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I have always been interested in problem-solving ever since my first summer job at General Electric at Selkirk, NY.  I was leading a group of MIT students then on a team engagement to solve a problem of persistent blockages in a plastics extruder equipment in a manufacturing plant. I'm not sure whether we were tricked to take on the challenge or it was a problem we were never given enough information to solve in the first place. I believe every one on the team was an A student and graduate student except me. I was a senior in MIT's Practice School Program. 

We worked nights and countless hours, came up with some of the most beautiful, elaborate fluid mechanics equations that led to a recommendation to replace or resize sections of piping leading into a dryer. The day we presented our findings, it did not go well at all. One of the oldest hands on the plant, a plant engineer in his late years with over 30year experience experience stood up at the end of the our presentation.  With a soft husky voice, he asked all in the room to follow him to the dryer where he jumped on it, opened the top and dragged an old twisted leather safety shoe that had caught up in the lines. That was the problem. On that fateful afternoon, my passion for solving complex problems in simple ways was born.

The Songhai Institute is about bridging the gap between what each of us learns in the classroom and what it takes to take domain-specific knowledge and do something transformational. 

Why am I relating this story to you?  All our partners at The Songhai Institute have had extensive executive careers and mentoring from experiences companies where execution has been a differentiator: at Microsoft, Sony, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Nike, Deutsche Bank, and Royal Bank of Scotland.  The singular theme behind such experiences is what has led us to create for example THE Practice School Program and its associated MBX program where Songhai partners intensively work with you in specific areas that we believe can be transformative for your company and your career.

I am a preacher of problem-solving and a believer in Degrees don't solve problems but skills do.....

Dr. Hene Aku Kwapong 



“Getting a job at today’s IBM does not always require a college degree” Ginni Rometty CEO IBM.

“What matters most is relevant skills.” Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn.

“It shouldn’t matter how you picked up your skills, just that you did” David Blake, cofounder Degreed

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1 Comment

Yirsob Bowan
Yirsob Bowan
Dec 11, 2018

Thanks. I'm for problem-solving transformation.

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