19 July 2017

Interview first UU graduate Fellow Kofi Annan Business School (KABS)

Joseph Kaputula: first UU graduate Fellow KABS

In September 2016, Joseph Kaputula from Zambia started as the first Kofi Annan Business School (KABS) fellow at Utrecht University. Joseph was enrolled in the Master’s programme Business Development and Entrepreneurship at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance.

Who is Joseph?
Joseph Kaputula is an enthusiastic, ambitious & enterprising young Zambian professional intending to continue his development as an economist, business developer and academic. He holds an MSc in International Economics & Business (Utrecht University-Netherlands) and a BSc in Economics (Copperbelt University-Zambia). He is result oriented, purpose driven and has a proactive attitude to finding positive ways to stimulate and engage with other people.

How did you learn about the Kofi Annan Business School Scholarship?
I learnt about KABS when I was only months away from completing my bachelor. The assistant dean (Mr. Moffat Chawala) informed the best three performing candidates from our class (of which I happened to be second) to apply for the scholarship that came through the University. He also invited two other best candidates from a marketing and business administration class. All five candidates were interviewed via Skype by Dr. Leendert de Bell and Dr. Hein Roelfsema, after which I won the scholarship.

What was your motivation to apply?
From my high school days, I have been optimistic about my future, building a career and generally finding my own path in the world of academia. The desire for academic work grew even stronger when I got admitted to the Copperbelt University for my bachelor. From that time, I promised myself to pursue further studies, especially abroad. For me it was a dream come true when I got informed about the scholarship and I did my best to secure the position, which truly paid off and won me a once in an life-time opportunity to study in the Netherlands.

How did you experience studying in the Netherlands?
My study experience in the Netherlands is one thing I will live to remember. Meeting brilliant students and like-minded individuals from all parts of this world, getting familiar with modern way of doing things and just the great experience of being in a developed nation where nearly all things are done in an orderly and timely manner. My studying in the Netherlands opened even more opportunities to visit other European countries like Austria, Belgium, Germany and Hungary.
I must say, it has been a year well spent!

What did you learn from this Master’s programme?
True to the aim of the master programme, I have been equipped with scientific knowledge, analytical tools and practical skills needed for business development in both new and ingrained organizations. Furthermore, I have been challenged and learned to develop an extra pair of eyes to see and think differently whenever encountering complex challenges in this ever changing environment. This enabled me acquire a tool set necessary to unpack every detail relevant to developing a satisfying approach to tackle corporate/ society problems independently and in teams (I really appreciate the spirit of team work that I have learnt). As an academic enthusiast, I have also learned how to properly peer review articles, journals and books. This has significantly widened my scope of research. This has not only made me appreciate the peaceful, yet exhilarating moments of debating with brilliant minds via academic articles, but also led to a massive improvement in my scholarly writing skills, so that I no longer have a need for added “fluff” and “padding”.

What are the most important lessons learned during your stay in the Netherlands?
There were numerous important lessons. To name a few: the importance attributed to time, the honesty people have, the way of doing things, the seriousness attached to every task, the free manner in which  students can interact with their teachers.

What are your future plans?
My plan is to find a job in a corporate world, while I continue scaling up my two personal academic start-ups in Zambia. I do not intend to work for too long before joining an academic institution as a lecturer. Furthermore, I will continue advancing my career by pursuing further studies and my plan is to get my PhD before my 35th birthday.

KABS Fellow 2017-2018
We look forward to welcoming the prospective KABS Fellow, Nsamwa Mwale at the start of the academic year 2017-2018.


“Do not wish things were easy, wish you were better”.