10 ways Haas has made its mark on Ashesi
November 9, 2012, 6:07 pm
Filed under: 10th Anniversary

“When people ask me about the inspiration behind Ashesi, I often talk about my undergraduate education and the tremendous impact of my exposure to a world-class liberal arts institution.  That is the why of Ashesi.  The how of Ashesi, how the school came to be a reality – at the heart of that story is the Haas School of Business.”

~ Patrick Awuah, Haas MBA Class of ‘99

Patrick Awuah, co-founder and president of Ashesi University in Ghana, left Microsoft in 1999 to return home to Ghana and start a new kind of university in Africa.  His first step was Haas Business School to develop the skills he needed to build a world-class university from scratch.  At Haas he found much more than an education:  his Ashesi co-founder, Nina Marini; a co-hort of students that challenged and inspired him; and a rigorous academic institution with a passion for nurturing international entrepreneurs with audacious goals.

Patrick left Haas with a business plan for Ashesi University and a mission to educate a new generation of ethical leaders and innovative thinkers with the skills and courage they needed to transform their continent.  The Haas community has supported Ashesi every step of the way.  And when the campus opened its doors in 2002, the impact of the Haas culture could be seen in every classroom.  In honor of our 10th Anniversary, Ashesi recognizes the 10 ways Haas has truly made its mark on Ashesi.

10 ways Haas has made its mark on Ashesi

  1. Can-do spirit:  When Patrick said he wanted to start a private university in Ghana, the Haas community was inspired by his dream and offered their support to turn Patrick’s idea into reality. Haas, and now Ashesi, are places where big dreams are accepted and supported.
  2. Belief that young people can solve problems.  Nina and Patrick were profoundly impacted by the way students run so many activities at Haas.  This empowerment of student leadership and deep belief in the power of young people to shape an institution (and the course of human history) is reflected in all aspects of Ashesi.
  3. Core principles of Ashesi’s design:  In Haas’ Entrepreneurship Workshop, Patrick was challenged to think through the business plan for Ashesi.  Colleagues and instructors required Patrick to get down to what was at the heart of his vision.  The business plan that guided Ashesi’s first ten years was built at Haas.
  4. Core elements of Ashesi’s management:  In Haas’ Organizational Behavior class, Patrick focused on how to manage the culture of an organization and align it effectively to work with the mission of the organization.  Every day Patrick draws from those lessons when managing Ashesi.
  5. Visionary leadership:  Haas alumni, faculty, and leadership represented one-third of Ashesi’s founding board.  That founding board helped to manage every aspect of the university’s founding:  curriculum development; hiring; writing of policies and procedures, and fundraising.  Their leadership has guided Ashesi from a dream to a thriving university of 540 students.
  6. The business curriculum:  The curriculum for Ashesi’s Business department was created in partnership with thirteen UC Berkeley faculty members who gave generously of their time and expertise.
  7. Financial support:  Since 2008, tuition from African families has covered the university’s operational costs including scholarships.  This business model allows donations to be highly leveraged and applied to capital and program growth and additional scholarships.  With gifts large and small Haas friends of Ashesi helped with startup funds, scholarships, and to establish our permanent campus in 2011.
  8. On-going advising support from IBD teams:  Nearly every year since that founding IBD team, a team of Haas students has worked to tackle tough problems at Ashesi, from the first marketing plans to our current succession plan.
  9. Combination of academic rigor and teamwork:  Throughout their Haas education, Patrick and Nina were challenged by diverse teams of intelligent students and brilliant professors.  This emphasis on teamwork is reflected in Ashesi’s curriculum.
  10. Teachers-for-life:  The faculty support didn’t end when Patrick and Nina graduated from Haas.  Haas faculty members have continued to support Ashesi through their tough questions and by visiting Ashesi to teach and give lectures on campus.

We are forever proud and grateful for the impact the Haas community has had on Ashesi.

Thank you for your vision, friendship, guidance and support!