The African Business Club at Columbia Business School

The African Business Club (ABC) works to advance social and economic issues related to Africa and promote an understanding of Africa at Columbia Business School.

The ABC also co-hosts the African Economic Forum in the spring along with other Columbia University graduate schools. The Forum is the largest African focused event at Columbia Business School.

The conference engages attendees in fruitful discussion regarding challenges and opportunities in Africa.

Our Mission

Ensure the success of its members at CBS by providing various types of support including career resources, tutoring and help adjusting to the New York social and cultural environment

Increase networking opportunities for members with the corporate community of Africa and serve as a support system throughout the recruiting process for students interested in building careers in or related to Africa

Provide opportunities for business school students to explore the many facets that comprise the African culture through social cultural events.

Support the Admissions Office in recruiting African Students; and work with prospective students during the admissions process

Promote the development and involvement in Africa with activities that enhance the understanding of the region

Bolster the bond between current students and CBS alumni who share an interest in Africa

ABC Leadership Directory

Patience Olanitori


Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Pre MBA Experience: Healthcare Administrator

Summer Experience: Business development for a fintech startup

Post MBA Goal: Start healthcare facility in Lagos, Nigeria

Contact Me About: Healthcare, Startups, Nigeria, ABC leadership


Eniola Abimbola

VP of Prospective Students

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Pre MBA Experience: Technology, E-commerce, Beauty Start-up, Financial Services

Summer Experience: L'Oréal Finance, Marketplace Start-Up

Post MBA Goal: Entrepreneurship, Private Equity in Africa, Real Estate Investing

Contact Me About: J-Term experience, Real estate investing, Careers, Start-ups


Bankole Cardoso

VP of Speakers

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Pre MBA Experience: Jumia Africa, Easy Taxi Nigeria, The Carlyle Group & PWC

Summer Experience: Quona Capital.  I also launched my second startup.

Post MBA Goal:  Venture investing in Africa

Contact Me About: Anything


Bethel Yemaneberhan

VP of Alumni

Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Pre MBA Experience: Accounting (KPMG London), Investing (Ethiopia/Kenya)

Summer Experience: Twitter (Corporate Finance)

Post MBA Goal: Social Venture / Fighting Income Inequality

Contact Me About: Anything, if I don't know it, I'll find you someone who does


Michelle Yeboah

VP of Marketing

Hometown: Geneva, Switzerland (but originally from Ghana)

Pre MBA Experience: Advertising & Branding

Summer Experience: Beauty Marketing at L'Oréal

Post MBA Goal: Brand Management/Marketing in Beauty/CPG

Contact Me About: Marketing, Beauty, Travel in Europe and West Africa - anything!


George Franklin

VP of Careers

Hometown: New York / London

Pre MBA Experience:  Merrill Lynch, Iwol Capital , Co-Founder – Baobab Circle

Summer Experience:  Baobab Circle, a health tech company focused on personalized chronic disease management in east Africa (

Post MBA Goal: Continue work on Baobab Circle, Sub Saharan focused Private Equity

Contact Me About: Careers, Sub Saharan focused Entrepreneurship / Private Equity, Healthcare, Technology, Conservation Management. Happy to help anyone I can in any way.


Hashim Ibrahim

Student Government President

Hometown: Khartoum, Sudan

Pre MBA Experience: Sales, Entrepreneurship, Private Equity

Summer Experience: Finance at a startup

Post MBA Goal: General Management, Private Equity

Contact Me About: Anything


Maj Dafinone

VP of Events

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Pre-MBA Experience: Energy:, Manufacturing Engineering, Business Development

Post-MBA Goals: Strategy/Consulting, General Management

Contact Me About: traveling/international experiences, moving to NYC, surviving the core with a non-business background


Elvis Babila

VP of Conference

Pre MBA Experience: Field Engineering, Solar

Summer Experience: Caterpillar

Post MBA Goal: Finance & Strategy

Contact Me About: Anything


Thando Mtshali


Pre MBA Experience: Consulting

Summer Experience: Morgan Stanley Summer Associate

Post MBA Goal: Investment Banking, Finance

Contact Me About: Anything


Rowland Atiase

VP of Treks

Pre MBA Experience: Consulting

Summer Experience: Investment Banking

Post MBA Goal: Financial Services, Venture Capital

Contact Me About: Anything



We are excited that you are considering Columbia Business School and hope that the resources here will help answer any questions you may have. Our 60 club members have gained exposure to engaging speakers, prestigious companies, inspiring faculty, and supportive peers. We encourage you to visit the campus and ask any questions you may have about our experience both at CBS and as students interested in great continent of Africa. Good luck!

