“The diverse cultures, perspectives and values amalgamating for a business outcome that serves people is an incredible phenomenon of our time.”
Lungile Tshuma knows what it takes to perform on the highest of stages—and to the highest degree. As a former international rugby player representing his home country of Zimbabwe, Tshuma understands the commitment it takes to succeed.
When Tshuma was searching for a program to widen his scope of understanding, the Olin MBA program was an obvious fit. The combination of a rigorous academic agenda with a focus on international learning made Olin and Tshuma a perfect pair.
“As a former international athlete in a constant position of representation at home and in foreign lands, I developed the awareness and gratitude for not only where I come from, but also where I have been,” he said.
Entrepreneurship at Olin
Core to Tshuma’s attraction to Olin was, as he described it, “the entrepreneurial spirit.”
“It has enabled a way of thinking that allows the diverse perspectives to create new ways of solving problems and impacting those within reach,” he said.
Not only has he been deeply inspired during his time at Olin, but he also made use of Olin’s resources, which he said have been essential to developing as an entrepreneur.
Olin's global perspective
Among Olin’s core strategic pillars of excellence, its focus on being globally oriented spoke the strongest to Tshuma.
“The world and business are more intertwined than ever before,” he said. “The diverse cultures, perspectives and values amalgamating for a business outcome that serves people is an incredible phenomenon of our time.”
Olin’s intentional approach to a globalized community helps Tshuma make his way in the world, with a hands-on learning style that has helped hone his skills for theoretical and practical applications.
Olin’s three-continent global immersion at the start of the MBA program has given Tshuma the opportunity to consult on projects. He has gained applicable experience all around the world. It was an experience he did not take for granted.
His time traveling, studying and working with Olin in Barcelona, Shanghai and St. Louis offered the opportunity to interact with and learn from clients, cultures and professors in ways that would otherwise be difficult to attain.
“This type of learning involves deeper insight into one’s self in order to produce accurate results, while taking into account cultural nuances,” Tshuma said. Olin’s dynamic way of teaching has fostered his growth while enabling him to use the strengths he brought in thanks to his background.
On who impacted him the most
Tshuma credits many individuals in the Olin community for their impact and influence on his experience, including classmates and “my courageous adviser” Ashley Macrander, assistant dean and director of graduate programs.
He especially singled out Doug Villhard, academic director for the entrepreneurship program at Olin.
“His demeanor and character communicate fulfillment in pursuing one’s dreams,” Tshuma said. “Doug’s combination of encouragement and authenticity has challenged me to think about the way I want to live my own professional life. This has made me want to use entrepreneurship as a vehicle to impact lives for the better.”
A competitor beyond sport
Tshuma’s motivation in the business world has remained the same as when he was pursuing athletic achievement: “My desire as an athlete was to represent my tribe, country and continent well at an elite level, whilst maximizing on the opportunities at hand.”
While still keeping the same values, Tshuma has refocused his energy into his entrepreneurial goals. His desire “to represent well and empower is still the same, but now the vehicle used to get there is business.”
Lungile Tshuma, MBA 2021
Development through private sector investment
Pre-MBA: international athlete, Zimbabwe Rugby Union
Education: BA, international relations and affairs, Lindenwood University
Hometown: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Key Olin success drivers
Key Olin pillars of excellence