How an MBA helped Amarachi Nnah-Ogbonda land her dream job via Fiji
Amarachi Nnah-Ogbonda went back to school to have an impact on the world – getting to do it in Fiji was just a bonus.
Originally from Nigeria, Amarachi decided to study a Full-time MBA at Melbourne Business School after completing her bachelor's degree in Canada and working for several years as a finance professional in the US and Canada.
"I had become a bit of a specialist, but craving more," she says. "I wanted to get a broad understanding of what it means to manage an organisation and be a leader in any context."
As part of her MBA studies, Amarachi undertook an internship with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, which allowed her visit to Fiji and help farmers across the Pacific Islands.
The goal of the internship was to help the Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON) better service its 23 organisation members, who represent more than 79,000 farmers across nine countries.
"My project looked at how to improve the financial sustainability of PIFON and its farmer organisations, which are relatively new in the Pacific," Amarachi says.
"I took a holistic approach – as you would for any commercial business that needs to be financially sustainable – which meant looking at their whole business model, including strategy, governance, capabilities, and financial management."
During her visit, Amarachi got to experience the lifestyle of locals as well as taste Fiji's tourist attractions.
"I spent most of my time in Nadi, which is one of the largest towns on Fiji's main island and stayed where the real people live, not quite the resorts and beaches you see in the tourist photos," she says.
"However, in my last week, I visited Taveuni, which is called the garden island because of its fertile soil and beautiful beaches."
With a goal to become an entrepreneur, Amarachi chose Melbourne Business School for her MBA because of its Entrepreneurial Mindset and Innovation Bootcamp subjects, the diverse student cohort and support from the Dean's International Management Scholarship.
"My cohort of students came from 21 different countries. It's probably the most diverse class you could get for an MBA program," she says.
"If you go to a US school, it's majority American, with a few international students. But here, it's the opposite – the Australians are in the minority."
Having completed her studies, Amarachi is now working as a management consultant specialising in helping not-for-profit organisations.
"Toward the end of my MBA, my career coach explained that I had two options – go to top consulting firms who do mainly private work, or look for a niche firm with more not-for-profit clients," she says.
"That's how I found Right Lane Consulting, where I interned before Fiji and now work full-time. Half their clients are not for profits. The projects are short and you work on several at once.
"In a year, I'll probably work on 20 or more projects, which is perfect for me."
Amarachi hopes to return to Nigeria eventually and put her global experience to good use in what she says is one of the world's most dynamic economies.
"Africa is the new world and where the growth is now," she says.
"Nigeria has about 200 million people with an average age of about 18, which is very young, and there's a drive to conquer the impossible that you don't find anywhere else.
"I'll probably go back as a public policy advisor or consultant, but I'll also have my own businesses too.
"Who knows, I could run them from here, so Melbourne could be my home for quite a while yet."