Leadership and People Management

Uwa Ode: Embracing Life and Career Across Cultures (Teaching Note)

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The case traces the personal and professional career of Uwa Ode, a bicultural individual who grew up in Nigeria and then lived in the United Kingdom and the United States. Having completed an executive MBA, Uwa is faced with deciding whether or not to continue a career at an oilfield services company headquartered in the United States. The company would most likely require a relocation every two to three years within and across different countries in order to be successful in the long term. Another option would be make a career change that would allow moving to a place that would feel like home, offering an opportunity to finally start building a more permanent life. Uwa is also considering starting a business in Africa, after almost 17 years away, to take advantage of an international background and contribute to the business landscape. The idea of returning to Africa is exciting, as well as the idea of contributing to the social and economic development of the African continent. At the same time, the situation poses a cultural dilemma since Uwa was not a typical Nigerian, after so many multicultural experiences. The dilemma highlights a number of identity struggles, as well as the benefits and challenges of being a bicultural individual and global high flyer.
Bibliographic citation: REICHE, S., LEE, Y.-T. (2022). Uwa Ode: Embracing Life and Career Across Cultures (Teaching Note). IESE, DPOT-121-E.
Date: 01/09/2022
Author(s): Sebastian Reiche; Yih-Teen Lee
Document type: Teaching Note
Department: Managing People in Organizations
Languages: English
Geographic area: Global
Learning objective The case discusses the identity struggles as well as the benefits and challenges that bicultural individuals face in their personal and professional careers. In addition, the case highlights issues related to how organizations can attract, manage and retain individuals with bicultural and multicultural origins. The case also lends itself to discussing issues around diversity and inclusion, especially regarding the intersectionality of gender and ethnicity. The case can be taught in courses on international management, cross-cultural management, diversity management, international human resources management, as well as career and talent management.