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12 Trusted Ways To Be More Productive At Work

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how to be more productive at work

How To Be More Productive At Work

I have put a list of ways and how to be more productive at work. The list reflects the experiences I have gained in the work environment over the last 3 years even while in school.

You should of course feel free to learn, ignore, and challenge the wide range of suggestions that I have put before you. Every working environment is different, and every person has a different set of pressures exerted upon them at work and by themselves. As a result, I ask you to think carefully about which recommendations would be the most impact for you. I desire positive outcomes for anyone that is reading this!

Phase one of how to be more productive at work

  1. Know your job

Without a doubt, there is no substitute for learning your role inside out. Therefore you should invest time to ensure you fully understand your role, the key tasks, how your performance is measured, how your work impacts others, and how your output is used by others. Once you know your role really well, you will command respect and be seen as the expert in that area of the business. The expertise you have gained may relate to the processing of expenses, sales calls, facilities management, recruitment or any other area of your company’s undertakings. This concept applies to every type of role, throughout your career.

  1. Learn from your peers (boss)

In many jobs, your peers will already have the answers to a lot of your questions. Your boss may have all the answers as well, but asking your boss for help is the most obvious step for each of us to take. Also, nobody likes to inundate their boss with questions.

Therefore, depending upon the structure of your department and/or business, you could dramatically increase your productivity by leveraging the skills and knowledge of those around you. Particularly in the early days of your role, your peers may be able to point out various potential pitfalls.

  1. Make sure that your output is used

Before we even get to ‘planning’ you should think about how your output is going to be used. At work we are often asked to complete tasks and assignments, but we infrequently question why we have been asked to perform them.

One thing I strongly suggest that you do is to reach out to those that receive your reports, data, and/or other information and obtain their confirmation

that the output is being used in a way that adds value to the business. You should do this regularly, perhaps on a quarterly basis.

My team at work has taken this approach very seriously and as a consequence has cut out a significant number of unproductive tasks and procedures.

Perhaps to their surprise, recipients of information are happy to acknowledge that, on occasion, what they produce ends up in the recycle bin. A large percentage of people complain about information overload, so if you can cut that down they will surely be appreciative.

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ALSO READ: What you must not say to your boss

  1. Know the value of your tasks

Take time to understand what tasks and procedures are essential (for compliance, statutory and other ‘must-do’ purposes), those that add some value to the business and those that are performed as a matter of routine, with no obvious value.

You should question (diplomatically) why you are undertaking the tasks that do not add value, to understand better how they help you achieve your annual objectives, your department’s objectives and those of the business as a whole.

It may be that you are not aware of the value of the task that has been assigned to you, or you do not have sight of how it fits into the overall scheme of things. If after this ‘questioning’ it is clear that the task does not add value to the business, you should discuss it further with your boss.   The bottom line is that you should understand the relative value of all the tasks within your remit.

  1. Invest time in learning the skills

I have included below some examples of how individuals can become far more productive by having the necessary skills:

for instance, You are an expert in publicity and advertisement/ event planning and management, and it will cost you a whole lot if you don’t know anything about graphics, imaging, and socio-media platforms. What you should do first is to acquire the skill of image and GT graphics so you can be able to do all your graphics designs by yourself without wasting time.

1: Do not add up figures manually but use spreadsheets. Be trained on how to use them properly. The usefulness of spreadsheets will depend upon the role you have at work, but it is amazing how such software can be used to save you a significant amount of time.

2: The next stage is to use (by way of example) Pivot Tables, Look-Up Tables, and ultimately, where appropriate, macros. One example I have is a finance team that produced manual bank reconciliations, checking that cash book amounts agreed to what was recorded on the bank statements on a manual basis. Given there were hundreds of transactions each month, and seven bank accounts, this took about 21 hours of elapsed time each month.

The team introduced a macro that automatically matched the relevant items to reduce processing time to less than 15 minutes. What a saving! The key here is to learn the tools of the trade and become proficient at those that allow you to become more productive.   If you are searching for data, summarizing data, organizing data, or merging data (and so on!) rest assured that there is a simple cost-effective way of doing these.

