Namukale Chintu Profile

Namukale Chintu (Zambia & Exeter 2005) just completed her PhD in International Business and Strategy at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. Her research focused on firm performance in African frontier markets. She has previously worked in financial services –with Morgan Stanley global capital markets, Lehman Brothers equity capital markets and Nomura equity capital markets. Namukale holds two MScs in financial economics and management research from the University of Oxford, and a BA in Economics from the University of Zambia as a Bank of Zambia Scholar. Prior to financial services, she worked with the United Nations Development Program in aid coordination and harmonisation.

Rhodes Project: Where is it that you call home?

Namukale Chintu: I was born and raised in Lusaka, Zambia. My parents still live there, and though they are ethnically from Serenje and Mbala in Zambia, I would call Lusaka home.

Rhodes Project: When you were a child what did you aspire to be when you grew up?

Namukale Chintu:  Many things. I cooked traditional dishes with my grandma and wanted to become a professional chef. I climbed to the top of this really tall avocado tree we had in our backyard and I decided I’d be an astronaut. My father is a physician and my mother, a consultant in primary health care, so I would line up my dolls and play hospital, wanting to become a surgeon. Then it all came together when my late aunt, who was an economist, told me about her work. I admired her and decided to study economics in the end!

Rhodes Project: Can you tell me a little bit about your current research?

Namukale Chintu: My research focuses on how firms perceive and address investment risk in African markets to improve their performance. I look at firms from a business strategy perspective and this is an area that has become important due to increased capital flows into firms that are expanding in these economies.

Rhodes Project: What aspect of your work do you most enjoy?

Namukale Chintu: Learning new things, meeting different people, traveling and understanding how my research can be applied in different contexts. I find that particularly intriguing. You learn that one size doesn’t fit all: conventional wisdom about how risk is perceived is different depending on one’s perspective.

Rhodes Project: What do you think is the most important way that your research has impact on the world?

Namukale Chintu: My work contributes towards thinking about investment strategy, and how investment might flow into developing countries. That could have a positive impact on the economic development of those countries and at the same time provide a return to the investors. This area could potentially simultaneously address some of the issues faced in the global financial crisis, such as Western debt as well as help developing countries towards economic development.

Rhodes Project: What are your hobbies?

Namukale Chintu: I like to travel and I like to row. Both give me an enhanced sense of self awareness. I love travelling because I am keen to learn new things. I like to row because it keeps me fit and I love water….. When I first jumped into a boat in Oxford I never looked back. I also row for my college in Cambridge.

Rhodes Project: Is there anything that consistently frustrates you?

Namukale Chintu: I have learnt to not always assume that others are putting in the same amount of effort as I am and that people might have different motivations for working on a project than I do. Finding the balance between inspiring and motivating others and also appreciating differing perspectives and skills is always an exciting challenge that helps one develop the ability to lead.

Rhodes Project: What is a memorable learning moment you have had recently?

Namukale Chintu: I discovered a lot about myself whilst doing my PhD. A PhD is a solitary pursuit and I learned to remain focused on what my objectives are and to distinguish between constructive feedback and subjective opinions.

Rhodes Project: If you could meet one female historical figure, who would it be?

Namukale Chintu: Hatshepsut, who was the fifth Pharaoh of Egypt’s 18th century dynasty and said to be the “foremost of noble ladies”. She was one of the longest serving and successful pharaohs. She re-established trade networks in Egypt after the Hyksos occupation and built up Egypt’s wealth through policy and administration. I’d like to ask her what inspired her towards such a vision and how she thought through and executed it whilst balancing work and life! Assuming she’s up to speed with an integrated global economy I’d also ask for her views on the financial crisis today and how developed and developing countries should position themselves!

Rhodes Project: What advice would you give to young women pursuing a similar career?

Namukale Chintu:  Explore possibilities and travel to broaden your thinking. Build relationships with mentors and friends that have a positive impact on your development and reduce negative energy in your life. Every year, take a day out to take stock of your progress towards your goals and tweak or update your master plan according to new information and circumstances – but don’t give up! Be open to constructive criticism and advice, but don’t let subjective opinions of others sway you from your aspirations.

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