Blog: From a Malawian village to an MBA

News from CDC
27 March 2017

Langson Samala, a Malawian student, is studying for an MBA thanks to a scholarship from Unicaf, an education company we invest in. When he qualifies Langson intends to set up his own business providing quality employment whilst improving his and his family’s life chances. Here, Langson tells his story.

My background

I was born in a small village in the south of Malawi. When I was in my final years of primary school my mother moved the family to the capital Lilongwe so she could find work as a house helper cleaning wealthy families’ homes. Whilst living at home I also worked as a houseboy, a term applied to male domestic servants, but was extremely lucky in that I was able to continue my education.

When I was 11 my father passed away leaving my mother to care for me and my two younger sisters. Despite the additional strain this placed on the family I was able to continue school after being selected to New House Community Day Secondary School.

The challenge

In Malawi provision for secondary education varies greatly with fees for the top private schools exceeding what many families make in a year. Community day schools are far more accessible but have very limited resources and few qualified teachers. Due to this it is extremely hard for pupils at these schools to progress to higher education.  

Despite these difficulties I had a number of experiences which inspired me to continue seeking a place at university. 

After finishing school I was forced to stay at home and continue working whilst applying to public universities. I kept up hope that I would one day manage to find a place and this dream came true when in October 2010 I was selected as an on campus, government sponsored student for a Bachelor of Science (Fisheries) degree at Mzuzu University, the second public university founded in Malawi. As an on campus student I was provided with a shared room and was able to apply for a student loan to cover my tuition.

Though I was overjoyed to be able to fulfill my dream of attending university my first year was extremely hard as my mother passed away around the time of my mid semester examinations.  She had always been my inspiration to succeed and I struggled with her loss as well as the responsibility of caring for my sisters. 

Whilst completing my Bachelor of Science degree I was keen to increase my employability to allow me to become a strategic leader and be at the forefront of my country’s progress as a nation. The best way of doing this would be to complete a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) however the cost of these, up to $60,000, put it far out of my prospects.

Graduation day

I graduated from Mzuzu University with First Class honors’ in 2015 still with the conviction that an MBA would be the best way of widening my career options. It was on the 15 August 2016 when I saw an advert for a Masters of Business Administration scholarship being offered by Nation Publication Limited and Unicaf University. I immediately searched for more information on how to apply for the scholarship which included full tuition. I was ecstatic when I found out that Unicaf had selected me for the scholarship.

The MBA itself is a blended degree programme comprising online modules and on-ground support which even without a scholarship makes it around 80 per cent cheaper than a traditional MBA.

Anastasia Chioma Orji is another student enrolled on the UNICAF MBA programme. 

My future

Once I graduate I plan to get a job enabling me to be independent and to support my sisters. My closest sister Grace completed her secondary education but not with the grades to gain a scholarship to university. My youngest sister dropped out of education in primary school and is now married in the village where I grew up. Her life is very difficult and I feel a responsibility to take care for both my sisters.

From there I want to establish my own firm. I hope that once I find employment I will be able to save the funds to get the business up and running.

Throughout my life, education has provided me with the hope that I can contribute to the development of my country as many entrepreneurs are already doing. Completing an MBA has opened up a world of opportunities for my future; with determination I have the assurance that the sky can never be the limit for me.

Media contacts

Rhyddid Carter: +44 (0)20 7963 4741 / +44(0) 7824 552 326

rcarter@cdcgroup.com

About CDC

CDC Group plc is the UK’s development finance institution.  Wholly owned by the UK Government, it invests in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with the aim of supporting economic development to create jobs.  CDC takes a flexible approach and provides capital in all its forms, including equity, debt, mezzanine and guarantees, to meet businesses’ needs and achieve development impact.  CDC has net assets of £4.8bn.

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