How do I apply?
Admissions are conducted on a rolling basis. We recommend that you apply as soon as possible because the program spots are filling up. Once you submit your application, we will follow up to schedule an interview.
You can apply to the 2024 EC-Africa program here.
Who can apply?
The EC-Africa program is targeted to entrepreneurs in Africa with mid-size companies who are looking to expand their companies across borders. Company profile: an established firm with a scalable business in or ready to enter a growth phase. Participant profile: proficient in English, bachelor’s degree, global mindset, intellectual curiosity. Read more about the participant profile here.
Is there a maximum number of participants per project/company that can apply?
To participate in the program, companies need to enroll teams of 2 or 3 decision makers (CEO, Founders, Managing Directors, CFOs, etc.). Single participants may not apply without a team.
What are the language requirements?
All program components will be in English: all modules will be taught in English, and all written and spoken deliverables will be in English. As such, participants must be sufficiently fluent in English to complete reading assignments and meaningfully participate in discussions and working groups.
As a guideline, we recommend that participants have a level of English equivalent to a TOEIC score of 700. This score indicates that participants are able to communicate with success in various situations where they have expertise; their vocabulary and grammar may not always be the best choice or completely accurate, but their meaning is understood. Participants do not need to take the TOEIC or submit test scores with their applications, but they should self-assess at this level and demonstrate through their written application materials that their language abilities are at this level.
If you need to improve language skills, we suggest that you enroll in an English language course in your home country with emphasis in spoken English; alternatively, we can recommend English language providers in the United States.
What classes will we take?
You will take core classes from the MBA curriculum, which have been chosen intentionally for founders, entrepreneurs, and senior executives. Additionally, you will take classes to learn the proven methodologies we have developed on problem definition, prioritization, project development, and innovation. Learn more about the curriculum here.
Who are the professors who will be teaching the classes?
Classes are taught by the Columbia Business School faculty.
Is the work done individually or in teams?
All project work will be done in company teams. Each team must consist of 2-3 top decision makers in the company. You should expect to devote 3-5 hours per week throughout the program to the online sessions, advisory sessions, and project work.
How will we be assessed?
Since all project work is done in company teams, assessment and evaluation will be for the team, not for the individual. It is expected that company teams will successfully demonstrate the skills, tools, and perspectives introduced in the program through the capstone project, which involves the creation, implementation, evaluation, and presentation of actionable strategies to improve company performance or market expansion. We like to say that you get out of the program what you put into it, so it is up to the team to utilize all of the resources provided during the course of the program. No examinations or grades will be given.
How often do we meet during the online modules?
During the online modules (Modules Two and Four), classes will meet synchronously (in-time) every two weeks. Classes will be 2 hours (subject to change) on Thursday afternoons at 9am ET/2pm WAT/3pm CAT/4pm EAT.
Where and how do we attend online classes?
These classes take place on Zoom. Students will be expected to join for the duration of the class with videos on and prepared to participate. Links to each Zoom class will be sent prior to the start of the program.
Who can join online classes? Who can join the in-person modules?
All program participants are expected to regularly attend online classes. If there are specific classes for which you would like to invite other colleagues from your company, please alert us in advance who they are, and we will let you know if it’s suitable for that class. For example, if you would like to invite the head of marketing to a session on Digital Marketing, you will need to let us know in advance. The recordings of the classes may be shared within the company so that others can benefit from program learnings. Only the company team that applied to the program may join the in-person modules.
What if I have to miss a class?
Attendance in all program modules is mandatory, since absences will prevent students from being able to successfully complete program deliverables. Please notify us as early as possible if you will have to miss a session.
What is the role of the MBA consultants and faculty advisor?
MBA consultants: The MBA consulting team will help with the project development by doing research, running surveys, or other analyses to help understand the problem that was defined early in the program. They are not doing the project or work for you; you are working together as a team.
Faculty Advisor: The group of faculty advisors are available to help provide guidance on the technical aspects of your projects once the work with the MBA students is complete. This group of faculty spans the academic disciplines, including operations, supply chain, marketing, strategy, data analytics, and more. The EC-Africa leadership team will connect you with a faculty advisor whose expertise will be the most useful for your project.
How does the payment for the program work?
The EC-Africa Program is heavily subsidized by our program sponsors. In addition to this, each company is required to pay a small portion of the cost of the program. Program fees are on a sliding scale based on annual revenue, as shown below. Program fees include accommodation, class materials, and most meals for 2-3 participants. Airfare is not included for any in-person sessions.
Company Revenue (USD)
Program Fee (USD)
Where will we stay?
Since accommodations are included in the program fee, participants will not be responsible for arranging or covering the costs of lodging. Participants should expect accommodations to be double occupancy rooms in mid-range hotels in close proximity to classroom or meeting spaces. Information about travel, accommodations, and other program logistics will be circulated a few months prior to the in-person modules.
How do I get a visa?
If you require a visa, we recommend the B1 business visa for our programs. Note that some embassies may ask that you apply for a student visa. Since our programs are non-degree and our participants are visiting the United States on business, however, the B1 is the appropriate visa. We follow U.S. State Department guidelines. It is against university policy for a representative to contact the embassy directly for a participant. However, we do have a standard letter that we can send to you to present to the embassy if needed.
Please see your country's requirements for entry into Morocco.
Will I get alumni benefits?
Upon completion of the program, participants will receive The Certificate in Business Excellence (CIBE). The CIBE is a recognition of your achievement and the investment you and your company have made in your education and development. You will have been taught by Columbia Business School's world-class thought leaders, and you will have benefited from your exposure to their cutting-edge, results-oriented research. Earning a CIBE grants you select Columbia Business School alumni benefits:
- Invitations to alumni events and programs around the world
- Global networking opportunities
- Lifetime Columbia Business School e-mail address
- Access to Columbia Business School Alumni Career Services resources
- Subscriptions to all Columbia Business School alumni publications, including Ideas at Work and Columbia Business
- Eligibility to join a Columbia Business School alumni club