Spreadsheets are a prime example given how many people use them as a tool at work. However, the same methodology applies to word processing software, presentation software, and indeed bespoke software. Learn the tools of the trade inside out and the payback should be meaningful.

  1. Plan

You cannot get away from it. Planning smartly is so very important and is something that we are taught about at school but many still fail to plan adequately when at work. From junior to senior staff we so often see the impact of poor planning on the productiveness of individuals.

Before undertaking any significant tasks spend time planning out what you want to achieve and determine the best ‘effective’ way of achieving it.

Through planning and the sharing of your plan with others, while also asking for feedback, you will no doubt find that you are better placed to achieve the desired results.

Phase two of how to be more productive at work

  1. Prioritize

You were no doubt expecting this to be near the top of the list, and hopefully, you are not disappointed. Once you know what you should be doing, and you know what you are doing adds value and is being used by others, you can prioritize in order to get to those higher-value tasks first.

There is a whole host of time management courses you can go on in order to hone those time management skills (and so much on the web as well). What I ask is that you ensure that every task you work on creates value (someone really needs it to be done) and that those that are most important are done first.

By this, I do not mean that you should continually ignore what you perceive as less valuable tasks, but rather ensure that the timelines for completing them are properly communicated to those that need to know so that you can manage their expectations.

In fact, the reason why many managers feel let down in this regard is not the fact that they doubt that you are working on the most important stuff but that they were not aware that some of the other tasks, perhaps lower priority ones, had been put on the back burner.   By managing their expectations you are solidifying and supporting your list of priorities.

  1. Clear and timely communications

Projects, assignments, and tasks often fail to deliver the required outcome or do so after much noise, disturbance, and correction due to poor communication from the project manager or task setter.

If you are responsible for setting tasks/projects for other staff remember to communicate early, clearly, concisely, and ‘buy’ them into the process.

The worst run projects are often those where the objectives and expected outputs are altered mid-term, as the person managing the process has not been clear about the requirements from the outset, or has failed to communicate them in a timely manner.

The result is mayhem, often leading to the imposition of ‘all hands to the pump’, with significant additional pressure exerted on team members as well as the general disillusionment that accompanies such pressure.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to consider those around you as early as possible in the process, to ensure that, at the end of the day, they work effectively for you.

Put another way, have you ever wondered why some people manage projects that appear to run smoothly, to time and on budget whereas others seem to be playing catch-up continually, changing the goal-posts and absorbing more and more time of those on the team?

  1. Automate

There are so many ways to automate workflow. This varies widely, industry by industry, department by department, and role by role.

The general rule is that if there is a task or procedure that you undertake regularly and which takes up a fair proportion of your time, then think about automation.

Examples of automation are clearly visible within manufacturing companies. Many service companies have also automated many of their routines, eliminating mundane activities. However, my challenge to you is to review the tasks and procedures that you undertake day in day out and produce a short-list of those that potentially can be automated.

You may need to seek assistance from your team members and staff with the IT department. If the cost of automation is less than the savings made through automation you may be on to a winner.

JOB SEEKERS: What you must not put on your CV

  1. Identify road-blocks

Productivity can be hampered by road-blocks. There may be people you rely on who are not fulfilling their part of the bargain or inputs you require that are not available or forthcoming. There may also be people that you rely on to distribute your output to the relevant stakeholders that are not performing to the required standard.

If you come across a person or group of people that are creating a roadblock (this can often be unintentional so please tread carefully), you should discuss this with your boss in order to resolve. Alternatively, you may want to discuss the issue in a diplomatic fashion with those that are causing the blockage. Be careful not to damage any relationships but do pursue as it is your productivity at stake.

  1. Challenge the status quo

Do not immediately accept things as they are as there may be a better, more effective way of completing a task or procedure. When you inherit the role of your boss or peer, if you assume that there are a number of inefficiencies and ineffective aspects to the role, your mind will be open to making the job more productive. Too often we assume that the predecessor knew exactly what they were doing and had ironed out unnecessary tasks and procedures, streamlining work to ensure productivity was maximized.

When we move on to new pastures, we should endeavor to check that workflow has been left in the best possible order, with the most effective setup.

