EC-Africa FAQs

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?

Who can join online classes? Who can join the on-campus module?

What if I have to miss a class?

What is the role of the Think Bigger Coach, faculty advisor, and MBA consultants?

Program Information

What are the exact dates for the program?

How does the payment for the program work?

Where will we stay?

How do I get a visa?

Will I get alumni benefits?

How do I apply?

Applications for the class of 2022 are now open. Admissions are conducted on a rolling basis. We recommend that you apply as soon as possible because the program spots are filling up. Once you submit your application, we will follow up to schedule an interview.

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. Company profile: an established firm with a scalable business in or ready to enter a growth phase. Participant profile: proficient in English, bachelor’s degree, global mindset, intellectual curiosity. 

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. In the first module, you will take classes in Strategy, Problem Definition, and the Think Bigger method. In the online module, you will take a range of classes that are a part of the core MBA curriculum including operations strategy and management, marketing strategy, business analytics, cost accounting, entrepreneurial strategy, growth and innovation, organizational change, negotiations, and leadership. Please note that this list 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. 

Is the work done individually or in teams?

All project work will be done in company teams. Each team must consist of 2-3 top decision makers in the companu. You should expect to devote 3-5 hours per week throughout the program to the online sessions, advisory sessions, and project work.

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 the key program deliverable: a Think Bigger Project, which involves the creation, implementation, evaluation, and presentation of actionable strategies to improve company performance or market expansion. Teams will receive continuous feedback on their work through consultations with their peer groups, Think Bigger coaches, faculty advisors, and the EC-Africa leadership. No examinations or grades will be given. 

How often do we meet during the online modules?

During the online module (Module Two), classes will meet synchronously (in-time) once per week. Classes will be 2 hours (subject to change) on Thursday afternoons at 9am ET/2pm WAT/3pm CAT/4pm EAT.

Where and how do we attend online classes?

These classes take place on Zoom. Students will be expected to join for the duration of the class with videos on and prepared to participate. Links to each Zoom class will be sent prior to the start of the program.

Who can join online classes? Who can join the on-campus module?

All program participants are expected to regularly attend online classes. If there are specific classes for which you would like to invite other colleagues from your company, please alert us in advance who they are, and we will let you know if that’s suitable for that class. For example, if you would like to invite the head of marketing to a session on Digital Marketing, you will need to let us know in advance. The recordings of the classes may be shared within the company so that others can benefit from program learnings.

What if I have to miss a class?

Attendance in all three program modules is mandatory, since absences will prevent students from being able to successfully complete program deliverables. 

What is the role of the Think Bigger Coach, faculty advisor, and MBA consultants?

Think Bigger Coach: Your Think Bigger Coach is there to guide you through the Think Bigger method. They will help you narrow the focus of your project thesis and guide you through the planning process until you're ready to implement. Your Think Bigger Coach will meet with your peer group regularly.

Faculty Advisor: The group of faculty advisors are available to help provide guidance on the technical aspects of your projects as needed. This group of faculty spans the academic disciplines, including operations, supply chain, marketing, strategy, data analytics, and more. The EC-Africa leadership team will connect you with a faculty advisor whose expertise will be the most useful for your project.

What are the exact dates for the program?

  • December 6-10, 2021: Introductory classes (20 hours)
  • December 16, 2021 – September 15, 2022: Weekly classes every Thursday at 9am ET
  • September 25-30, 2022: Columbia Campus Immersion week and graduation ceremony

How does the payment for the program work?

The cost of the program is $12,000 per company. This program fee covers the tuition of two to three participants from the same company, case materials, and accommodations during the Campus Immersion week. Airfare to and from New York and some meals are not included during the Campus Immersion Week. Students admitted to the Class of 2022 will need to pay the total program fee by November 15 (before the start of the program).

Students will be able to pay by credit card through our online form or by wire transfer. Please reach out to [email protected] for more information.

Where will we stay?

Since accommodations are included in the program fee, participants will not be responsible for arranging or covering the costs of lodging. Participants should expect accommodations 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 Campus Immersion Week.

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