The Africa Business Club (ABC) provides services and resources for African students, students who have worked in Africa, and any student with a professional or cultural interest in Africa. We also promote the engagement of the African business community with Harvard Business School.
We have approximately 100 members, and our membership profile is very diverse. We pride ourselves on being a club that is open to anyone who is interested in Africa, regardless of where you are from or whether you have any prior exposure to Africa. Furthermore, we strive to make all our members feel welcome and that they are part of a family.
We hope that ABC gives its members a sense of fellowship and community on campus. The club does an excellent job of bringing people together with a shared interest in Africa. However, we also hope to influence students beyond just club members by helping to increase visibility of Africa on campus. We do this by promoting the development of cases that cover African countries, businesses, and protagonists within the curriculum. We also encourage dialogue on economic, political, and social issues in Africa through our events on campus and our annual conference.
ABC organizes activities that are professional, educational, and social in nature. We run a host of events for our club members including social gatherings, career panels, think-and-drinks (discussions of pertinent topics over drinks and snacks), an annual retreat, and the Africa Business Conference. In 2015, we held our first “Africa Week” on campus – a week of activities to celebrate Africa.
The Africa Business Club provides a great level of assistance and support, both formally and informally, to students searching for summer and full time jobs in Africa. The club organizes panels on how to get an internship or a full time job in Africa, featuring students that interned in Africa between the first and second year and second year students that have secured full time positions in Africa.
The club also organizes a yearlong speaker series, where executives from prestigious firms, including professional recruiting firms in Africa, speak to students about opportunities at their companies and on the continent as a whole.
In addition, the club sends out weekly newsletters to club members that include job opportunities in Africa that have been sourced from one of the club sponsors, alums, or recruiters in our network.
The annual HBS Africa Business Conference is the biggest student conference at HBS with ~1400 attendees, and is the largest student-run Africa-focused business conference in the world. It brings together government officials, business leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals, and students, from the diaspora and the continent, for a 2-day conference focused on business opportunities in Africa and centered around a different theme every year.
The conference features 20–30 dynamic panel sessions, 4-6 inspirational keynote sessions, a New Venture Competition where $15,000 is awarded to winners, a Career Fair, a prospective student event, a brunch between alumni and current students, and a banquet and party.
Prospective students are very much encouraged to attend the conference because it gives them a good overview of what life is like as an HBS student through the prospective student activities, such as the mock case study, the panel with current students and alumni, the Q&A session with HBS Admissions, and it allows them experience the strength and support of the club both from alumni and from the broader African community.