  1. Liaise with the experts

There are often people in the business that have specialized skills to help you be efficient and effective. For instance, if your computer breaks down then you should probably contact IT rather than resolve yourself. This may sound obvious, but there are also less clear examples of where experts can help. For instance, if you have a human resources issue you should probably seek guidance from the HR/Talent department before taking action yourself to ensure that you do not take inappropriate action.

The wrong action may be disruptive, eating into your time schedule, that of your boss, and that of HR, reducing the level of productivity all round. When you do not have the expertise, find someone who does and let them guide or resolve for you, so that you can spend more time on the ‘day job’

 

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I'm that Lazy and controversial entrepreneur, Popularly known for my Quora Secrets. Founder and CEO of SumoTrust, Motute and CrowdFacture. Read about my Bio at personal website. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linkedin and Instagram.

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5 Ways to Spot Exceptional Employees in Nigeria

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The Nigerian labor market is very flexible with a skilled, low labor cost, highly motivated, and productive workforce. High level of education and efficiency are common factors for spotting exceptional employees. Besides, exceptional employees are easily self-motivated and self-managed.

Another important factor used for distinguishing an exceptional employee is the personality of the employee. This informs why some people are more successful at work than others? Travis Bradberry of Forbes magazine stated that following a research done around 2016, it was concluded that the key to exceptional performance is in the personality of the employee. Bradbery (2016) stated that the results indicate that “78% of leaders consider that personality distinguishes great employees, much more than cultural adjustment with 53% and even the skills of an employee (39%)”.

However, the qualities that the leaders pointed out as part of the personality are those of emotional intelligence. Unlike personality (which never changes), emotional intelligence can be transformed and improved. So executives don’t need to look for employees who have these skills. His duty, and also that of the company, is to help the entire team to enhance their emotional intelligence to become exceptional.

In essence, a typical team does all of its planning to achieve goals, with minimal intervention from management. Exceptional employees are also known to be healthily self-critical, with a willingness to learn and a commitment to making improvements both in production and performance.

It is clear, therefore, that the key indicators of exceptional employee are high level of education, efficiency at work, self-motivation, self-management, great personality, and emotional intelligence.

However, how can we see these playing out to determine how exceptional an employee? How does one spot the level of education, efficiency at work, self-motivation, self-management, great personality, or emotional intelligence of an employee? It is by observing if the employee has the following characteristics before and after employment.

Exceptional Employees in Nigeria

Spotting Exceptional Employees in Nigeria

5 Ways To Spot An Exceptional Employee.

 Exceptional employees may be spotted using the 5 indicators below:

(1) The Employee Is Willing To Delay Gratification.

Exceptional employees work outside the range of job descriptions. Rather than expect recognition or compensation to come first, they move forward in their work, confident that they will be rewarded later, but they don’t worry if they aren’t.

(2) Exceptional Employees Tolerate Conflict.

While exceptional employees don’t seek conflict, they don’t run from it either. They can maintain their composure while presenting their positions calmly and logically.

(3) Exceptional Employees Are Focused.

Exceptional employees are not distracted by grumpy customers or disputes in the office. Rather, they know how to detect the important issues and that is why they stay focused on what matters.

(4) An Exceptional Employee Is Judiciously Brave but Courteous

An exceptional employee is willing to speak up, ask a difficult embarrassing question, or challenge an executive decision. Besides, an exceptional employee chooses the best time to do act and thinks before speaking.

(5) Exceptional Employees Control Their Ego

While the ego is part of an exceptional employee’s drive to constantly improve, they never overdo it. An exceptional employee admits when he/she is wrong and agrees to do things differently with or without correction.

Becoming an exceptional employee is a skill, an art that can be learned and practiced to efficiency. One of the ways to become an exceptional employee is to establishing open and trustworthy lines of communication with the management and co-workers.

Besides, the Human Resources (HR) department has a role to play in the building of an average employee into an exceptional employee. Rather than dismiss below average or average employees, the Human Resources (HR) team can deploy technology to improve their integration with the entity’s values. In this sense, e-learning, for example, can have great value in developing courses that convey to that person what it means to work in that company and what it contributes to society.

Another mechanism that may be used to is improve an employee’s performance is proper mentoring, that is, involving some of the people with the best reputation and knowledge within the organization to protect and accompany the toxic worker, giving them advice and offering advice whenever they need it. In this way, individual attitudes can change, although care should be taken so that it does not in any way cloud the relationship between the company and the staff.

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Why You Should Go To Business School As An Aspiring Entrepreneur

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A school is a place where knowledge is acquired. As an aspiring entrepreneur, going to school is important because it helps you to add knowledge to your skills or ideas. A business school is a school where basically business-related courses are taught and it is advisable for all entrepreneurs to go to Business School in order to add additional knowledge and information to their skills. This will enable the entrepreneur to function and stay relevant in the Business and Corporate world.

Although going to a business school in Nigeria is somehow costly, there are different categories of business schools out there which one can enroll in and get the necessary professional skills for efficient business operations. Make your research and choose the one that is comfortable to you financially and which matches your day-to-day business operations. Luckily, you will find some that run at a subsidized rate and which you can attend while running your business simultaneously.

Why You Should Go To Business School As An Aspiring Entrepreneur

Why You Should Go To Business School As An Aspiring Entrepreneur

As an aspiring entrepreneur, making a choice to go to a business school is one of the best life decisions you will ever make. There are various reasons why you should go to a business school as an aspiring entrepreneur. In this article, I share 10 good reasons why you should go to business school with you as an aspiring entrepreneur in Nigeria.

See them below.

10 Reasons Why You Should Go To Business School

(1) Attending A Business School Will Help You To Make Better Career Choice

Attending a business school as an aspiring entrepreneur will help you to make a better career choice and help you focus. There are different courses taught in the business school and going for (i.e., offering) these courses especially the ones that match your business delineation will help you to structure your business ideas and help you to make better decisions in your career.

Aside from helping you in your idea formation, execution, and expansion, attending a business school in Nigeria will help you to function well and have an edge in the cooperate world. As the world is going more digital today, it is most likely that only people with multiple streams of income wil be able to survive the tough climates of the future. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, with your degree from a recognized business school, you can work in the cooperate setting and also run a business as a side hustle.

(2) Attending Business School Will Help You To Attain Personal Growth

As an aspiring entrepreneur, attending a business school is not only for career development but also for personal growth. Let’s looking away from the monetary sacrifices or benefits and focus on the personal growth for a moment. When you attend business school, you get exposed to different categories of businesses. In business school, you will be exposed to in-depth knowledge of business education which will personally groom you for what lies ahead of you in both your business and career. It is a great opportunity for you to fulfill your goal of becoming a certified entrepreneur. Business school degree is equivalent to University Degree and fortunately they run postgraduate studies for graduates from other schools and Universities.

(3) You Get Upgraded Skills

As an aspiring entrepreneur, going to a business school will help you to acquire more skills. Examples are critical thinking and analytical skills which will help you to make good decisions in your business choice and anywhere you find yourself in the world. The knowledge and skills that you gain from business school will also help you in your day-to-day activities. Also, business school teach different skills related to the cooperate world. Some of these skills are Presentation Skills, Interpretation of data (Data Interpretation), Information Management and Personal Development skills which will help you to function not only in the business world but also in other areas of your life.

(4) Helps to Widen Your Scope

Business programs offered in business schools will widen your scope about your business. For example, with the knowledge gained from business school, you will learn how to and be able to write your business plan(s), structure of your business, have risk awareness, know different marketing strategies, learn finance management, and acquire leadership skills. Acquiring a skill is not enough in business. For example, we have a lot of people with different business ideas but who have difficulties with structuring the business and this limits the lifespan of their business. Therefore, business school will help to widen your scope about the business you want to venture to.

(5) Helps You To See Beyond Local Lens

Business programs/course taught in business school will help you to understand business beyond the local lens. It will expose you to working with different people; there are some business schools that run their program with international students. This will help to broaden the scope of study which will include studying business beyond your local environment or country (i.e., Nigeria).

(6) Business School Showcases Practicality Of Business

In most business schools, the students are taught practical business operations; they undergo several business projects which expose them to the practicality of business. There are several models and theories in business but as an aspiring entrepreneur, you will need more of practical in your business and the most interesting thing about going to a business school is that you will be exposed to both basic and comprehensive business practices which will help you stand out among your fellow aspiring entrepreneurs.

