At a meet-your-dean event for business students on January 17, Dr. Hassan Yusuf, a strategic management scholar, spoke to new students about the distinctive qualities of the AUN School of Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE).
Professor Yusuf, representing Dean Attahir Yusuf, at the interactive forum, said SBE professors expect students to see things from multiple perspectives. He illustrated this point with a projection that by 2050, Nigeria will have a population of about 250 million making the country the largest African population on earth. For professor Yusuf this statistic can be viewed as an opportunity contrary to popular analyses that perceive this size as problematic.
“We tell our students, by 2050, we will have the third largest number of consumers on earth. This translates to more mouths to feed, human beings to clothe, people that will go to school, human beings that will need their health to be managed. They will need goods and services to be produced and managed by business organizations.”
Dr. Yusuf says professors at AUN teach students to think out of the box. “Where others see problems, we tell our students that these are opportunities for them to meet those needs and smile to the bank. That is what our business school stands for.”
He also explained that AUN offers a different way of teaching entrepreneurship to students, one not found in any other Nigerian university.
“They would form a particular company, a venture, a start-up. And among themselves, they would select the managing director, the financial controller, the chief marketing officer, and they search for problems in the community, identify those problems and now extract an opportunity from those problems, build a business venture around those problems, then come out with specific products and services that will resolve the problems for the community. And the university gives them a seed grant of up to $5,000 which translates to N1.8 million to our students.”
He added that there are permanent structures on campus where student groups house their businesses. “Across the semesters, the return on their investments has been growing increasingly.”
Nigeria’s National Universities Commission requires all students enroll for two compulsory entrepreneurship courses. One is theoretical while the other is practical. At the beginning of every semester in AUN, students enrolled in the practical entrepreneurship course are divided into project groups after which they delve into venture capital projects.
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa