Tuesday, January 31, 2023

How Kenyan James Mulli founded European Business University in Luxembourg

Living in Kenya and starting a business is very commendable. However, living in one of the world’s richest countries and founding a university from scratch, in Europe, is beyond astounding.

This is the story of James Mulli, who worked his way from stock brokerage to establishing the European Business University of Luxembourg.

James Mulli, a man with a fierce knack for success that is achieved through patience, is the director, Dean of Studies and the President of the European Business University of Luxembourg (EBU) in Wiltz, Luxembourg.

He is a man that seeks to have an impact on people’s lives through education and technology.

James Mulli was born in a well-to-do family in Misyani, Kangundo. Kamba was his first language, however, he is also proficient in English and Swahili. He has limited working proficiency in languages such as German, French, Chinese and Spanish.

Mulli’s father is Henry Mulli, the first Kenyan ambassador to China who also served in Germany, Egypt and Somalia. His uncle was Matthew Guy Mulli, Kenya’s Attorney General in the 80s. Through his father and uncle, Mulli got to travel around the world.

Unknown to many, James Mulli went to the same school as Uhuru Kenyatta and his cousin Jeff Koinange, at the Saint Mary’s School between 1976 and 1980.

“I am fortunate to have traveled the world with them. I went to school with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his cousin Jeff Koinange at St. Mary’s Nairobi. They are both good friends.” Mulli recounts.

Dr. Mulli went on to study abroad in 1982 at the State University of New York (SUNY), Plymouth State University, and St. John’s University where he received both his master’s and Ph.D. in 1990 and 1998 respectively.

Before founding the University, Dr. Mulli worked at the State University of New York (SUNY), he taught Blockchain technology at the European Business School and was the head of the department of business and economics at the Shanghai American School.

He has also worked in the US as the Portfolio Manager at Soros Fund Management in New York. He is also a former director of two successful New York-based multinational conglomerates and has valuable experience in the field as an NASD Series 7 Compliance Officer for the broker-dealer Heyka Capital Management.

Dr. Mulli lectures in Blockchain technologies, Post-graduate Corporate Finance & Business Statistics and Managerial Accounting.

He meticulously planned to establish his university in Luxembourg for two main reasons. The first was because Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in the world and secondly, Luxembourg is one of the four seats of the European Union.

The main campus of the European Business University of Luxembourg is sited at 450-year-old Wiltz Castle. Currently, the school has a total of 9,000 students, of which 4,500 of them are from Kenya.

How Kenyan James Mulli founded European Business University in Luxembourg
450 year old Wiltz Castle in Luxembourg that houses the European Business University

Dr. Mulli says that his decision to set up a University in Europe was because he sees academic oppression where some people are not able to access quality education.

“We are oppressed globally from an academic perspective. Not everyone can afford to attend top universities that offer quality education abroad. This way we are being disenfranchised.” He says.

He initiated the university to attain affordability, equitability and accessibility in education.

“To be affordable, you cannot charge the same high tuition fees as other European universities. To be accessible, it has to be majorly online. We only charge a commitment fee.”

The school’s business course fees accumulate at most to Sh. 1.3 million for the entire program. Other than business, the school also teaches technology-related programs such as Data Science,

“We have to keep abreast of and be on top of the changes that are happening in different spheres of life. We teach AI (artificial intelligence), data science, blockchain technology and python because technology is where the real change is,” he says.

The European Business University has been nominated as the best MBA university in Europe for four years consecutively. Dr. Mulli says that the solution to ending education disenfranchisement is to make it free.

“It is one thing to offer education. But is it qualitative?” he points out.

According to the President of Luxembourg’s top business University, a country’s success can only be guaranteed by education. He has expanded his University to other countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, with Kenya being his main target.

“I have come to learn that the truest measure of success that can be guaranteed in a country is education. This is where I have come to understand the importance of impacting people.” He stated.

“The most important asset for any institution is its human resource. I had worked with most of the professors in other institutions. They joined me when I founded the university.” He adds.

Speaking in Malindi, Kilifi on September 3rd, James Mulli revealed that his University would roll out free university education for Kenyan students at the EBU-Luxembourg.

“We are going to have 85 million people in Kenya by 2050. Where are they going to go? Where will they get the education? That is why we are offering free university courses as of September 2022,” he stated, taking note that there are only 2 publicly free Universities in Africa, Algeria and Morocco.

To scout for new students and recruit them, Dr. Mulli says that his University has partnered with local universities. The majority of students will be recruited by the Office of the President and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce to distribute scholarships to candidates.

“We do not recruit students directly. We work with partner organizations who recruit them on our behalf.” He explained.

Dr. Mulli attributes his success abroad to his dedication to a cause, adding that having a purpose is key to sustaining a career in academia.

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