“The Ashesi experience was a phenomenal one. The challenge was worth it. I feel empowered to contribute to the change that Africa so desperately needs.”
Joseph Hinneh ’08, graduated cum laude from Ashesi. Since then, he has used his skills and experience as a Fixed Income Desk Lead at a Ghanaian bank, and as a treasury department head of a microfinance organization in Ghana. Now, Joseph is pursuing his MBA at University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School, where he hopes to gain a deeper understanding of financial markets, and sharpen his skills in order to better serve Ghana.
What or who inspired you to apply to Ashesi?
I first came across Ashesi in 2002 when the admissions team came to do a presentation at my high school. I didn’t think it was the place for me because I knew my parents couldn’t afford to pay for Ashesi. During the holidays in 2004, Kofi Ocloo ’07, encouraged me to apply because the school offered scholarship opportunities for people like me to get a great education. I visited the campus at 2nd Norla and put my application together within a month.
When you found out you were admitted to Ashesi what was your reaction? What was your family and community’s reaction?
I was humbled. My father’s first reaction was, “But you know I can’t pay the fees,” so I had to explain to him I had been awarded a generous package to attend Ashesi. He congratulated me and then asked, “So when are you starting?” I knew it was a great opportunity to have an excellent education that under normal circumstances, I couldn’t afford.
Were you involved in any activities or clubs on campus?
I was very involved. Once I had accepted the opportunity and challenge to attend a great school, I wanted to be involved in shaping the culture for the many students who would come after me. I am proud to have founded the Ashesi Debate Society and to have been a member of the Ashesi Investment Society. I also served as an Academic Representative for the 2008 Business Class and then as an Executive Member of the Judicial and Electoral Committee of the University.
What was the greatest thing you learned at Ashesi?
Humility. I saw first-hand, Dr. Awuah’s humility despite his accomplishments. I admire and will forever be guided by his respect for students and his commitment to the Ashesi vision.
What have you been up to since graduation?
I joined Cal Bank after graduation in 2008, as a Money Market Dealer and was promoted to Fixed Income Desk Lead in 2011. I learned the critical connection and interplay between money and interest rates and how together they impact commerce and industry. In June 2013, I left Cal Bank to join Christian Community Microfinance Ltd. (CCML) as head of its treasury department where I was responsible for instituting measures that would stabilize CCML by reconstituting the treasury department.
It was an onerous task made all the more complex by the relatively sudden collision of tradition and modernity in a country whose economic transitions are transforming a communal culture into a hybrid of individualism and opportunism. My education at Ashesi helped me. I conceptualized and deployed an efficient cash management mechanism to consolidate funds flow from 24 branches and improved daily interest earning deposits by 500%+. I also prepared an international NGO approved funding plan, secured $400K of concessionary funding to increase lending to underfunded low-fee paying schools in Accra, and negotiated competitive terms with banks which led to setting up of contingent funding lines of $2M.
I am now pursuing my MBA at University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School in order to gain a deeper understanding of financial markets, and sharpen my skills in order to better serve Ghana.
What do you hope to do in the future?
My work in banking deepened my understanding of how economic transitions impact cultural dynamics and how the attendant flux can offer opportunities in entrepreneurship and ultimately, industry. At the moment, my passion for the markets drives me to pursue a career in the alternative investments space. I hope to increase my understanding of the global markets after business school and focus on impact investing in an effort to reduce the poverty penalty.
In your opinion, what is the most important work that Ashesi does?
Ashesi broadened my perspective through a great college learning environment, and helped me align my professional goals with my own values. The Ashesi experience was a phenomenal one. The challenge was worth it. I feel empowered to contribute to the change that Africa so desperately needs.
How do you describe Ashesi to others?
Ashesi’s phrase, “A new beginning” still resonates loudly with me. Ashesi is a place for a fresh start and where students are challenged to ask questions and be involved. There is no better way to educate young minds.