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Making A Difference

Solving Nigeria’s Skilled Workforce Challenge

Misan Rewane (MBA 2013)

Misan Rewane (MBA 2013) had an ambitious goal in cofounding WAVE Academy, an innovative vocational education program that connects its graduates with entry-level jobs within six to eight weeks of completing the program.

“We are trying to rewire the entire education and employment systems,” says Rewane, a native of Lagos, Nigeria.

In its first three years, WAVE has helped more than 1,000 students. Rewane, who was recently named a Social Impact Fellow by Gerson Lehrman Group Inc., expects to train 25,000 people by 2019.

Her determination for the project began in earnest at HBS, where she met her WAVE cofounders, Karan Chopra and Bryan Mezue. The three shared the experience of having grown up in Africa and the desire to help solve youth unemployment. Another classmate, Navid Rahimi, joined the team along with two classmates from an HGSE course on entrepreneurship in education. In all, their combined creative synergy made the team a runner-up in the 2013 Social Enterprise Initiative new venture competition.

“It’s tough, and sometimes I feel like I’m building a cathedral that could take hundreds of years,” Rewane says. “But there is happiness in the daily pursuit of making a difference.”

(Published September 2017)