Microsoft Ghana’s Country Manager Talks With Computing Science Students' Association

From left to right: Miracle Anyanwu, Chris Dare, Derek Appiah and Sarah Omoseke

The Country Manager for Microsoft Corporation, Derek Appiah has encouraged students to have the right attitudes toward hard work if they want to make it in life. Derek was speaking to members of the Computing Science Students’ Association of the Valley View University. The purpose of the interaction was for the students to learn about Microsoft’s Vision for Africa and how they can be a part of it.

Derek asserted to the idea that, to do something with excellence, one needs to have the right attitude for it. Honesty, integrity, excellence with no mediocrity can help anyone to rise up the social ladder. One needs to be passionate about whatever is been done, he added; and that is how you will defeat the attitude of giving up. He advised students to pick employments that they know they will enjoy, because they would be spending a third of their lifetime in it. “If that job frustrates you, it is likely you are not going to be happy at all”, Mr. Appiah adds. He also advised the students to put their intellectual abilities to work since hard work is important. Learn to do something and do it well to the point where you do it best.

Derek Appiah counselled the students to migrate into areas of change. He said that a person’s propensity to succeed depends on where he is. Mr. Appiah avowed that, only constant thing is change, and if you do not learn to adapt, you will end up being a relic.

According to Derek, one of the things Microsoft is doing on the global scale for Africa is to make computing more personal. He explains that, Microsoft keeps improving on her products to suit their customers’ need, especially for the African market. He mentioned some of the innovations that have been introduced into the now stable operating system (OS). These include the facial recognition user authentication system, and Windows Hello, which allows you to sign in with a smile. He explained to the students that, he believes in “creating a value exchange between citizens, industry and government”. He added that “young people are an asset to our society, and even more so if they are adequately equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to create a brighter future for themselves and for Ghana”.

Mr. Appiah also spoke about the 4th industrial revolution which many people recognize is here. The 4th Industrial Revolution is a data centric one. The world is producing tons and tons of data every minute. He said that we can create value from it by making meaning out of the pieces. The more we are able to make meaning, the more value we create. Each time we said goodbye to a product that was an agent of change, we welcome newness, innovation and productivity. For him, it is time to feel what the world experienced when the steam engine, the telegraph, the combustion engine, the internet and many others were unveiled. He gave an example of one of such technological companies that are taking advantage of this new wave, Snapchat.

 

According to Derek Appiah, most people are disappointed to hear that they cannot take internships or national service with Microsoft as of now. He however clarified; Microsoft is more interested in them working with you than in you working for them. The corporation is looking for more partnerships. They want to make more people rich. He encouraged the students not to be disappointed just yet. This is because, the tech giant wants to put people in better positions to add value to the lives of others. Microsoft is partnering with a number of organizations to contribute to the economic development in Ghana. They have 150 partners employing 3000 people in Ghana. Jobs mean salaries, salaries mean taxes and taxes mean better financial stability for the government.

The Computing Science Students’ Association of the Valley View University would like to take this opportunity to express their appreciation to Derek Appiah for sharing his experience and knowledge with them.

 

THE DEREK APPIAH STORY

Derek Appiah started out in Electrical Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) at a time when people queued to use punch card computers in school. After being a Teaching Assistant for a while and realizing that he needed more action because of his interests and passion, he hopped on a plane to the United Kingdom (UK), where he began to help businesses grow. Much of his work began in the telecommunications industry. The success in his pursuit for an MBA ushered him into management and consultancy at some of the Telecommunications companies, like British Telecommunications in the UK as well as others in Qatar, New Zealand, Ireland, and the UAE.

 

He decided to come back to Africa because he believes in giving to his home: our continent. After spending time with MTN in Nigeria, he moved to Ghana to join Vodafone. At the time Vodafone had just acquired Ghana Telecom. There, he set up Vodafone’s Enterprise Unit before moving to head Logiciel Ghana Ltd as CEO and currently a Non-executive Director. Then, in 2015, He joined Microsoft as country manager for Ghana.

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