Chief of Staff


Graduate School of Media & Communications


Nairobi, Kenya


Chartered in 1983, Aga Khan University (AKU, www.aku.edu) is a private, autonomous and self-governing international university, with 13 teaching sites in 6 countries over three continents. An integral part of the Aga Khan Development Network (www.akdn.org), AKU provides higher education in multiple health science and social science disciplines, carries out research pertinent primarily to low- and middle-income countries and operates 7 hospitals (soon 8) and over 325 outreach clinics, all at international standards. It has almost 2,500 students and 14,000 staff. The University is both a model of academic excellence and an agent of social change. As a leading international institution dedicated to excellence and change, AKU operates on the core principles of quality, relevance, impact and access.

Launched in 2015, the Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) is the premier source of education and tailored training for journalists, communicators and media executives and entrepreneurs in East Africa and beyond. Guided by the principles of global excellence and local relevance, GSMC helps individuals to transform their careers and organizations to seize opportunities and reap the benefits of innovation.

Reporting to the Dean, the Chief of Staff will serve as the right hand of the dean, effectively operating as Chief Operating Officer of the school. He/she will oversee day-to-day financial and operational management of the school, help identify and coordinate strategic priorities, manage operations, oversee grant proposals and management, and represents the dean as directed to senior university leaders, campus officials and critical external constituencies.

The selected candidate must possess the ability to build consensus and collaborate with internal and external constituents, creating a balance between institutional strategy and other emerging priorities. This position requires exceptional people, project management, and verbal and written communication skills, as well as the ability to work effectively with a group of diverse, highly motivated peers.

The incumbent will be, based in Nairobi Kenya.


  • Oversee all financial aspects of the college, including developing and maintaining budgets, day-to-day financial management of the school’s units, development and management of project and unit financial reports, generating donors reports and data for donor audits, serving as primary liaison to the university Finance Department
  • Represent the dean on university-level committees and meeting
  • Advise the dean on institutional planning, policy development, and problem resolution
  • Advise the dean on policy, procedural and operational issues of the university, and may be charged with leading the operationalization of strategic initiatives for the dean
  • Provide counsel to the dean, serve as a sounding board and advise on sensitive matters. Synthesize information from a variety of internal and external sources and ensures the dean has all the information necessary to make informed decisions. Provide excellent judgment, diplomacy, and understanding bureaucratic issues to support the dean
  • Monitor and track metrics, and drive the design and/or execution of deliverables
  • With the director of academics and other senior staff, work with the dean to develop long term strategic priorities, programs and development goals
  • Manage an administrative team that includes project finance, contracts, project management teams, and related issues that ensure timely and efficient support for academic, training and other units
  • Assist in coordinating University-wide projects that cross various University divisions
  • Oversee operations of the Dean’s Office, including management of staff, budgets, grants, policies and procedures to maximize the effectiveness of the Office of the Dean with respect to workflow, scheduling, communications, events, and interactions with key internal and external constituencies, as well as assisting in the operational and financial details of grants applications and management
  • Help lead in change management efforts, partnering with appropriate leaders and staff to achieve goals


  • Master’s degree in finance, business administration or related field required; PhD preferred
  • 3-5 years prior experience in business, higher education or non-profit management with a proven track record of successfully managing multiple priorities and complex fiscal challenges
  • Strong organizational skills; ability to prioritize
  • Appreciation for academia, comfortable working on cross-functional priorities at a strategic and operational level
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills and demonstrated ability to work effectively with a wide variety of constituencies, including members of a leadership team, faculty, administrators, students, parents, alumni, legislators, community leaders, business officials, and community members
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills for navigating and influencing within a complex environment with diverse and varied stakeholders
  • High attention to detail and analytical orientation
  • Independent and proactive
  • Quick learner
  • Works accurately and calmly under pressure
  • Ability to define clear objectives and enforce accountability for meeting deadlines
  • Collaborative work style; ability to maintain relationships with executives, colleagues, external stakeholders, partners and community leaders
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, Word) and financial management software; PeopleSoft preferred

To Apply

​Interested candidates should submit a Cover letter, detailed Curriculum Vitae, names and email contacts of three professional referees, telephone contact, e-mail address and copies of relevant academic certificates as well as transcripts to the Director, HR Academic, Aga Khan University’s Campus Nairobi, Kenya. P. O. Box 30270-00100 or by email to hr.universityke@aku.edu.

Your application should bear the reference number COS-GSMC.  Applications by email are preferred.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.  More information about the Aga Khan University is available at www.aku.edu.

Applications should be submitted latest by March 5, 2021