For many years, employers have been frustrated about the skills mismatch exhibited by fresh university graduates versus the skills required in the workplace. Many students have the technical skills but not the professionalism required to be strong effective players in the corporate world. An impact consulting company committed to the transformation of enterprises and professionals is determined to provide a solution to this problem.
Gbemisola Abudu is the Founder & Managing Partner of BMGA Enterprise Limited (BMGA). BMGA stands for Brand Manager Gbemi Abudu, a name she chose for her company because she has spent most of her career as a custodian of some of the most reputable brands in the world including the likes of Disney, White & Case, Louis Vuitton, and Anap Jets. After many years as a custodian of leading corporate brands, she decided to pivot and apply her formidable skills to investing in and marketing human capital. She recognized that, although this skill gap exists across the board, female graduates are often lacking the training and necessary opportunities to sharpen their professionalism.
Tell us more about BMGA?
BMGA is the “finishing school” for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are focused on equipping individuals with the skills required to be successful in the current and future workforce. Research indicates that the workplace of the future will view disciplinary knowledge as a commodity, the access to knowledge is already so plentiful and affordable that these skills will no longer be enough for graduates to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Instead, emphasis will be placed on skills such as emotional intelligence, communication, negotiation skills, etc. We deliver capacity building programs that effectively upskill and reskill professionals to ensure that they optimize their performance in the workplace and are competitive on the new global stage. This, in turn, helps to address some of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Gender Equality (SDG #5) and several others indirectly such as No Poverty (SDG #1), Quality Education (SDG #4), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG #8), Industry Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG #9), and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG #16).
What makes BMGA’s approach different?
BMGA is different because we are rooted in the science of learning and behavior. Before deploying our capacity-building programs, we embarked on in-house research geared towards understanding how the human brain gathers, retains, and recalls information. We considered it critical to understand how to change human behavior from an anthropological standpoint. From a holistic perspective, we needed to have a baseline understanding of the works of several neurologists, education scientists, and anthropologists that focused on our areas of interest – how to learn and how to change a mindset.
Based on the findings from our research, we decided to identify the foundational pillars in professional development leveraging my own as a template (Disney College Program, White & Case LLP, and Thunderbird School of Global Management) and dissect the key learnings from my 15 plus years professional career that span experiences in three regions of the world (North America, Middle East, and Africa). That coupled with insights from in-depth conversations on skills gaps with CEOs and Chairpersons of leading organizations was how the BMGA methodology on how to effectively transform and empower professionals for the Fourth Industrial Revolution was born.
BMGA recently launched a social impact initiative targeted towards recent female university graduates. What is the concept behind it?
Yes, we launched the BMGA Fellows Program in May 2020. The program is designed to narrow the gender skills gap that exists with female university graduates. With the application of the BMGA methodology, we created a program that provides academically accomplished young women a unique opportunity to have a transformational learning experience that will play a pivotal role in their personal and professional development.
The BMGA Fellows Program provides high-level professional development courses i.e. Business Etiquette, soft skills that are essential for the Fourth Industrial Revolution while providing participants access and resources to build a successful career. The 2020 cohort consists of twenty-four exceptional young women from different regions and top tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The different components of the program are designed to ensure that all the participants are confident, well-rounded, professional, and possess a global mindset. The program runs from May 2020 to November 2020.
So, what are the different components of the program?
The different components of the program are (i) The BMGA eLearning Platform, which helps the participants to hone their Information and Computer Technology (ICT) literacy skills. (ii)
live lectures with professors that mirrored the meeting style of learning. (iii) The Champions of Africa’s History lecture series, which shines the spotlight on forgotten African female heroes as examples to our young women that they come from a rich and honourable lineage. The lecture series also includes sections on topics that affect African women i.e. colorism. (iv) Book discussions focused on examining books that help them understand the dynamics of modern business successes and failures. The books we have studied so far in our current cohort are Shoe Dog: A Memoir by The Creator of Nike, and Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. (v) The BMGA Leadership Speakers Series, which provides participants the opportunity to learn about leadership directly from a distinguished cast of leaders with exemplary careers. In the current cohort, the speakers have included Masai Ujiri (President, of the NBA Toronto Raptors), Liz Agbor-Tabi (Vice President, Global Policy at Global Citizen), Abubakar Suleiman (Managing Director of Sterling Bank Plc), and Dr. Jumoke Oduwole (Senior Special Adviser to President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the Ease of Doing Business) just to name a few.
Sounds like a well-thought-out program.
Yes, it is. We have been intentional with all the components to ensure that it’s a truly transformational experience for the participants. We have been so privileged to have had incredible supporters and sponsors for the 2020 cohort such as Yale University Center of Emotional Intelligence, African Society of Cambridge University, University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, Sterling Bank Plc, The Longe Practice, just to name a few. We are truly grateful for all their support and assistance. Without them, we would have not been able to successfully deploy the program.
What is your projection of the company in the next five years?
With our corporate programs, we look to play a significant role in reshaping and redefining professionalism in the workplace in Nigeria by working closely with SMEs and large corporations to reskill and upskill their employees for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
For the BMGA Fellows Program, we aim to transform up to 10,000 female leaders directly and indirectly in the next five years. Because we apply the transformational domino concept by ensuring that we admit high potential women into the program, we are confident that the BMGA Fellows will go on to transform young women in their respective networks.