In the early 90’s, Nigeria had a lot of trainable manpower. Most of them had gone to the existing Nigerian Universities to obtain MBAs. Unfortunately these degrees never produced the required management skills expected of those who held them. As the economy expanded and developed, the need for management skills at all levels became very acute.
It was in this type of environment that the Lagos Business School came to being. Indeed it was an institution whose services were needed and welcomed. It could not have been established at a better time.
The Lagos Business School has a fascinating history and prof. Alos has brought it alive in this book: First the idea, then the strategic plan, the initial and humble beginnings, and finally the adult institution. In all the stages “the spirit that animated LBS from the beginning was the spirit of Opus Dei that fosters the respect for the dignity of persons, the value of work well done and the attention to detail”.
In the preface to this book, prof. Alos likened himself as the conductor of an orchestra that had people of “extraordinary qualities and commitment to the mission of the School”. Yes, that was the case; but what he failed to tell us was that, indeed, he was the silent motivating force behind each and every aspect of the School’s initiatives, activities and programmes. As the first Director General of LBS, he saw it all, the major and minor details of the School.
The role of the business community in the development and growth of the School was indeed very critical. The business community provided financial support and sponsored their staff to participate in the Executives Programmes of the School. For this to have happened, a formidable relationship with the business community was inevitable. And here, prof. Alos over-excelled himself both in seeking for financial support and in trying to convince the companies to patronize the School’s programmes. Developing a relationship is one thing, keeping it alive and dynamic is another. He was, and still is, the expert. The development of the School owes a lot to this prowess.
Prof. Alos has gone down the memory lane to tell the story of how the LBS evolved from humble and ordinary beginnings to the position of eminence which it now occupies. In between these two stages many difficult challenges were encountered raising funds for the school’s development, assembling the first faculty, developing new programmes, prospecting for participants in the Executive Programmes, getting the approval of the university, etc. The beauty of these challenges was the way prof. Alos and his colleagues faced them and made them look exciting to the point that one felt left out of a good thing if he or she was not involved in proffering solutions to these intricate tasks.
I can speak boldly about the School because I was somehow involved with the project over the past 20 years; besides, I was one of the first students of the pioneering programme for Chief Executives in 1992. It was a unique experience which I will forever cherish. The same goes for all the alumni of the institution given the large and active participation in its programmes over the years.
Good job, Alos. We expect another book this time on the makings of Pan African University.
(Foreword to the book “Not by Chance. Memories of the Lagos Business School” by Albert Alos, Mosuro 2013)
By Pascal Gabriel Dozie, founder of Diamond Bank plc where he served as Chairman/Chief Executive Officer from 1991 to 2006. He is also the Chairman of MTN Nigeria, the largest Nigerian mobile services operator since inception in 2001.
He is the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Pan-Atlantic University. He was also a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Lagos Business School.
Pascal G. Dozie is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the former president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.