‘Mary Munansangu: ‘It gives me great joy and pride to be part of changes in the bank’s performance, with my contributions from some of the operational skills obtained during the MBA programme.’

BSN Alumna Mary Munansangu MBAMary Munansangu (43) is Deputy Managing Director at National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) in Zambia. Next to that, she’s a married mother of four, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master in Microfinance. “The programme has really changed me. My leadership skills have been enhanced and I have become a lot more reflective before taking action.”

Action Learning Projects (ALPs) are an important aspect of the Action Learning MBA. It enables students to execute in-depth research for their employer, who can benefit from results and possible implementations straight away. Like all other students, Mary executed three ALPs for the bank, which all had great positive impacts. Mary mentions “Not all ALPs were used or implemented; however the input and research output is being used in the change improvements of the operations of the bank.”

How did you like executing the ALPs?
“It was a very exciting part of the programme, since the topics were directly related to my job. I chose topics that had to do with aspects that we were struggling with as an institution. In doing so, I forced myself to read more about it and really understand what needed to be done in order to overcome the struggles.”

Which ALP taught you the most, in terms of understanding the struggle?
“The ALP on Strategic Management of the bank was really insightful, as it gave me a bigger picture of the overall performance of the bank at a strategic level. Also, with this ALP in particular, I had career progression in mind. My contribution to the implementation of the strategic plan made a lot of sense in relation to this ALP.”

What were the results and impact of the ALPs?
“All the ALPs were very helpful and have had serious impact on my input towards the business decisions at the bank. The Operations Management ALP had more impact on my job specifically. Operations is my main focus, and the reflection and review was a great help.”

What was your main motivation to apply for the MBA?
“My main motivation was the need for new skills and knowledge of business management, as well as networking and career opportunities. Especially now that there is a push for gender equality in Zambia, but without the right skills as women we do not stand a chance, so this really motivated me to apply and finally quest for higher remuneration.”

What has been the eye-opener or learning moment of the programme?
“The realisation that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to problem solving but critical analysis and reflection to resolve a business case.”

How has it impacted your career so far?
“The MBA has opened up many opportunities career-wise: I was promoted to Deputy Managing Director! However, it also opened doors to new training opportunities and I was awarded scholarships to attend leadership conferences and programmes to share my experience and skills, for example, the Swedish Institute Management Program for Africa and at the Harvard Business School Program of Strategic Leadership for Financial Inclusion.”

And how has it affected you personally?
“The MBA has uplifted my confidence in my career. I now articulate myself more confidently and am able to make very useful and meaningful contributions for the bank at a strategic level. It gives me great joy and pride to be part of changes in the bank’s performance, with my contributions from some of the operational skills obtained during the MBA programme.”

What would be your key advice to people about to start their MBA?
“The International Action Learning MBA is the best, as it is more practical than theoretical. You literally apply new skills you obtain during the study right away. The programme is well structured as it breaks an organisation into various segments for analysis and review.”

Why is it so important for your country, Zambia, if more people would do an MBA?
“Zambia is a developing nation and the more skilled man power we have, the more contribution we can make towards the development of the nation with a skilled workforce. A skilled workforce contributes to the economic development by making well-informed decisions. I have already recommended two people to undertake the programme and the feedback I get is that it has helped them in their day-to-day activities. I would highly recommend other people to do this MBA: it is very intensive but worth it.”

For more information on our Action Learning MBA and Management Programmes, send an email to international@bsn.eu.

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