Inside the 2023 Global Leadership Program: A Q&A with Nwalahnjie Anye Akumawah

The following Q&A features insights from Nwalahnjie Anye Akumawah, an African Leadership University (ALU) student pursuing a bachelor’s (B.Sc Hons) in software engineering. Nwalahnjie was one of 20 ALU students to participate in the 2023 Global Leadership Program, a month-long entrepreneurial leadership immersive learning experience in Silicon Valley at the Carnegie Foundation headquarters.

At ALU, students declare missions, not majors – defining their educational experience by the impact they want to make in the world. Nwalahnjie’s mission is to create a transformative impact on individuals and communities by providing job opportunities and high-quality education, empowering them with equal opportunities for growth and success. Follow Nwalahnjie’s leadership journey to learn more.

Follow Nwalahnjie’s leadership journey to learn more.

What was the most valuable part of your experience in the 2023 Global Leadership Program?

The 2023 Global Leadership Program was a big deal for me because I learned a lot about being an entrepreneur and how to make a positive change in people’s lives. Every talk and moment in the program taught me something new. I got advice from some really successful people from the Silicon Valley area.

The master class sessions, chats, and company tours made me think of questions I never had before, even about myself. Visiting places like Netflix, Verily, X Moonshot factory, and Stanford’s nano facilities was special. Seeing big companies up close and talking to their employees taught me that everyone has an important role in making a company succeed.

More than anything, I felt like I was part of something big. Now, I’m even more inspired to make sure my startup venture succeeds, especially because we have big goals.

What learning(s) have you taken with you from the 2023 Global Leadership Program? 

During the Global Leadership Program, I had eye-opening experiences about the intricacies of managing and driving a successful business, especially from professionals who have excelled in various fields. Each interaction, and every piece of advice shared by industry experts, added value to my perspective on entrepreneurship. Two of the most impactful experiences for me were the site visits to Amazon Web Services and X, The Moonshot Factory. 

At Amazon Web Services, the emphasis on being customer-centric truly resonated with me. It wasn’t just a theoretical concept; it was a deeply rooted principle in their approach. This aligned so well with my background as a software engineer. In software development, especially when following the agile methodology, satisfying customers with a valuable product is the top priority. If we genuinely understand customer needs, desires, and feedback, it provides the direction and iterations necessary for a successful product. That’s why at my startup, MediXR, which is focused on delivering high-quality training to medical students, we are deeply committed to our customers. User satisfaction isn’t just a metric; it’s our guiding principle.

At Google X the Moonshot Factory, the environment was not only intellectually stimulating, but it also felt likethe boundaries of innovation were consistently pushed. It was truly inspiring to learn about their ambitious projects, the scale at which they aim, and the associated challenges they are taking on. A key takeaway from our session was when Astor Teller, the CEO of X, remarked, “You can aim to do cool stuff, but always be prepared for the challenges.” It was an enlightening moment, reflecting upon our venture at MediXR. Utilizing VR for training is an exciting frontier, yet it’s fraught with complexities, especially when implementing such technology in African regions.

Since the culmination of the Global Leadership Program, these profound lessons have become cornerstones in my entrepreneurial journey. They are not just teachings but have become a part of the ethos at MediXR. I firmly believe that with this foundation and the direction we’re taking, MediXR is certain to redefine the landscape of medical training. I have immense gratitude to the Global Leadership Program and every support system in my journey.