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					                                                               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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