(7) Attending Business School Offers You The Opportunity To Further Your Education

Business school is not just for people who studied Business Administration and Management in the tertiary institution at bachelors (i.e., graduate) level but for everyone who wishes to have the knowledge of business. Therefore, there is opportunity for further studying i.e. you can obtain your Masters and Doctorate degree respectively in business. This is a great opportunity for people who graduated from other University courses but want to switch to Business Management and Administration or Entrepreneurship.

(8) It Helps To Fuel Your Passion

When you make a decision to go to business school as an aspiring entrepreneur, you are indirectly or directly fueling your passion for business. It will help you to take what you love seriously and see it from a different angle. Business practices taught in business school will help you to develop more interest in your field and it can also help you to make better decisions in your business idea which will help you to achieve your goals faster.

(9) Build Interpersonal Relationship Skills

Attending a business school as an aspiring entrepreneur will help you to develop interpersonal relationship skills which involve proper communication skills, customer relationship skills, and human relationship skills all of which is are basic skills you should have as an entrepreneur. You will learn how to communicate with people at different levels. You will be taught how to give business report and you will also acquire passive and active listening skills.

(10) Self Improvement

Doing new and different thing for yourself is a form of self-improvement. Going to a business school as an aspiring entrepreneur is a form of self-improvement because you are not just limiting yourself to only what you know. Rather, by engaging in academics, you are actively brainstorming, tasking your brain and challenging yourself to become a better person in your field, moving from just an entrepreneur to a business guru. Upon completion of your studies, you will not just have the skill but the knowledge of how to become a business mogul. Going to a business school as an aspiring entrepreneur is one of the best things that you can do for yourself.

Conclusion

As an aspiring entrepreneur you must dare to stand out by going beyond your circle to be the best among your peers. Going to a business school to acquire professional knowledge on business and management will help you to stand out both in the business and corporate world.

Looking for a business school you can attend close to you? Go through this comprehensive guide that shows a list of available business schools and their locations in Nigeria.

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Best Business Schools For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

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When you acquire useful business administration/management knowledge and add this to your skills, you are unequivocally bound for the top of the game in your chosen business line. This is the more reasons it is advisable to go to one of the business schools that teach the basic business administration/management skills before or after acquiring the basic skills of a business. You can never be wrong to go to a business school.

I have noticed that a larger percentage of entrepreneurs with a form of formal education are always different from and perform comparatively better than those without any form of formal education. Therefore, to boost your game in entrepreneurship and up your ante as an entrepreneur, it is advisable for you an aspiring entrepreneur to get a formal education to upgrade your skills.

If you don’t know why you should go to Business School as an aspiring entrepreneur, then I advise that you should get that settled first before proceeding to the rest of the article. Why would you want to learn about available Business Schools in Nigeria when you don’t even know why you want to attend one in the first place! Well, I guess you know why already. But if you don’t, I have compiled a full guide that lists and explains 10 key reasons why you should go to Business School as an aspiring entrepreneur. You can get the full guide here.

In this article, I share the best business schools in Nigeria for aspiring entrepreneurs.

A business school is tertiary institution that offers a university degree equivalent certification upon competition of a training in a business-related courses.  The courses you can offer at a business school include Business Administration, Business Management, Business Strategy, Finance, Management Related Courses and Customer Relations related courses. The length/duration of the courses varies with the courses offered although they all share the in-depth knowledge in business. This is the more reason why you should enroll in one of these courses today.

best Business Schools in Nigeria to attend

Best Business Schools For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

There are various business schools in Nigeria and I will be sharing the best of them with you in this article. The sprout and growth of the various business schools in the country currently is largely supported by the large population of Nigeria. Being the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria offers so many great opportunities for business making the establishment of business schools a beautiful idea to investors. Doubtless, these business schools have aided the growth of businesses in Nigeria.

Below is a list of best business schools in Nigeria, their offer packages and locations:

(1) Lagos Business School

Lagos business school was established by the renowned economist, Pat Utomi. It is a graduate business school of pan-Atlantic university officially owned by Pan Atlantic University Foundation. Over the years, Lagos business has been rated the best business school in Nigeria. The school offers different categories of courses for aspiring entrepreneurs which ranges from executive courses to basic business courses like Business Decision, Business Administration, Finance, Accounting and so on.

