“I chose to attend IE Business School for two reasons. Here, I find myriad opportunities for students interested in social business and sustainability, the areas I wanted to pursue as a career. In addition, as I’d never lived outside the US, I needed international experience. The school’s location in Madrid and diverse student body would give me the chance to live in a foreign country, learn another language, and work with multinational teams.
During my year at Madrid, I did all those things and more, availing myself of every possible opportunity to get involved in social business. As a member of the Board of Net Impact, I organized Impact Weekend, a social business plan competition. This event offered me the opportunity to learn what impact investors look for in a social business.
During the summer, I participated in the Emzingo NexGen Program, a social business and personal development fellowship that placed MBA students on consulting projects with social enterprises and NGOs in South Africa.
My consulting project entailed developing a strategic plan for a new product rollout for Zazida Institute of Entrepreneurship, an educational institution for aspiring entrepreneurs in Africa, as well as undergoing leadership training and advising on a social business case. This experience afforded me my first opportunity to both work in social business and work in a developing country and to learn about the educational and entrepreneurship ecosystems in South Africa.
Because of this, I was invited to join the founding team of Next Generation Lab, a start-up that reached the finals of the school’s Venture Lab start-up incubator competition. Next Generation Lab is an accelerator for family businesses and SMEs in emerging markets that is now launching operations in Johannesburg. Its mission is to transform family businesses and SMEs into engines for economic development and job creation.
Taken as a whole, my MBA was valuable not for the coursework alone, but for the opportunities it afforded me to plunge headlong into the worlds of social business and entrepreneurship in emerging economies. It is these opportunities, rather than the courses or the degree, that enabled me to change location, sector, and function, and land my first post-MBA job in my chosen field, a consulting project at Yunus Social Business.”
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