Meet the 2024 MBA Graduation: Isaac Mungai, Harvard Business School

“A curious and proud African. I love two things: learning new cultures and investing in businesses.”

Native city: Nairobi, Kenya

Interesting fact about myself: I am an amateur guitarist, but if I changed my profession (in another life), I would probably become a rock star!

Undergraduate and specialty: University of Nairobi, Bachelor of Science. actuarial science

Last employer and position: International Finance Corporation (IFC – World Bank Group), Investment Analyst

What was your first impression of the Harvard Business School students and alumni you met? Tell us your best Harvard Business School story. HBS students and alumni are very approachable and dependable. Shortly after my admission to HBS, I was looking for scholarships and came across the Fulbright Scholarship. I contacted the first HBS alum on my LinkedIn feed who was a Fulbright Scholar and he was very prompt in providing scholarship resources and sharing his experience, which helped me understand if I was interested in a scholarship. This attribute is also more than evident in the HBS Slack channel where classmates were so quick to respond to each other’s requests before enrolling.

What makes the case method so attractive as a tool for learning and improving management? I have always believed that the best way to learn is to do it, and I found the practical nature of the case method very intriguing. The case method provides students with a safe space to hone their decision-making skills. Here you put yourself in the place of the main character. In the midst of conflicting opinions, a call must be made. This is something that every manager faces in the workplace, and it is most relevant in today’s world.

In addition to your classmates and affairs, What was the highlight of the Harvard Business School MBA program that led you to choose this business school, and why was it so important to you? One thing that stood out to me was the experienced and renowned teaching staff. I remember informing a former colleague of my enrollment and his reaction was, “Wow, I bet you can’t wait to learn more about Porter’s Five Powers from Michael Porter himself!” I really look forward to networking with the professors and all the great guest lecturers from the corporate world and benefiting from their wealth of knowledge within the MBA.

What course, club, or activity are you most excited about at Harvard Business School? Black Investment Club – I am very passionate about investing in Africa and play a role in addressing the underrepresentation of the black community in the global investment space. I also very much want to join the African Business Club to advance the African business community along with other like-minded individuals who are committed to furthering the integration of African businesses into the global economy.

When you think of Harvard Business School, what’s the first word that comes to mind?? Why? Excellence – HBS embodies excellence all the way from the application process, through pre-qualification, to classroom instruction. Teaching rigor and hands-on experience coupled with students’ commitment to extracurricular activities in and out of school really stand out at HBS.

Describe your biggest achievement in your career so far: Received the IFC Corporate Award for exemplary work on one of the organization’s most innovative, high impact mobility investments in Africa.

What led you to pursue your MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? With a background in management consulting and impact investing, I have acquired the technical skills I need to succeed as a junior team member. However, I had limited managerial experience and I felt that an MBA would enable me to become a leader and lead the decision-making process wherever I worked. Immediately after completing my MBA, I plan to join a private equity firm focused on emerging markets. Later, I hope to raise an infrastructure-focused fund to invest in African businesses at the intersection of technology and infrastructure.

What have you recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? Art of War by Sun Tzu. I found it interesting, especially how to think about strategy in a competitive world, learning from ancient Chinese military strategists.

What other MBA programs have you applied for? Stanford GSB and Wharton School.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants get into the Harvard Business School MBA program? Don’t be afraid to dream and be as sincere as possible. Looking through the profiles of my classmates, one thing becomes clear – there is no “correct” HBS candidate profile, and everyone has their own story.


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