where I had become a legend as a student. However, the idealism wore off after I left university and was recruited by a private firm, which gave me a taste of management as a Academic discipline and field of practice. After a stint at the firm, I left to join the University of Lagos as an administrative officer, Profile a post which promised further training. I lost no time in enrolling for the MBA degree. During the MBA programme, I became very interested in industrial psychology, thanks to the exacting demands of the professor of the subject. After the MBA, I sought admission to the Department of Organisational Behaviour at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, which is the first academic Dr. David Akinnusi (BSc (Hons); MBA; PhD (CWRU) is a department in the world to offer the PhD in Organizational professor of industrial psychology and human resource Behaviour/Development. My training at Case exposed me management. He is also the Deputy Director of Research to the best minds and practitioners in the field. at the Faculty of Management and Leadership at Milpark Business School. What does your position as Deputy Director of Research entail? Tell us about your background. My position as Deputy Director, Research rests on I hail from Okitipupa, a town in the south-western part of more than three decades of active research at four Nigeria. I am the second child in a family of eight children, universities and in five countries. It entails managing MBA with four surviving. and postgraduate diploma research from inception to My parents were farmers and I grew up on farms and in publication of the dissertation, if possible. This involves villages and so was used to nature in its diversity – the liaising between students and supervisors who are streams, the forests, the animals and birds which I then scattered all over the country. This is against the backdrop enjoyed hunting, using catapults and traps - and helping of the significance of research in the curriculum and the my parents in every phase of the farming season. These lacklustre performance of most students who find the early experiences shaped my values of simplicity, humility, dissertation a hard nut to crack. The dissertation journey honesty, respect and hard work. When I retire, I would is strewn with many students stumbling and falling by the go back to my rural roots, planting and growing trees and wayside; only about a quarter of the students find the watching and admiring birds and animals instead of chasing journey pleasant and pleasurable to the end. them! In addition to promoting student research, my job also I have had an illustrious educational career: since primary entails developing and promoting a research culture in the school I was either first or second in my class and in institution, as MBS would also like to see itself as a research secondary school I was first in all six years, earning me institution. MBS has an array of incentives to encourage the enviable role as Senior Prefect and Headboy. More staff to contribute to knowledge and, in so doing, increase significantly, my academic prowess earned me a place in teaching effectiveness. Nigeria’s most coveted secondary school, King’s College, for my sixth form Cambridge Higher School Certificate. What is the most challenging aspect(s) of this position? I attended the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier The most challenging aspect of my work is finding and university then, graduating one of the best in my class. assisting those who are struggling in their dissertation My Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree journey and also ensuring that those who start know the was sponsored by the University of Lagos, after joining rigours of the journey and are well armed with research the institution as an administrative officer in 1974. The knowledge. It is also important to have well-motivated University also sponsored me (and my family) to do a three- supervisors who are committed to the process and who year PhD at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, enjoy doing research themselves. These challenges are USA. I served the University of Lagos meritoriously for 17 being tackled by developing a new research module pack, years, out of loyalty for their role in my development. standardising the format and assessment criteria of the dissertation, reorganising the teaching of the module and As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? closely monitoring the progress of the students. From the beginning of my educational journey, I knew I wanted to be a teacher of some kind. After my Masters, Tell us about your family. I wanted to become a lecturer, ending up as a professor, Grace and I have been married for almost forty years. We a nickname I had earned in my university days. My are blessed with eight children (four boys and four girls), appointment as a professor in 1999 was a very significant one of whom we lost tragically in Swaziland. The children, milestone in my academic career. as we still call them, are now men and women and except the last-born who is studying at UJ, have all graduated with When and why did you come to South Africa? a masters degree or working toward one. We also have I left Nigeria in 1991, when the opportunity for sabbatical seven grandchildren. leave opened for me at the University of Swaziland. However, a family tragedy cut short our sojourn in the How do you relax? country and we moved to the University of Fort Hare in I probably can describe myself as a workaholic, but 1995. knowing the dangers of overwork, I relax by watching my favourite TV programmes: wrestling and boxing, religious Tell us more about your early career. programmes and favourite soapie, Scandal. I enjoy walking My initial passion was to become a high school teacher and outdoors with Grace but what I miss mostly now is gardening principal and to spend all my days at Stella Maris College, and farming. I look forward to doing these when I retire!
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