MBA Graduates Choose Social Enterprise in Emerging Markets Over Traditional Corporate Jobs

Tourism development in Sri Lanka, social enterprise expansion in India, local supplier improvement in Mozambique—just three of the unique assignments that the most recent cohort of MBAs Without Borders (MWB) Advisors set out to begin this August.  As MWB Advisors, the seven graduates will spend from five months up to one year working on a project for a social enterprise, NGO, or government agency.  This experience provides the Advisors with an extraordinary opportunity to gain practical experience working in emerging and frontier markets while developing critical leadership skills that strengthen their ability to manage global teams.

On July 29, the Advisors gathered at CDS headquarters in Washington, D.C. to kick off their assignments, which will take them to countries that include India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Mozambique and Tanzania. And while the seven MWB Advisors’ areas of expertise range from environmental science, to mechanical engineering, to scuba diving, they all have one thing in common—the business acumen to provide pro bono services to promote growth, entrepreneurship and economic development around the world.

Here’s a sneak-peak into each Advisor’s assignment, and why they feel passionate about being an MBA Without Borders.

Jessica Custer

MBA, HEC Paris

Jessica will spend the next five months as a Marketing and Sales Specialist at Kara Weaves, a fair-trade certified organization that sells hand-woven clothes and linens designed by local weavers of Kerala, India. Jessica will work to expand Kara Weaves’ market share locally and internationally, while identifying new distribution channels and increasing sales.

 “I believe that there is a great opportunity to create shared value simply by leveraging business in innovative ways…. ‘Business as usual’ hasn’t been good enough for a long time—it’s time to do business with people in mind.”

Kathryn Svobodny

MBA, Masagung Graduate School of Management, University of San Francisco

Kathryn joins READ Global, an organization that partners with communities in rural Asia to develop community library and resource centers, as a Sustaining Enterprise Specialist.  As READ is ready to expand its services throughout Asia, Kathryn will spend two months in Nepal, two months in India, and one month in Bhutan, identifying the types of READ models that can be replicated across the continent.

“The entrepreneurial spirit is especially strong in developing countries, where for many people, starting a small business may be the only means available by which to support their families…I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to support themselves, their family, and their community, regardless of where they live.”

Annessa Kaufman 

MTA, George Washington University

Annessa, whose interests include museum curation, scuba diving and sustainable destination management, will spend the next 12 months as a Tourism Development Specialist in Sri Lanka. She will work with communities to help sustainably develop the tourism industry to provide value to both visitors and residents.

“I can’t wait to work with communities to help them shape the tourism potential into experiences that enrich the lives and perspectives of visitors and residents alike.”

John Ginther

MBA, MS Global Affairs, University of Toronto

John joins Annessa as a Small Business Finance and Management Advisor in Sri Lanka.  John will spend 12 months supporting a development project that seeks to fuel economic growth in former conflict regions by providing financial and advisory support to small businesses.

From what I have seen, experienced, and read, the development landscape is changing rapidly in ways that will encourage the development community to draw from the lessons and tools of business and management… MBAs Without Borders embraces these principles… to support development through socially sustainable market-based solutions.”

Michelle de Arruda

MBA, Darden School of Business, University of Virgina

Michelle will spend 5 months as a Supplier Development Advisor enhancing local enterprise in Mozambique. Michelle will be instrumental in developing positive relationships with local small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as conducting training sessions, developing workshops and providing logistical and technical support for new businesses.

“I have the opportunity to leverage my skills to open the next door in fulfilling both my personal and career aspirations.”

Michael Anderson

MBA, University of Missouri

 Michael will spend the next 5 months as a Program and Technical Advisor for the Tanzania Horticulture Association, which is committed to the growth, promotion, and continued development of the horticulture industry in Tanzania through the promotion of Public-Private-Partnership.

“Standing on the cliff of life, I have decided I want to do something different with my MBA that will not only challenge me, but will also contribute to making the world a better place.”

Paul Belknap

MBA, Smeal College of Business, Penn State

Paul joins the Indian social enterprise, Sustaintech, which sells clean cook stoves as a replacement for the more common and dangerous traditional stoves used by over 3 billion people in the developing world. He will spend the next five months as a Business Development Specialist performing a market analysis and developing and implementing sales strategies for new markets.

“In the five months ahead, I know there will be obstacles and challenges, and I’ll be forced to solve problems I’ve never even thought of. It’s this kind of challenge that first drew me to the MBAs Without Borders experience. I’m ready for the next adventure.”

Jessica, Kathryn, Annessa, John, Michelle, Michael, and Paul will join a network of over 1,000 MBA graduates who have leveraged their skills and business expertise to develop socially sustainable businesses models in over 50 emerging markets as MBA Without Borders Advisors.

You could be next.

Jailan Adly

Jailan Adly

Jailan Adly is the Director of MBAs Without Borders where she is responsible for the overall design and implementation of the MBAs Without Borders program. In addition, she manages various International Corporate Volunteer programs for clients such as IBM, FedEx, John Deere, Medtronic, and Novartis in Morocco, Tanzania, South Africa, Tunisia, and India.

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