An uncanny ability to rapidly react to whatever life throws his way has served Eric Offei-Addo well.
Offei-Addo, M.B.A. ’89, who currently is an executive director at Morgan Stanley, was born and raised in Ghana, a West African country known for its gold, cocoa and oil. His parents were both educators — his mother an elementary school teacher and his father a Presbyterian minister — which led his family to move around to different congregations.
After finishing secondary school, Offei-Addo studied economics at the University of Ghana. He was still attending the university in 1982 when a coup d’état occurred within Ghana’s government. Offei-Addo was obligated to join a nationwide effort to perform voluntary work around the country to rebuild and recover.
Offei-Addo secured an internship in the Netherlands at Algemene Bank Nederland before returning to Ghana to complete his final semester. Upon graduation, he fulfilled his mandatory national service by joining one of his professors at the Ghana Commercial Bank, working in the Economics Intelligence Department.
Following a successful service commitment working primarily on the promotion of Ghana’s timber industry, Offei-Addo enrolled in Baylor’s MBA program. After graduation, he was a bank examiner for the State of Connecticut Department of Banking, simultaneously studying for and successfully passing the CPA exam.
Offei-Addo continued his academic career by securing his Juris Doctor from Cornell Law School in 2000. Thereafter, he worked for Brown & Wood in New York City. The law firm’s offices in Tower One of the World Trade Center again placed Offei-Addo at the epicenter of a global crisis.
After Offei-Addo returned from a trip to Ghana in early September 2001, a late night of work Sept. 10 proved to be a saving grace. He slept through alarms the following morning, potentially saving his life.
Offei-Addo was in the midst of another seismic shift in the business climate. He learned the value of early adoption of a cloud-based computer and email backup put in place in the frantic preparations for Y2K that ultimately saved Brown & Wood’s invaluable files.
The lessons of preparing for the unknown and rapid adaptation have served him well in his role at Morgan Stanley in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We used to yell at our son for playing video games all the time. He would sit there for hours, chatting with people from all over,” Offei-Addo said. “But while we were yelling, someone else saw an opportunity to connect people from around the world in real-time. Zoom, Skype and most of the virtual-meeting sites were all developed well before COVID. Now, they are being utilized in ways we never dreamt of for business, church, friends and family meetings.”
Offei-Addo has experienced multiple lifetimes worth of these watershed moments in business and technological innovation. The advancements he has observed and to which he has contributed during his career have led him to continue to give back to Baylor in many ways. Most recently, Offei-Addo agreed to serve on the Hankamer School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board. He believes the next unplanned innovation is being created right in Waco.
“Places like Baylor and Hankamer would have to help people to think through these kinds of changes — just like people prepared for Y2K and it helped with 9/11 ,” Offei-Addo said. “Hankamer is perfectly set up to prepare for something that could and would one day come.”