Curriculum Highlights

Catching Growth Waves in Emerging Markets

The term emerging markets encompasses a plethora of countries with more than half the world’s population, an enormous variety of cultures, climates and levels of development, from the BRICs to Sub-Saharan Africa. After decades and even centuries of lackluster economic performance, they are now the fastest growing markets in the world.

Every relevant player in the business world is striving to capture this growth. Defining a strategy for where, when and how to invest is a major challenge in the complex and fast moving world of emerging markets.

International Emerging Markets Project Finance

This International Emerging Markets Project Finance (IPF) course will provide students with a strong practical and theoretical framework to be able to analyze complex international projects from first principles, and will cover both the structuring aspects of this financial discipline (commercial and legal frameworks, key risk and mitigants, financial modelling) as well as real-world project finance case studies.

Social Entrepreneurship: Global Perspective

This course introduces students to social entrepreneurs and their organizations around the world. What do these individuals and their organizations have in common, no matter where they are spawned?

How does context influence the problems they choose to address, the organizational and business models they decide to pursue, and their growth options? When and how do they pursue partnerships with one another and with the business or public sectors, and what are the outcomes of such partnerships?

Global Immersion: Doing Business in North Africa

The North African region is going through profound changes following the initial upheaval of the Arab Spring. But there are many questions that await. Will these countries transition to democracy? Will they be able to create a business environment that is attractive to investors?

If so, what investment opportunities exist in the region? What are the risks involved and the future challenges? And, how best to enter such a market? The course will explore these questions and other issues related to doing business in North Africa.

Global Immersion: New Growth and Business Opportunities in East Africa

Parts of Africa are now one of the most exciting regions of the world for business. 10 – 20 African countries have achieved steady, high growth rates during the last few decades.  A wide range of sectors in these “lion” economies – commodities, tourism, agribusiness, eCommerce, oil and gas, retail, etc – are buzzing with activity and attention from foreign investors and multinationals.

But how can companies and investors enter and operate efficiently in African countries still characterized by weak institutions? What challenges characterize the private sector in Africa, how do they vary with context, and what strategies can firms and organizations adopt to overcome them? Where can new MBAs interested in Africa add the most value? East Africa is the perfect region to address and explore these questions.

Key Programs

Africa Matters Series

Every semester, the African Business Club and the Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Globus Business present “Africa Matters.” Africa Matters is an opportunity for students and other members of the CBS community to present to their peers and classmates about an African country and why it matters to them most.

African Economic Forum

We are excited to announce the 15th annual African Economic Forum (AEF) at Columbia University on Saturday, April 17th 2018. We look forward to having you join us and our distinguished speakers while we explore this year’s theme – Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers: Harnessing the Power of an Open Africa.

This year’s conference will build upon last year’s theme of A Continent Connecting: Solutions from Within, providing an opportunity for fresh views and further discussion of initiatives for growth within the African continent and in relation to the rest of the world.

The 2018 theme touches on many issues including development, investment, and technology. Our goal for this year’s conference is to highlight the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead as African countries continue to present themselves as “open for business.” This year’s forum will provide a platform to evaluate the ways in which collaboration in an era of technological transformation, integration, and innovation can bridge the development gap and fuel growth in Africa.

By exploring these issues, we aim to expose the meaningful ways in which African actors have increasingly begun to look outwards and consider alternative options. By bringing together a broad range of panelists and insightful keynote speakers, AEF will continue to be a platform for meaningful engagement. We hope to stimulate fresh approaches to tackling ongoing and emerging challenges faced by a modernizing Africa.

Click here to visit the official African Economic Forum page and register today.

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