Name: Peter Kulaba
Programme: OneMBA Class of 2016
Job title: Senior partner Company: Legacy Services
Previous degree: Medical degree at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda
1. Why did you decide to join the OneMBA?
“I have 15 years of managerial work experience but no management training. Through Legacy Services, I run businesses, including a medical centre, by giving financial and business advice. But I didn’t know how to measure business aspects. I was making money and losing it fast. I needed a good degree with not only an academic experience, but with other people like me with the same objectives to move on and become a better-quality person.”
2. How is the OneMBA experience affecting your work?
“It’s such a good experience. I’ve done some things so many times and never figured out why they didn’t work out. The OneMBA helps me understand them. I’m sorting out many issues at the medical practice and I’m now better at working with the financial structure and the strategies. I’m embracing the change.”
3. What is the return on investment you expect from the OneMBA?
“I’ve already earned back a part of the investment. I’ve reduced our annual loss by almost USD 40,000. We had just decided to close down the hospital. Through class assignments I discovered some holes in our system, and then found out how to restructure the organisation.”
4. How has the Personal Leadership Development programme (PLD) affected you?
“It makes me appreciate others better, and I self-reflect about how I do things. I have a history of walking over people, but I now know better how to work with people and get them on my side in a positive way. I have a better leadership style and treat people better than before. My wife says I have also become a better husband since I started the OneMBA!”
5. Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
“The OneMBA gives me the opportunity to think outside of the box. People all have the same struggles but handle them differently. I’m from Uganda, which in many ways is a conservative society. The OneMBA is helping me understand people based on who they are – not on what you read about their home country or culture in the newspaper.”
6. With your busy schedule, how do you manage the cross-continental projects?
“The OneMBA is my principal priority and takes up a lot of my time. I schedule in time for everything, even though there are so many jobs or tasks. I make a list of things I need to do and set them in motion. This is made possible by the people who work around me.”
7. How are you experiencing the Global Residencies?
“The residency in Washington DC gave me a perspective on the USA that I didn’t have before. I didn’t realise the impact of immigration, how American companies operate, and why it doesn’t do much business with Africa. It made me realise people talk about ‘Africa’ but not ‘Uganda’. Learning about Europe also made me reflect on problems in Africa from a different perspective.”
8. What has been the best part of the OneMBA for you so far?
“It’s very practical. Everything I have learned, I can do an assignment on and then apply it to my own environment. It has unlocked things that now make sense to me. I have met great people who understand me and vice versa. There’s no competition; we discuss work, classwork, and personal life. I look forward to the next residency and seeing my classmates again. It’s a rewarding experience.”
9. After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?
“I spent the last 15 years of my life starting up organisations because I enjoy that. After the OneMBA I’m going to start another business and do it well from the start, probably an organisation specialising in housing development or supporting small enterprises in Uganda. I want to help entrepreneurs to not make the same mistakes I made. I’m not getting younger and it’s time to start a new and more focused chapter in my life.”