Growing up in the Bronx, Kufre “Archie” Mbatt didn’t see many people who looked like him in leadership roles. So, he was determined to set the example for others.
Archie, the son of Nigerian immigrants, worked hard to achieve that dream. And he’s now the general manager of a Best Buy store in the New York City borough.
“You hear growing up that you’re not going to make it,” he said. “It made me work a little bit harder. I wanted to do that for people in the city and at Best Buy to show them that it’s possible.”
One of the ways Archie did that is by getting a master’s degree in business leadership, becoming the first man in his family to receive a graduate degree. That was no small feat while working full time in store leadership roles.
Best Buy was a big help. He was able to take advantage of the company’s Tuition Assistance Program, which provides a maximum of $3,500 for undergraduate and $5,250 for graduate level coursework per calendar year.
But more than that, he credits his success to the support of his leaders at Best Buy, who worked with his schedule so he could perform at a high level at school and work. They also provided training opportunities within the company.
“That taught me a lot about understanding your people and investing in them,” he said. “That’s a big motivation for me in my store now as a general manager.”
A safe haven
Managing a store in the neighborhood where he grew up is a responsibility Archie doesn’t take lightly. He started his Best Buy career at 18 while watching some of the people around him “get involved with the wrong crowd.”
“Best Buy put me on a straight and narrow,” he said. “Coming to work was my safe haven to escape all the nonsense that’s going around and be the leader I aspire to be.”
Now, inspired by the leaders who saw potential in him, Archie wants to use his education and experience to give back to his community — especially the teens who work for him at Best Buy.
“It means a lot to me being able to graduate and defeat the odds to get to this level,” he said. “And it means a lot to show people that this is possible, and that Best Buy made it possible for me.”
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