Nana Adjoa Hackman Executive MBA 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School
Programme:
Executive MBA
Nationality:
Ghanaian/British
University and subject studied for undergraduate / master’s degree:

LLM Petroleum Law and Policy, University of Dundee LLB Bachelor of Laws, University of Ghana

Job at start of the programme:

Managing Partner, Africa Legal Associates

My proudest achievements so far, including setting up my law firm

I am the co-founder and Managing Partner of Africa Legal Associates (ALA), a Ghana-based, pan-African corporate law firm. My areas of expertise are corporate governance, banking, and petroleum law. I have also provided consultancy services on many corporate issues across a wide variety of sectors.

As well as my legal practice, I have set up and run companies in the media and real estate sectors at the board level. Before setting up ALA, I was the Company Secretary & Head of Legal Department for United Bank for Africa (Ghana) Limited. Between 2017 and 2020, I served as a member of the eighth Board of Directors of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Ghana's national oil company.

Alongside founding my own law firm, I am particularly proud of two recent achievements in my career. Firstly, I sat on the Board of Directors of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation between 2017 and 2020. Secondly, in March this year my firm ALA became the first law firm in Ghana to be admitted into the Commonwealth Legal Network. ALA was also named by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) as a strategic business partner, while in a personal capacity, I was nominated to CWEIC’s advisory council. CWEIC represents the very best in Commonwealth businesses and it is a real honour to be involved with such an important and impactful organisation.

Why I chose to study an Executive MBA

I decided to study an Executive MBA as I hope it will give me insight from market-leading experts on how to build a sustainable business and how I can improve the running of my firm. It will also allow me to build on my business experience by contributing further at board level. I also liked how I could study for the programme around my professional and family life.

I chose Imperial College Business School due to its fantastic international reputation as a world-class business school and the location of Imperial in central London, which remains the leading city for global business, particularly relating to Africa.

My scholarship from the 30% Club

I am lucky to be studying for my Executive MBA through a scholarship from Imperial College Business School in partnership with the 30% Club. The 30% Club is an organisation that aims to increase gender diversity on boards and at senior management levels. The scholarship funded a large portion of the fees for my MBA; the remainder of my fees was self-funded.

My favourite parts of the programme

The Executive MBA at Imperial is unique due to the programme’s comprehensive coverage of business disciplines and sectors, and its wealth of global experience. The programme is intense, so you feel like you are achieving a lot in a short space of time. The contributions of both the faculty and my classmates have provided me with valuable insight into strategic leadership skills from a variety of sectors, which I hope to be able to deploy in my own professional life. The other individuals on the programme are from a diverse range of sectors, cultures and countries. This means there is diversity of thought, approach and ideas, providing a hugely rewarding experience and allowing us to learn a lot from each other. I have found the faculty to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable and always available to help.

Getting involved in events offered by Imperial

The variety of events available at Imperial means there are opportunities to learn directly and indirectly all the time. It has been great to get involved in these events and I look forward to more of these. So far, the seminars on building a personal brand and building resilience have been very useful.

Overcoming the challenges of the pandemic

The most challenging part of the programme has been studying during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has meant I have been unable to make full use of on-campus learning and have been unable to travel. Imperial has been fantastic at making sure remote learning has been as effective as possible, but of course it is nice to spend more time face-to-face!

Applying the lessons of the programme to my business

The Executive MBA has taught me that in my position as Managing Partner at ALA, I should look at the position of our law firm in a much more strategic, business-minded way. It has given me the confidence and opportunity to consider opportunities that I previously would not have entertained. I have also become more scientific in my approach to decision making.

Connecting with students from around the world

The opportunities to network and learn from a globally diverse cohort have been amazing. I am looking forward to the international core modules next year, to further enhance my exposure to global business. There has been a very collegiate atmosphere that encourages everyone to speak up and take part. I am surrounded by talented, experienced, intellectually curious and challenging peers. Debate and conversation are free flowing, and we are all eager to learn from one another. Online group projects due to COVID do make collaboration slightly more challenging, but Imperial has worked hard to make sure group activities are central to the programme.

My Executive Leadership Journey

Imperial’s Executive Leadership Journey is a novel, interesting and challenging experience. Through the various activities, assessments and sessions with my Executive Coach, I have become more aware of my personality, my leadership style, my strengths and my weaknesses. The module is basically a two-year self-awareness and personal development journey, through which I am learning every day to be It is a vital part of the Executive MBA with great tools and support.

Shaping the next stage of my career

Imperial has allowed me to expand my career goals and broaden my focus. It is helping me build on my leadership experience in the boardroom and identify different areas I can develop personally and where we can strategically take our law firm.

After completing my Executive MBA, I hope to use the skills I have learned to achieve my aims of developing sustainability and governance throughout my commercial activities and promoting gender equality at senior levels of business.

What I love about London

I love London due to its diversity and personality. Each area of the city is different but always an exciting and energetic place to explore. Both its business and social environments are incredibly vibrant. London is important to me due to London being a global hub and an exciting business environment.

Things to consider before applying for the Executive MBA

I encourage anyone considering applying for the Executive MBA to go ahead with the application, as the programme will positively impact your career or business. Think about areas you want to improve and make sure to actively use the things you learn and implement changes in your day-to-day role.

My experience studying as a parent

Luckily, two of my children are older and are wanting to live the lives of independent teenagers! With the support of family, I am able to give my third and youngest child who is six, the needed care and attention. I have also declared every Sunday to be ‘Family Day’. My husband has also been an amazing source of encouragement and support. Studying for the Executive MBA at this time, though challenging, has been great at helping me focus on how I can achieve my career goals and expand into new areas of interest.

Advice for prospective students

Make sure you have the time to balance both your business and your studying. Think about how each module could complement your work and how every case study has a lesson you can convert to tangibly use in your own business.

Programme:
Executive MBA
Nationality:
Ghanaian/British
University and subject studied for undergraduate / master’s degree:

LLM Petroleum Law and Policy, University of Dundee LLB Bachelor of Laws, University of Ghana

Job at start of the programme:

Managing Partner, Africa Legal Associates

Find out if the Executive MBA is right for you