Executive MBA in Botswana

What approach to innovation do companies have in African countries and in Sweden? An EFL Executive MBA class of 2018 team has just returned from a research trip to Botswana for their international business research project.

Team Botswana from the Executive MBA class of 2018 on site in Botswana

The EFL Executive MBA class of 2018 is in the midst of applying the international module’s theories, models and tools in a real-life setting. The context reveals that management is all about integrating a business administration perspective and creating a dynamic balance. The out-of-the-box experience broadens and challenges participants’ frames of reference.

Henrik Börjesson, who runs digitalization company TeQflo, and his team chose to visit Botswana as part of their international project to study what approach to innovation companies have in African countries and in Sweden. The International Business Project is the last of the four main parts that compose the 18-month Executive MBA program. The preceding three parts of the program are Microbachelor, Business Fundamentals and Business Solutions. Once the international project is completed and the report is handed in, all that remains for Henrik and the other program participants is the graduation ceremony in early March.

Hi Henrik. You were just in Botswana. Please tell us about it!
Our final project for the 2018 Executive MBA is a study of what approach to innovation companies in African countries and in Sweden have and how resistant they are when innovation gets disruptive, as it can be with digitalization. In Botswana we visited companies, organizations and individuals to observe, understand and learn more about our topic. Following an intensive week in the capital city of Gaborone, we experienced amazing local sights including a safari in Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls.

How did you prepare for the trip?
The preparations were intensive. It was a challenge to make contacts and plan visits from afar, despite good referrals and introductions. Clearly, this is best done on site, in person. At the same time, we were preparing our study, conducting interviews in Sweden and making practical preparations for the trip. Once we arrived, there were a multitude of exciting company visits and experiences. We got to experience so much! We were surprised and thrilled to be part of a panel discussion on innovation and entrepreneurship in front of government officials, an audience and cameras.

What is the intended outcome of the trip?
In addition to the pertinent results for our innovation study, the trip was the experience of a lifetime. We met wonderful people who generously shared their stories and their knowledge. Digitalization and water shortages are examples of challenges facing both Botswana and Sweden, although in different aspects and ways. African networking is amazing. Hopefully, we have sown the seeds of future business projects and cooperation.

On site in Botswana, members of the EFL Executive MBA program participated in a panel discussion on innovation and entrepreneurship before government officials, an audience and cameras

What do you feel is the most exciting aspect of your African project and trip?
Primarily the experience of the journey and the group dynamics from project start to finish. Making the trip, just being there, was powerful. Meetings with fascinating people were sandwiched between everyday cultural experiences. The group dynamic has also been exciting, because the valuable and at times frustrating process has brought home many lessons and experiences. All the pieces fell into place for an unforgettable journey that we will never forget.

Only a few months are left of your 18-month program until graduation. How does it feel?
It feels great! This has been a major investment in terms of time and energy, and it has also been highly rewarding. We have gained friends, networks, knowledge and training in meeting and managing some tough challenges. The program inspired me to take the step to become an entrepreneur myself and start TeQflo to assist companies with digitalization, which has been very exciting.

What would you say are your top takeaways from the program thus far?
That is a tough question. There were many valuable lessons learned. Three key takeaways for me are the importance of reflection, teamwork and leadership, and being close to the center of events. Reflection is something we have practiced extensively in the program. It is a valuable and often underutilized tool. The team is totally decisive for success. Involved team members deserve excellent leadership. The trip to Botswana has reminded us how important it is to be on site and meet people if you are going to move ahead and make the right decisions. Overall, I have grown more confident that taking on difficult challenges, working hard, expanding my knowledge and accepting valuable assistance from those around me will bear fruit, sooner or later.