Lagos business school is really a good and reputable business school that suits all business styles. Due to the increasing trend in the digital world, they have introduced online courses for people/businesses which cannot be on ground physically for studies. This implies one can get a business degree online from the school from the comfort of his/her home.

(2) Business School Netherlands, Nigeria

Business school Netherlands, Nigeria was established in the year 2003 in Ikeja, Lagos State Nigeria. It is different from other business school because it is managed by foreigners. Its uniqueness is due to the fact that the school offers its students the opportunity to study at a lower rate especially if you are a Nigerian. Besides, the school teaches both the theoretical aspect of business and the practicality of business theory. Since their establishment in August 2003, they have made great effort in improving the business world in Nigeria.

(3) Executive Business School

Executive business school is one of the top business schools located in Nigeria. It was founded in 2007. This business school is unique because it is internationally affiliated to some schools oversees for example in Europe and the United Kingdom. Executive business school offers courses at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels e.g. Masters and doctorate degrees. They offer various courses in different spheres of business world e.g. Finance Accounting, Business, Information Management, Business Law and so on.

(4) African Business School

There is hope for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to gain knowledge and improve their skillset in Nigeria. African business school is a good choice business school located in Gwaripa Estate in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. The school was established in the year 2000 and is not only affiliated with international institutions but national institutions also. They offer great courses in Business, Management, Finance, Accounting, Banking Studies, and Public Administration. The school is also known as Centre for Management Development. The courses offered in the school help to shed more light not only on business but also in the cooperate world.

(5) The Delta School Of Business And Technology

The Delta School of Business and Technology is located in Warri in Delta State, Nigeria. The school offers various courses ranging from Business Management to Business Technology. Besides, they offer skills acquisition training for undergraduate and unemployed graduates respectively. It is unique school to study because they offer both business knowledge and practicable skills at the same time.

(6) GPE Business School

GPE Business School is a known business school located in the south-eastern part of the country. The school which was founded in 2007 is located in Enugu State, Nigeria. They are unique because they offer free training for their best candidates that shows dedication to their work. They offer intense practical and research of/in business. The school teaches business education that helps to prepare aspiring entrepreneur for the business and cooperate world. They offer not only Undergraduate studies but also Postgraduate studies in various business courses.

(7) Integrated Business School

Situated in the northern part of the country, Integrated Business School was founded in the year 2000. It is one of the best business schools for aspiring entrepreneur who live in the northern part of the country. Specifically, the school is located in Kaduna state and has been officially accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

(8) Kaduna Business School

Kaduna Business School is a known Nigeria business school situated in Kaduna State, Nigeria. The school encourages innovative thinking among aspiring entrepreneur. They offer Business and Management Courses respectively and also train aspiring entrepreneurs for managerial roles. They teach professionalism and leadership in the business and cooperate world.

(9) West African Business School

The West African Business School operates in Nigeria and Ghana. It is located in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria. This school was founded in 2002 to provide the best knowledge for Business Managers and Public Administrators. Also, this school helps to train business men and women in skills training and development as well as business education. Besides, The West African Business School offers world class Undergraduate and Graduate courses in Business Administration and Management. It is one of the best business schools in Nigeria as evidenced in their laudable past records and the world class training offered in the institution.

(10) Bowell Business School

Bowell Business School is one of the best of business schools in Nigeria. Like The West African Business School, this school is also situated in Lagos State with another branch in Akure, Ondo state. The school delivers the best entrepreneurial and General Management education which helps to develop both Business and Management skills. They also deliver online training programs.

Conclusion

Attending a business school (in Nigeria) as an aspiring entrepreneur is one of the best things that you can do for yourself today. The knowledge and skills that you gain from the training that you undergo in any of these schools can help you to top your game and increases your chance of success in the entrepreneurship world. Make your thorough research on the different business schools I mentioned here today and pick the one of your choice. Best still, visit any of their physical offices for enquiries. No knowledge acquired is a waste.

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