Eugene Annan got a job at General Mills, the US-based food giant straight out of college. A recent graduate from Texas A&M University, he was passionate about creating solutions that could have real impact.
He also had a degree in chemical engineering, which was not the most ideal degree for management.
âThe reality of the world is that people with engineering degrees end up working in factories or factories,â says Annan. But he was still thrilled to be working for General Mills, a huge company with countless projects around the world.
He started out as a manufacturing engineering associate in Atlanta and quickly had the opportunity to be the project manager of a startup. Although he had experience in managing processes and improving what was already there, he didn’t know much about creating something from scratch.
âI really thought it was a fascinating project that changed my path and made me think, ‘Okay, maybe getting my MBA might be the next best path for me,’â says -he.
A BIG MOVEMENT
Annan is now a student at Alliance Manchester Business School, which is expected to graduate in 2022.
“It’s really tricky, because I’m going to be honest, as a chemical engineer I can talk about all the theoretical things, but in terms of applicability in real life I would say this program didn’t not given too much visibility, âAnnan said.
Throughout his career he has noticed that “some businessmen out there analyze the information you give them, but ultimately make the decision.” Her father, who is also an engineer, often complained to Annan about dealing with managers and businessmen who were unaware of the challenges faced – and solved – by engineers.
Annan knew that the transition to business would be the right step to fill his learning gaps. So he quit his job at General Mills to devote himself to bigger passions.
ONE WAY TO MAKE AN IMPACT
Problem solving is ingrained in Annan through his upbringing in Ghana, where he learned to find pleasure in working with others in a collective and collaborative culture.
âJamestown is generally considered to be one of the poorest areas in Ghana. I was raised by my grandparents and my mother. But suddenly, compared to everyone, I felt like I had a lot, âhe says. âYou know you don’t grow up in the nicest part of town. But on a relative scale, I felt pretty comfortable just based on what I had.
When Annan was 9, her family moved to San Ramon, California. His father joined them later. Short of cash, the family moved to Houston.
He felt an intense change in his reality. âMy graduating class was about 700 people and I was one of 15 black children,â he says. But he knew he had opportunities that his friend in Ghana didn’t. âIn high school, I took pre-calculus and calculus classes, and things that a lot of people are introduced to in college for the first time,â he says.
Annan says that like a typical African child, he was pushed into a STEM major. Fortunately, he was good at math and liked to solve problems for fun.
Once the family left Ghana, it took them almost seven years to turn back the clock. Annan, 17 at the time, with her mother, remembers being told not to drink the water at home. It marked him.
âIt inspired me to do chemical engineering. That way I could make an impact, âhe says, helping people who are facing these issues every day.
PRESIDENT OF THE CONSULTATION CLUB
For now, Annan is taking full advantage of the MBA program. He applied to become president of the school’s consulting club and got the job. Although the club has been around for a long time, commitment has fluctuated often.
âI wanted to get involved in a space that would force me to learn as much as possible about it,â he says.
Holding elections for other positions at the club was Annan’s first order of business. He wrote an email with details about the application process and the clubs goals. âI think people are very excited,â he says.
The school prides itself on being diverse and inclusive, so when it comes to the team, he made sure there was an equal number of men and women, and that each member represented a continent. It might be a small change, but it helps, he says. The first six months of the program were online. April through May enabled a hybrid system with in-person seminar discussions while the conferences continued online.
A GOOD PROGRAM FOR AMERICAN STUDENTS WHO WANT TO WORK INTERNATIONALLY
âI knew it was happening, but it’s just deeper when it’s right in front of you. We all get our MBA to meet people. Being a full-time student and having restrictions imposed by the country made it a bit difficult to experience a lot of things, âhe says.
Team building exercises to facilitate the integration of students into the program have been canceled. âI did a project with a guy from Chile, a girl from India and a girl from Germany,â he says. Due to the restrictions, they completed the online project before they even met.
âIf you want an international career and are in the US, I 100% recommend this program. However, some people also do it just for the experience, âhe says. âComing abroad, but knowing that not everyone is like me, speaks the same language as me and all of that stuff – it’s like something I’m comfortable with.
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