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Sharon Gyesi

Degree:

MBA

Location:

Ghana

Industry:

Professional Services

Year:

2020-21

By Sharon Gyesi

Get to know Sharon Gyesi, Class of 2020-21

Tell us about yourself: I am a certified public accountant who specialized in external audits, and now an agripreneur.  I’ve lived in Accra Ghana and in the USA in the following cities; St. Louis, Atlanta and also the Washington D.C metro area. When I’m not working, you’ll find me either travelling, taking pictures or posing for the camera, listening to music or reading an inspirational book.

Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Professional Services (Assurance services for companies in a variety of industries such as media, alternative investments, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, airline, retail and the federal government), Agriculture

Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA: Professional Services (Assurance services for small to medium scale business), Agriculture, Social Impact, Education

Country of residence before coming to Oxford: Ghana

College: St Hugh’s College, because of its pleasant gardens and reputation as one of the most attractive colleges

Social Media:

Instagram:  @sherinjesse
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/sgyesi


Q1. In one word, how would your best friend describe you, and how would your manager describe you?  
Best friend: Ambitious
Manager: Resilient

Q2. Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford, and more specifically, the Oxford MBA.
I am Ghanaian-American and the United States was home for a few years before my family relocated to Ghana. I’ve pretty much spent my life split between both countries and like to call myself a blend (switching effortlessly between Ghanaian and American accents – haha)

I studied Accounting and Finance at Georgia State University in Atlanta Georgia, and I started my career as an External Auditor after graduation. For about 6 years, I participated in assurance engagements in a variety of industries working for KPMG both in Ghana and the USA. For 2 of those 6 years, I specialized in federal audits primarily for the United States government. Through this experience, I learned about many aspects of a business beyond a company’s financial statements during my interactions with employees from different levels of the business.

I realized that while I loved crunching numbers, interacting with employees from various industries and also visiting different cities (since my job involved quite a bit of travel), I wanted to do more.

Many developing countries face a myriad of issues including poor healthcare, conflict, lack of and poor infrastructure, low education levels, hunger and in general poverty, just to name a few. These may be difficult problems to solve in the immediate future but, as Theodore Roosevelt said “Nothing in this world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty”

Living in Ghana, I witnessed and experienced some of the many problems faced by developing countries, which inspired and challenged me to come up with a plan to help contribute to the African continent. In this regard, I co-founded SGA Farms with a primary focus on filling the voids in the Ghanaian agriculture sector and promoting export of agriculture products from the continent to the rest of the world. By being focused on this, I believe this would aid in poverty alleviation and also help bridge the import-export gap as imports in Ghana tend to be on the high end.

A few aerial pictures of my farm

The African Development Bank reported Africa as the world’s fastest growing continent and this growth is expected to continue. I want to be part of the individuals feeding this growth, and I’m eager to see the positive impact that the new Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement would have on the continent.

If anyone had told me I would end up working in the agriculture industry, I would not have believed it. With my accounting background, I’ve focused more on the financial side with regards to the farm, but I’m looking forward to getting my hands ‘dirty’ as I gain more agricultural skills.

I chose Oxford not only for its impeccable reputation but also for its mission to tackle world-scale problems, and its strong focus on Africa.


Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?
I started networking with some of Oxford’s current students and alumni and they both have provided suggestions, networks and valuable insights that would go a long way in developing a solid plan to help me attain my desired goals for the MBA. I’ve also broadened my network within the agriculture industry through the participation of conferences and forums. For instance, I attended Fruit Logistica in Berlin in February 2020. Fruit Logistica is an annual trade show that provides a complete picture of the latest innovations, products and services with regards to fresh produce. By attending this conference, I was able to get a sense of what kind of electives to take to aid in achieving my post-MBA goals.

Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
An MBA from Oxford will give me the opportunity to interact with the best minds and also learn from an international faculty body which would broaden my perspective. With the insights gained from working in various industries and different countries, I believe that the diverse student community at Saïd and the broad Oxford community will be a great learning platform, a great learning experience, which would equip me with adequate knowledge to help tackle world scale problems that are specific to the African continent.

Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?
Leave the fear of missing out behind (FOMO). The Oxford MBA has so much to offer. There’s going to be so much going on around you, but it’s important to be selective in your pursuits in order to achieve your post-MBA goals.

Q6. Do you have any advice about the Oxford MBA application process for candidates thinking of applying?
The following helped me and I believe would help others too.

·        Have authentic answers to these questions before you apply. Why do you want to do an MBA? Why the Oxford MBA?

·        Do your research, speak to alumni about the program, and visit the school if you can

·        Register your interest with the school, I received a lot of content and updates which was a great resource

·        Resilience is key. I attempted the GMAT and GRE ‘soooooo’ many times


Q7. What part of the programme are you most looking forward to? 
I’m generally excited about the many activities listed in the MBA programme, but I’m mostly looking forward to this years’ “GOTO” project. This years’ theme “Building Back Better” sounds intriguing and I’m curious to see what my fellow cohorts come up with.

Q8. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?
Though the MBA has so much to offer, it’s important to tailor it towards your post-MBA goals (being any goals you had before beginning the program or any others you develop during the program). The most challenging part of the program would be deciding on what labs, electives, events, workshops and ‘hangouts’ to participate in.

Q9. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
I believe the African continent has so much room for growth, and I look forward to being part of the generation that uses agriculture to help impact lives.

Q10. Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?
Being passionate about Africa, I’m looking forward to participating in the Oxford Africa Business Alliance. I’m also super excited about joining the PhotOx Photography Society as I’ll finally be able to utilize my Nikon camera.

 

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