennis felt it was time to come back home when a teaching role became vacant at Ashesi. Having garnered expertise on Natural Language Processing while in grad school, Dennis did not hesitate to take up the opportunity to share his knowledge with students at Ashesi.
“I felt that if I waited till after my Ph.D. to come back and teach, students wouldn’t benefit much from the knowledge I currently have. Natural language processing is still in its early stages and I wanted to expose students to it while it is still hot in the industry. Teaching here has been fantastic, the students are very curious and engaged, always contributing and making logical arguments. As an alum, I knew teaching here will be great, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. So it’s been a really good experience. Working at my alma mater makes me proud, especially because I went through Ashesi largely on scholarship. So, it feels very great to be able to come back and give back.”
Akua Ampah ’13
Spend 30 minutes with Akua, and she would have a useful tip to share with you. Always full of ideas and abreast with current corporate trends, Akua is your ally when you are seeking career advice. However, she would be quick to tell you, that 10 years ago, she would never have thought of working in Career Services.
Adamantly desiring to follow in her father’s footsteps, Akua took the Business Administration route to become a chartered accountant. However, after an internship at an accounting firm, she quickly realized she was not built for desk work and numbers.
“I realized I enjoyed interacting with people and after taking a class in Human Resource Management, I knew that was what I wanted to do,” she shared. “I learned that I got a lot more fulfillment when I helped people who were trying to find their feet career-wise to develop professionally, for instance, people who were fresh out of college and new to the corporate world. So, I spent my time helping people at church edit their CVs and prepare for interviews. I also started a virtual career office blog where I share tips for issues I realized a lot of people faced.”
Not long after, a role in the Career Services Department at Ashesi became vacant and she was the perfect fit. “Ashesi has definitely played a big role in my career development,” she said. “I needed the experience I’ve gained here. This is what I see myself doing in the long-term but in many other spaces in industry.”
William Annoh ’16
For William, life after college seemed ripe with multiple pathways towards achieving his dreams of becoming a Financial Analyst. However, while deciding between pursuing opportunities in the corporate world or furthering his education at the graduate level, William realized that pursuing work at Ashesi would give him the opportunity to do both.
After working on a contract basis for a year as an Administrative Assistant in the Business Department, William shared that his interest in business management & entrepreneurship grew tremendously.
“Working at Ashesi has been an awesome kickstart to my career in terms of the network I am building and the experience I am gaining,” he shared. “Not only in higher education but in entrepreneurship, fundraising, stakeholder engagement and more. Being able to contribute to Ashesi’s mission to train ethical and entrepreneurial leaders and being part of their story drives my being here. One of the highlights of my time here at Ashesi is the work I do with the Ashesi Enterprise Fund; I get to support students working on their business models through mentoring, grants, loans, entrepreneurial events. Ultimately, my work helps them transform their ideas into viable solutions to be introduced into the market.”
Now working for the past two years as a Program Coordinator in the Business Department, William drives a broad range of projects for the Department and liaises with multiple stakeholders including donors, faculty, students, partner universities and industry experts.
Leonard Annan ’14
“I chose to come back and work at Ashesi because I wanted to give back to Ashesi for the amazing experience I got,” Leonard shared. “Moreover, I realized over the years that incorporating the informal business sector in Entrepreneurship Education in universities could play a huge role in expanding the outcomes students achieve, and I hope to contribute my experience in that field.”
Currently heading two businesses; courier service and a retail chain for household products, Leonard is familiar with the economic potential of the informal business sector. As a student, Leonard had big dreams of working in international development in some way. Years later, a graduate and experienced businessman, Leonard found teaching to be the tool he could use to impact development in Ghana and beyond.
Now working as an Adjunct Lecturer, Leonard teaches part-time, sharing his expertise running supply chains, while on other days, you will find him in some of the busiest parts of town with his business cap on. Leonard believes there’s much more room for impact and is currently working towards a Ph.D.
“Everyday, I look forward to encouraging students not to bypass the informal business sector but rather to contribute to rebranding it. I believe if every institution would take on the kind of atmosphere Ashesi has, Ghana will be a better place.”
Michael Fiifi Quansah ’14
“I had always been fascinated about Ashesi’s story and the kind of impact we are looking to make across the continent,” said Michael who served as Student Council President while at Ashesi. “So when I had the opportunity to be part of the team that continues to share Ashesi’s stories to the world, I took it on.”
In his role as the Senior Alumni and Public Relations Officer, Michael’s job spans managing Ashesi’s online and social media communications and also helping to build avenues for alumni to stay engaged with their alma mater.
“My role puts me in a unique space, working with current students and alumni,” he shared. “This way have a good sense of the pulse of some of Ashesi’s most important stakeholders, and how to help them get the best of this institution while helping them give back. I’ve always had a soft spot for communications, and working here has given me the opportunity to do what I love for an institution I’ve grown to care deeply about.”