Miss Kate Ene David’s victory at the 2022 MTN mPulse Spelling Bee Competition earned her the position of MTN Nigeria’s one-day Chief Executive Officer. Funmi Ogundare reports that she will go down in history as the youngest to head a multinational company
The feeling was ineffable. Miss Kate Ene David, a senior secondary two (SS2) student of Intimacy with Christ Secondary School, Mararaba, Nasarawa State, could not hide her excitement as she was recently announced the one-day Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Nigeria, following her emergence as the winner of the 2022 MTN mPulse Spelling Bee competition.
The competition is a self-development proposition designed by MTN Nigeria to promote digital literacy and academic excellence among students.
David, 14, defeated over 11,000 participants who participated in the competition.
In addition to her CEO status, she was awarded a N2.5 million scholarship, a laptop, a smartphone, and an MTN goody bag. The organisation also presented a N350,000 grant and state-of-the-art ICT devices to her English teacher and school.
In her capacity as the CEO, dressed smartly in a yellow and black outfit with shoes to match, she took a tour of MTN Nigeria, Ikoyi head office plaza, met with the organisation’s executives and journalists, and announced key initiatives, including the unveiling of additional mPulse education data bundles.
Speaking with THISDAY, she described the opportunity to assume the leadership of Africa’s largest telecommunication network as a dream come true.
“It means a lot to me that I have made myself, my parents, and my school proud as a young CEO. I am certain that what I have learned here will prepare me for a brighter future,” she stated.
She recalled how she learned about the competition from her coach, Mr. John Ferdinand Odama.
She said, “He usually introduces us to new competitions whenever the need arises. He was the one that introduced me to mPulse and he encouraged me to participate in the competition and here I am today as the MTN CEO.”
Asked if she has participated in any other competition before now, David said, “I have participated in the Nigeria spelling Bee held in Lagos, where I was first runner-up in July 2022.”
She said her coach did 60 per cent of the work for her by preparing and motivating her ahead of the competition.
Asked what excites her about being a one-day CEO, David said, “I get to tell people about it for the rest of my life and also the knowledge that comes with it. I have learnt a lot from being taking round the MTN head office to know more about their divisions.”
The one-day CEO said she had just launched a data bundle that will equip primary and secondary school students with relevant resources to spur their academic excellence.
The bundles, she noted, offer highly discounted data plans to educational sites where students and young people can learn different skills and access various developmental content.
“The bundles range from N25 to N500 and offer as much as 250MB valid for one day to 4GB of data valid for 30 days. It gives students the opportunity to learn more on tbe MTN mPulse website. With more data for less money, you could study more,” she explained. “To take advantage of these offers specially designed for primary and secondary school students, they can simply dial *344*2# and you will be presented with affordable data plans.”
David, passionate about excellence and desires for other students in Nigeria to access the learning opportunities she has enjoyed on the MTN mPulse platform, advised them to pray and study, saying that becoming the MTN one-day CEO is not just by hard work alone, but the God factor has to be there.
She attributed her win to God and the practice materials she leveraged on the mPulse website, which houses countless free learning materials for primary and secondary school students to learn, play and shine.
“The journey has never been easy. I studied a lot and did so many practice tests on the mPulse website, which resulted in my success. I am excited about this opportunity to lead the largest ICT company in Nigeria for one day. It’s an experience that I will never forget,” she stated.
Asked if she is on social media and whether it will not distract her from her studies, she said, ” you get to learn so many things that improve you. The Facebook that people misuse should not be. For instance, the MTN mPulse is on Facebook and you get to learn various things that they are doing.”
In his symbolic handover, the CEO, Mr. Karl Toriola, applauded Kate’s brilliance while reiterating the purpose of the initiative,
“It has always been our brand commitment to support the government and educational institutions in producing students that are primed for global competitiveness. With that in mind, I am confident that our CEO for a day is on the path to a great future. We are happy to be a part of what promises to be an extraordinary journey,” he stated.
The Chief Human Resource Officer of MTN Nigeria, Esther Akinnukawe, said MTN “believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life and will continue to provide opportunities that support students to learn and grow.”
Her father, Mr. Abah David, expressed excitement about his daughter’s success. Asked how he helped her through the competition, he stated that Kate attended his nursery and primary school (Talent Field Academy, Nasarawa), where she was supported with a conducive learning environment.
“I encouraged her and made her feel the impact of learning which exposes children to greatness in life. She imbibed that spirit in her,” he said.