FAQ

Application

How do I apply?

Who can apply?

Is there a maximum number of participants per project/company that can apply?

What are the language requirements?

Academics

What classes will we take?

Who are the professors who will be teaching the classes?

Is the work done individually or in teams?

How will we be assessed?

How often do we meet during the online modules?

Where and how do we attend online classes?

What if I have to miss a class?

What is the role of the faculty adviser?

Program Information

What are the exact dates for the program?

Where will we stay?

How do I get a visa?

Will I get alumni benefits?

How do I apply?

Applications will open for the first class in 2020.

Who can apply?

The EC-Africa program is targeted to entrepreneurs in Africa with mid-size companies who are looking to expand their companies across borders. Click here for a profile of the ideal candidate for the EC-Africa program.

Is there a maximum number of participants per project/company that can apply?

To participate in the program, companies need to enroll teams of 2 or 3 decision makers (CEO, Founders, Managing Directors, CFOs, etc.).

What are the language requirements?

All program components will be in English: all modules will be taught in English, and all written and spoken deliverables will be in English. As such, participants must be sufficiently fluent in English to complete reading assignments and meaningfully participate in discussions and working groups.

As a guideline, we recommend that participants have a level of English equivalent to a TOEIC score of 700. This score indicates that participants are able to communicate with success in various situations where they have expertise; their vocabulary and grammar may not always be the best choice or completely accurate, but their meaning is understood. Participants do not need to take the TOEIC or submit test scores with their applications, but they should self-assess at this level and demonstrate through their written application materials that their language abilities are at this level.

If you need to improve language skills, we suggest that you enroll in an English language course in your home country with emphasis in spoken English; alternatively, we can recommend English language providers in the United States.

What classes will we take?

You will take core classes that MBA students at Columbia take as part of the rigorous curriculum. You can see the schedule from the ECLA 2017 class, Module 1 here. Please note that the schedule is subject to change. Final schedules will be distributed prior to the start of each module.

Who are the professors who will be teaching the classes?

Classes are taught by the Columbia Business School faculty. You can learn more about the professors who teach in the EC-Africa Program here.

Is the work done individually or in teams?

All project work will be done in company teams. Each team should expect to devote five hours per week to the Process Improvement Project, Business Growth Plan, and Case Study that they are preparing for their company.

How will we be assessed?

Since all project work is done in company teams, assessment and evaluation will be for the team, not for the individual. It is expected that company teams will successfully demonstrate the skills, tools, and perspectives introduced in the program through three program deliverables: a Process Improvement Project, which involves the creation, implementation, evaluation, and presentation of actionable strategies to improve company performance; a Business Growth Plan, which outlines steps for cross-border expansion; and a final Case Study, which reports how students attempted to grow their businesses throughout the program. Teams will receive continuous feedback on their work through consultations with their faculty advisers and industry coaches. No examinations or grades will be given. Teams that cannot demonstrate impact on their companies as the result of their Process Improvement Projects will not be asked to continue the program after Module Four; decisions about program termination will be made by the Faculty Director in consultation with faculty and other program contributors.

How often do we meet during the online modules?

During the online modules (Module Two), classes will meet synchronously (in-time) once per month. Classes that include case instruction will be 90 minutes, and classes that focus on discussion of projects will be 60 minutes. Students will also have access to online course materials throughout the full program period, which they can review asynchronously (on their own time).

Where and how do we attend online classes?

These classes take place in an invitation-only web-based learning environment that supports case instruction and allows students to participate in real-time with the instructor and other students. A customized link for access will be provided prior to each class.

What if I have to miss a class?

Attendance in all four program modules is mandatory, since absences will prevent students from being able to successfully complete program deliverables. However, for firms sending two participants, this attendance requirement can be loosened for the international immersion trip: although both students are encouraged to participate in Module Three, only one representative per firm is required to attend.

What is the role of the faculty adviser?

A faculty adviser from Columbia Business School will be assigned to each student to provide direction, suggest relevant materials and/or resources, and ensure academic rigor throughout the duration of the program. Faculty advisers will communicate with students at the beginning, middle, and end of each project period.

What are the exact dates for the program?

Exact dates for the program will be announced in 2020

How does the payment for the program work?

The cost of the program is $10,000 per participant. This program fee covers the tuition of two participants from the same company, books, case materials and accommodations. Airfare to program locations and some meals are not included.

Where will we stay?

Since accommodations in all program locations are included in the program fee, participants will not be responsible for arranging or covering the costs of lodging. Participants should expect accommodations in all program locations to be double occupancy rooms in mid-range hotels in close proximity to classroom or meeting spaces. Information about travel, accommodations, and other program logistics will be circulated a few months prior to the start of each module.

How do I get a visa?

If you require a visa, we recommend the B1 business visa for our programs. Note that some embassies may ask that you apply for a student visa. Since our programs are non-degree and our participants are visiting the United States on business, however, the B1 is the appropriate visa. We follow U.S. State Department guidelines. It is against university policy for a representative to contact the embassy directly for a participant. However, we do have a standard letter that we can send to you to present to the embassy if needed.

Will I get alumni benefits?

Upon completion of the program, participants will receive The Certificate in Business Excellence (CIBE).  The CIBE is a recognition of your achievement and the investment you and your company have made in your education and development. You will have been taught by Columbia Business School's world-class thought leaders, and you will have benefited from your exposure to their cutting-edge, results-oriented research. Earning a CIBE grants you select Columbia Business School alumni benefits:

  • Invitations to alumni events and programs around the world
  • Global networking opportunities
  • Lifetime Columbia Business School e-mail address
  • Access to Columbia Business School Alumni Career Services resources
  • Subscriptions to all Columbia Business School alumni publications, including Ideas at Work and Columbia Business
  • Eligibility to join a Columbia Business School alumni club