By the time Nigeria celebrates 100 years of independence, Seven-Up Bottling Company is hoping to have supported the grooming of 50 professionals who can fill leadership positions in critical areas of the economy through its Harvard Business School MBA scholarship scheme.
The Executive Director, Human Resources of the organization, Mr. Mr. Femi Mokikan, said at a briefing on Tuesday lat week that Seven-Up launched the scheme to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2010 with expectations that values transfer from the university will prepare beneficiaries of the scholarship yearly for future leadership roles.
He said: “The scheme is tied to the development of leaders in this country because we believe we need leaders, selfless leaders, who will put themselves last and we know that if they go through the value system of an institution like Harvard, they will gain needed values to help our country.”
Winner of this year’s scholarship, Mr. Olujimi Williams and Ms Misan Rewane who won it last year are already preparing for the challenges ahead.
When he returns, Williams is hoping to help solve Nigeria’s power problems and keep Small and Medium-scale enterprises (SME) in business.
“SMEs go out of business because they do not have the funds to power their businesses. My ultimate goal is to run a power company and do my bit stamp out corruption and every other inefficiency that hinders provision of power,” he said.
On her part, Ms Rewane, who earned her first degree at Stanford University, California, United States, said she hopes to impact education of less privileged children and counsel youths.
“I worked with ridge International, an NGO that provides private education for children from low income backgrounds. We are hoping to start academies in Nigeria as well. I also run IMPACT Initiative for youths. We focus on career counseling,” she said.
Explaining the choice of Harvard Business school for the scholarship scheme, Mokikan said it is because the school ranks top among other Ivy League Business schools globally.
“At an organization, Seven-Up Bottling Company does not believe in half measures hence we decided that the best way to build a pool of global leaders for Nigeria is to sponsor qualified young Nigerians to a world class institution to compete and learn from others.”
He added that beneficiaries of the scheme are not bonded to work for SBC after graduation.
“It is not compulsory that they must come back to work in Nigeria after graduation since some of them may end up in global organizations abroad. It is our expectation that 15 years down the line, they can return to the country fully equipped to contribute to the development of Nigeria”, Mokikan said.
The 7Up Harvard Business School MBA scholarship is open to Nigerians who have been offered admission at Harvard and are resident in Nigeria.