Isn’t it an inevitable part of being human to, at one point in our lives, find ourselves clueless? To realize you don’t know it all? To tread the path of continuous learning, you have to embrace the humility of not knowing. ALC alumni Ghislain Tchakounte Ndjapa ‘16 has admitted ‘not knowing’ more times than he can count, and that has set him on a path of continuous learning. Each time he has started a new job, he has had to re-learn the old, learn the new and adapt. Now as one of the new members on Google’s Large Customer Sales (LCS) team, he is embracing that humility of continuous learning and doing hard things again just like he learnt while studying at the African Leadership College (ALC) in Mauritius.
“We are measured not by ideas and what we know, but by what we do and achieve,” begins Ghislain. His parents used to talk about investments when he was growing up, hence he developed a sense for finance at an early age. But it wasn’t until he joined the African Leadership College (ALC) in Mauritius, and took a Data and Decisions course that he found another interest – making sense out of numbers and data. He went on to merge his passion for data, finance and technology to build an artificial intelligent agent to trade on the financial markets for his final year capstone at ALC. Now, he continues on his mission of helping people and businesses make better decisions using data as part of his career.
The start of college represents the beginning of a reimagined future, and as part of the founding class at the African Leadership College (Mauritius), Ghislain was part of the ALC 2016 tribe that were the first custodians of the student life and culture. Part of that duty involved taking initiative and shaping the college experience. In his time at ALC, Ghislain led the Chess Club and made it one of the popular co-curricular clubs at ALC. Beyond the co-curriculars, Ghislain also found his academic rhythm in college. “Taking the core foundational entrepreneurship courses taught me to ask the right questions, this is something that has helped me to navigate through my career.” The Foundation Series forms part of the curriculum that all students take at ALC. It focuses on critical thinking, collaboration and entrepreneurial leadership development; preparing graduates to become entrepreneurial leaders who harness present and future opportunities in Africa.
One of the most exciting things about college is the promise of community. Each year, ALU welcomes students from diverse experiences, cultures and parts of the world. “The highlight of my time studying in Mauritius was being around peers who were very hungry, passionate, curious and wanted more in life – just like I did. I found my tribe at ALC.” comments Ghislain. Surrounded by driven, talented, and passionate peers, students at ALU (Rwanda) and ALC (Mauritius) are exposed to a unique and powerful network of mentors, guest speakers, experts-in-residence, industry leaders, investors, university staff, and employers. This global network, which students and graduates are exposed to, allows them to collaborate, form memories and succeed as entrepreneurs, leaders in government, nonprofits and the corporate sector. “Since graduating it has been awesome seeing my peers achieve great things and that in itself has empowered, energized and motivated me to do more,” Ghislain ends.
In 2020, Ghislain graduated from the African Leadership College (ALC) in Mauritius with a first class honors degree in Computer Science, zeal to do hard things, and a dash of humility – humility in learning from the world, from mentors and peers around, and an acknowledgement that learning is a lifelong journey.