3 Skills I Acquired at MEST and What they Mean to me Today
I am a 21st century literate because of MEST- I gained the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn. My ability to self-learn was acquired through the MEST culture — Ammishaddai Ofori, MEST Class of 2015
I’m Ammishaddai Ofori, an Innovation Strategist and Business Development Consultant currently based in Accra, Ghana. I graduated from the MEST Training Program in 2015. The program was the first of its kind in the tech space at the time, bridging our traditional academic education with hands-on technology and business experience. MEST played a major role in making me the innovator I am today and through this short article I hope to share this life-changing experience with every young African looking to pursue a career in tech entrepreneurship.
But first, who is Ammishaddai Ofori?
I am a harmony of different skill sets and identities. At this moment in my life I unapologetically identify as a child of God, an innovation strategist, a business development consultant, a spoken word artist, and a creative.
I am also the Director of Innovation Spark, an enabling consultancy in the African startup ecosystem. We fuel growth through innovation, media exposure, and advisory. I studied Science at Ghana’s Mfantsipim School and have a BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. A YALI Fellow, TAKEDA Foundation Scholar, and a proud MEST alumnus.
The impact of the MEST Training Program on my professional journey
I am a 21st-century literate because of MEST — I gained the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn. My career as an Innovation Strategist and Consultant requires that I am able to learn and understand the different industries my clients operate in. This ability to self-learn was acquired through the MEST culture that imbued a high degree of self-confidence, curiosity, and adaptability.
High-value networking is another skill I picked up from MEST that has significantly contributed to my career growth. The people I have met and worked with — simply from knowing how to communicate value and demonstrate an understanding of different business cultures — were from the skills I learned from my communications and business classes at MEST. Also, the calibre of people I was exposed to during community events and guest lectures at MEST enabled me to hone my networking skills in real-world settings.
Understanding the foundational principles of technology — how it works and how it can be properly used to increase productivity as well as optimize work processes — has been a boon. From actual coding to low-code, no-code applications, I have always had a competitive edge in any and every company I have worked with.
MEST opens doors. In Ghana, Africa, and the rest of the world, a MEST training is rated as an Ivy League-type education. There have been times I have only had to say “I am a product of MEST ’’ and that was it. You are immediately associated with quality, standards, and work ethics that are globally sought after.
The benefits of the MEST Training Program have been infused in many other aspects of my life and continue to shape my professional life, years after my graduation.
So why should you consider MEST at this time?
Oh! Life-changing experiences!
Do it for yourself. For your growth and the opportunities that it will represent. Do it for change — a change in the monotony of life defined by traditional education systems and the expectations from the conservative. Do it if you seek change and become the change you seek.
Also, now is a good time to get into tech entrepreneurship. At Innovation Spark, we have a front-row seat to the butterfly effect of the success stories of tech startups in Africa. It is exciting to see the new companies that are being born from the funding, support, and success stories of the godfathers of the startup scene like Rancard Solution, Softribe and how they are giving birth to amazing startups like Farmerline, Mpharma, Jetstream, GrowForMe and the endless list of third generation startups that are blossoming. The horizon is vast and the opportunities are spilling over. MEST is that place to gain world-class skills beyond technology and prepare you with real-life entrepreneurship experiences to lead and drive innovation in this burgeoning space.
Finally, do it for the vast and dynamic community of MEST that you will become a part of. You will love it.
Would I do anything differently if I were to go back as an entrepreneur-in-training? Nada! Maybe spend more time with the fellows and alumni who were in the incubator. Be more intentional with networking because the MEST community is gold.
Truly, there are so many exciting opportunities and possibilities now because of the platform that technology and entrepreneurship have today. So take a chance on yourself and apply for the MEST Training Program if you desire to make real change in the world today.