Lois Tankam, MBA ’16: The Beauty of the Unattractive | Summary and Q&A

April 9, 2015
Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Lois Tankam, MBA ’16: The Beauty of the Unattractive


A woman recounts her difficult decision between staying in peaceful Senegal or returning to war-torn Côte d'Ivoire, highlighting the importance of authenticity in decision-making.

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Key Insights

  • 🥺 The political situation in Côte d'Ivoire led to a difficult decision for the speaker.
  • 🖐️ Authenticity plays a crucial role in making decisions that align with one's values.
  • 👀 Looking beneath the surface and considering all aspects of a decision is essential before making a choice.
  • 🤳 Authentic leadership, characterized by self-awareness, is highly valued in the business world.
  • 👋 Sometimes, the best solution may come from an unattractive alternative that was initially dismissed.
  • 🦺 Prioritizing personal growth and helping others can outweigh personal comfort and safety in certain decisions.
  • 👻 Authenticity allows individuals to pursue projects that may have a higher purpose, even if they are not the most profitable.


[MUSIC] Working for a development finance institution at the forefront of poverty mediation in Cameroon, I had the amazing opportunity to move to Cote d'Ivoire as an analyst. I was excited, not just because Côte d'Ivoire was the largest economy in French speaking west Africa, but because Côte d'Ivoire was preparing for elections which was expected ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why did the speaker decide to stay in Senegal instead of returning to Côte d'Ivoire?

The speaker chose to stay in Senegal because of the war-torn situation in Côte d'Ivoire and the uncertainties it presented for her safety and well-being.

Q: How did the speaker change her perspective on the decision between Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire?

The speaker realized that she had been solely focusing on the advantages of staying in Senegal and the disadvantages of going back to Côte d'Ivoire. She then started considering the advantages of going back and the disadvantages of staying in Senegal.

Q: What is authenticity, and why is it important?

Authenticity refers to being true to oneself and aligned with one's personality and values. It is important because it helps individuals make decisions that are in harmony with who they are as a person, even if the costs outweigh the benefits.

Q: How does the speaker relate authenticity to leadership and business decisions?

The speaker highlights that authenticity applies to business and leadership as well. It is important to align projects and decisions with core values, even if they come with financial costs. Authentic leadership, which includes self-awareness, is gaining momentum in today's business world.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker describes her experience working in Côte d'Ivoire during a challenging political period.

  • She shares her decision to stay in Senegal instead of returning to Côte d'Ivoire due to the security situation.

  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of considering all sides of a decision and the value of authenticity in decision-making.

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