Current Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Tell us what you’re up to these days. I maintain a position at the same company I joined shortly after my graduation from HBS in 2012. I work at Tana Africa Capital (Tana), an Africa-focused investment firm targeting businesses in the consumer-driven and agriculture-based sectors. My time with Tana has been nothing short of a thrill. I am grateful for the exposure and experiences gained over the past 2+ years, evaluating and executing on investment opportunities in over 10 countries across the continent. Given the lean team structure at Tana, every team member is encouraged to continuously stretch himself/herself into roles of greater responsibility and influence. This has afforded me the opportunity for great learning, as well as great challenges. Traveling in the frontier markets of Africa clearly places one at the forefront of the socio-economic difficulties confronting the region today. However, I continue to be amazed by the profound determination and optimism which I discover in the people I meet: hope for a better Africa has never been stronger. Other than work, I have taken up more reading and enjoy exploring the gradual rebirth of Johannesburg’s once-derelict downtown neighborhoods.
How has having an MBA impacted your career? Obtaining an MBA has impacted my career in more ways than I would have imagined on my graduation day. Experiencing the case method has greatly enhanced my ability to unravel complexity in the midst of a challenging conversation, and contribute in a timely manner with relevant input which moves the conversation forward. Given the broad geographic reach of the HBS alumni network, I can gain from their hospitality – as well as learn from their experiences – in several cities where I travel. Finally, I have had the opportunity to maintain touch with some professors who have served as invaluable advisers during important junctures in my career thus far.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Where will the next chapter take you? I enjoy working with African businesses, providing support wherever necessary, to grow them in a sustainable manner. I do not foresee this interest changing over the next 5 years. I intend to continue growing my career at Tana, learning from its leaders and the increasing responsibilities which they offer to younger members of the team. I hope to one day help in building this investment firm into one which is known for its hands-on management approach, patient capital and deep knowledge in the sectors within which we operate in Africa.
– Robert Leke, MBA 2012