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Doctoral Grad Today...
Entrepreneur—and Mayor—Tomorrow?

Written by Vera Springett

“I never envisioned that I would one day become an entrepreneur,” says Desmond Bikoko, D.B.A., President of Madison Holdings Limited in Malawi, Africa.

Because when he returned to his homeland Lilongwe, Malawi, after 18 long years in the US, he only had one goal in mind: to join politics.

Desmond Bikoko (D.B.A., International Business, 2007)

Dr. Bikoko is Mayor of the Capital City in Malawi.

“With a higher degree at hand, I realized that a lot of opportunities would come my way,” he says.

As the son of an African diplomat, Dr. Bikoko was always interested in politics, especially that of his own country.

“Malawi’s political landscape has been dominated by the same few politicians that have offered very little in terms of development, but rather focused on personal financial gains,” he says. “I am saddened that after 50 years of independence, we still seem not to have a developmental competitive vision for our great nation.”

After completing his doctoral degree from NCU, Dr. Bikoko’s plan was to gain experience as a government employee in Malawi for about five years, and then run for political office.

“However God had different plans for me,” he explains, as he was quickly learned he was too young, over-qualified and under-experienced for a government position.

Frustrated, Dr. Bikoko explored ways to move forward from this temporary setback. His path to entrepreneurship began with the purchase of ten used cars that he turned into a small rental car business. Since then, Dr. Bikoko has founded Madison Holdings Limited, and successfully implemented every business idea he has had.

“The company has been growing and currently has four subsidiaries: recruitment unit, vehicle tracking unit, catering unit, business management unit and University,” he says.

“With a higher degree at hand, I realized that a lot of opportunities would come my way.”

Dr. Desmond Bikoko, D.B.A.

As Dr. Bikoko reflects on the evolution of his business, he attributes his achievements to his NCU experience.

“I remember being challenged by NCU instructors to think outside the box at all times,” he says, recalling an insight he used to grow his business exponentially.

Dr. Bikoko describes each course at NCU as being unique in its own way, allowing him to use the knowledge he gained to become the ambitious entrepreneur he is today.

“NCU offers [a] quality education that prepares students for a great future,” he says.

But as prosperous as his business was, Dr. Bikoko never gave up on his dream of becoming a politician. He contested for political office this year and has successfully won a seat in the local government.

“I will be Mayor of the Capital City,” he says with great pride.

As mayor of Lilongwe, Dr. Bikoko has tremendous plans for a city that faces environmentally unfriendly and poor infrastructural development: unplanned road networks; substandard commercial buildings, car parking areas and general cleanliness; open urination due to the mismanagement of toilets by the Health Department; poor market systems; and a lack of social infrastructures where families can go for recreation.

“NCU offers quality education that prepares students for a great future.”

Dr. Desmond Bikoko, D.B.A.

“My vision is to create a progressive environment that nurtures the growth of business, affordable living, and social responsibility,” says Dr. Bikoko, who eventually wants every resident of Lilongwe to feel it is the best place to live, raise a family and stay.

Being a father of 8-year-old twin girls, running a booming business and leading a city, is all going to be challenging for this young, new mayor. But he doesn’t take his responsibilities lightly.

“Governing a city is serious business that requires full attention,” he says. “As a mayor I want to focus on governing and transforming the great city of Lilongwe.”

As for his businesses, he’s hired experienced administrators to handle the day-to-day work as he watches over from the sidelines. His evenings, weekends and holidays will be dedicated to his family and his daughters.

“I still make sure that we all meet at the dinner table every evening,” he says.

For anyone looking to begin an international career, business-wise or politically, Dr. Bikoko advises staying focused and always having a large network of business associates on hand.