The Gift that Opened Doors: One Couple’s Story

Edem Amenuvor (left) and Kwame Owusu-Ansah explain how INSEAD scholarships made a ‘world of difference’ in their lives

Kwame Owusu-Ansah MBA’22J was ecstatic. It was March 2021, and he had just received an offer from INSEAD to join the July intake of the 2022 MBA class. By June 2021, he had received more exciting news: His wife, Edem Amenuvor MBA’22D, had been invited by INSEAD to join the December intake.

Those feelings of elation, however, were quickly replaced by feelings of anxiety. Together, the couple wondered and worried: How would they afford the cost of attending INSEAD?

It wasn’t that they didn’t have good jobs. Kwame was an entrepreneur at a successful startup, while Edem was quickly climbing the ranks in investment banking. But they were living and working in Ghana, so their incomes were on par with those of emerging markets.

“Even though we were in a dual-income household, our combined income could not compete on a global scale, particularly on the Euro level,” explained Edem. “There’s just going to be a gap.” Kwame added, “It’s incredibly difficult to afford a Euro-based school as an African student. Even if I had consolidated all of my income, I wouldn’t have been able to get the €90,000 needed [to cover INSEAD’s tuition and fees].”

They did, in fact, try to scrape together the funds. After both selling their cars, Kwame and Edem asked family members for help. They also explored taking out loans, even though some came with exceptionally high interest rates.

But it wasn’t enough to cover their costs. So, in the weeks that followed, the question of whether Edem and Kwame could say “yes” to INSEAD hung in the balance.

The 10-year-plan

Ambitious from an early age, Kwame and Edem met on the first day of school at an international high school. They quickly became friends and stayed close in the years that followed — even as Edem moved to the US to earn her bachelor’s degree on a scholarship from Smith College, and Kwame went to South Africa to attend the University of the Witwatersrand. In their final year of university, they started dating long-distance.

Kwame and Edem were both passionate about using their “knowledge in the service of Africa,” a motto ingrained from high school. Together they lived and worked on the continent for eight years before receiving their INSEAD offers. They also jointly wrote a 10-year plan that included going to graduate school and gaining experience in developed markets, and Kwame had a specific goal of working in management consulting.

But back in 2021, paying for INSEAD was the first step. Kwame and Edem reached out to the school and, to their relief, were met with a generous offer. Along with various options for financial aid, Edem was awarded the INSEAD Machaba Machaba Scholarship and Kwame received the Sam Akiwumi Scholarship and INSEAD Diversity Scholarship.

“The scholarship meant a brighter future and a chance for me to pay it forward to the INSEAD community,” said Edem. “This MBA is a hope that became a reality through the immense generosity of donors, and INSEAD’s desire to take a chance on me.”

“It made a world of difference,” said Kwame. “We are now part of an INSEAD community that is bigger than us, one where we are never alone no matter where we find ourselves in the world. In a year, our perspectives and worldview have been forever changed.”

Long term, he and Edem plan to use their experience as a force for good by supporting promising African SMEs as angel investors. In the meantime, one of Kwame’s dreams has already come true. After recently completing his MBA, he was hired by Bain & Company as a management consultant.

“INSEAD opened that door and made it possible,” said Edem. “To those who give to INSEAD, I say a big thank you!”

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