In this pandemic era, many corporate institutions, including universities, are devising strategies to stay in business. Business24 had a chat with the founder of Accra Business School, Bishop Gideon Yofi Titi-Ofei, to discuss the past, present and future of the school he set up as a specialised business university with Christian values.
Why did you decide to build Accra Business School (ABS)?
I believe that there is a direct correlation between democratic stability and economic empowerment, and for the last 30 years or so, Africa has invested a lot in democratic development. For that to be sustained, we need to create job creators. So, when I realised that business schools across Africa turn out job seekers, I decided to create a business school that will create job creators. That’s why we started Accra Business School.
The mission of Accra Business School is to create job creators. People who can create jobs, increase incomes and reduce poverty. That has been our mission, and that is why in our lecture halls we have a hybrid of industry professionals and astute academicians. The industry professionals bring industry to the classrooms and the academicians take the classroom to the industry.
Can you describe the working culture of ABS in the context of its service to students, alumni and society?
The working culture of Accra Business School is driven by our understanding that the student is not just a student but a customer. So, we are a customer-centric institution and we ensure that the customer is always right. As a result of that, our core values are actually structured on the acronym LEADERS.
‘L’ is Listening, so we listen to our students and their feedback is most important thing to us. And ‘E’ is Excellent, because we believe that we must perform at the highest level for our students.
The ‘A’ is Access. We believe that anybody that walks into our school must live his or her educational dreams. We should not turn anybody away, and so we have created multiple pathways for anybody to have access to our school. We have a slogan, we say, “All manner of learning opportunities to all manner of people in all manner of ways.”
The ‘D’ in LEADERS is Dedication. We ensure that we have a dedicated staff that are available to offer quality services to our students. The second ‘E’ in LEADERS is Expertise. We put in our lecture halls the top from industry and from academia to deliver. The ‘R’ is Relationship. For us, we are friends to our students. It is kind of a small family when you come to Accra Business School. We are a small family. And then the ‘S’ is Spirituality. We are a Christian business school and the spiritual development of our students is very crucial.
Another slogan of Accra Business School is, “We inform the mind and transform the heart.” So while many schools are informing the mind, we are informing the mind and transforming the heart at the same time.
What unique values have you instilled in your employees?
The unique value in Accra Business School is the servant leadership value model after Jesus Christ. As a Christian institution, all our students and staff have it at the back of their minds that we model Jesus’ leadership style. So when you come to Accra Business School, I’m directly involved in every work from the job of a cleaner to the job of the President. I get involved to make sure I can offer a bit of that kind of servant leadership qualities.
What do you want ABS to be known for when it comes to tertiary education in Ghana and in the sub-region?
I think that we want Accra Business School to be the most prominent business school across the continent. For that to happen, we want people who come to our school to leave with one major focus: that they never left the same when they came. For us, we believe that every individual has a dream and we are there to interpret that dream. So people come in here as dreamers and leave by realising their dreams. That is what I want Accra Business School to be known for.
Is ABS value-based? In other words, what value or solution is ABS providing to societal problems?
Our value proposition is driven by three simple statements. They are: flexible learning, flexible entry, and flexible payment.
Flexible learning because we do not expect our students to twist their lives to suit our programmes. We have rather twisted our programmes to suit their lives. That is why at Accra Business School, you can study and still have time to do the things that you want to do. The most important things in your life such as spending time with your family, watching football with the guys and having conversations with friends.
We do not believe that taking a course in Accra Business School should deprive you of the things that are very important to you. So our schedules are very flexible, so you don’t need to change your schedules to study with us.
For the flexible entry, we have created multiple pathways for people to enter into our courses in Accra Business School. And then flexible payment, our school fees are flexible that you choose your own payment terms or plan. We have three payment plans and we allow you to choose your own payment plan according to your financial capability.
What do you think is the biggest strength of ABS now?
I think Accra Business School’s biggest strength is the hybrid of industry professionals and astute academicians that we put in our lecture halls. But what even makes us stronger are the quality of students that we attract, the high calibre of individuals that come to our school, and the conversations that take place during lectures. Sitting in our lecture halls is just like being in your work place. We always say that at Accra Business School we sit in a business class!
What unseen opportunities do you envisage may result in making ABS a huge success?
I think that the opportunity we have as an institution is that Africa is a very large continent with a huge population. Most of these are young people and are looking for educational opportunities, and I think we offer such a unique combination of courses that most business schools do not offer. Like I always say, when you walk in here, there will always be a course for you.