One of the great benefits of the MBA and, according to the QS TopMBA.com Applicant Survey of thousands of MBA candidates, a key reason for doing an MBA, is international flexibility. Not all MBAs want to head straight for Wall Street or the city, and many strongly desire to work in community projects and NGOs in developing nations. Ross Geraghty talks to one such inspirational MBAs, at work in Nigeria.
Jane Nsunwara, TEMPO - Nigeria
I currently work as an MBA Enterprise Corp volunteer with CDC Development Solutions - an NGO based in Washington, DC - on a tourism development project called TEMPO (Tourism Employment Opportunities) in Cross River State, Nigeria. TEMPO is a World Bank Pilot Project focused on identifying opportunities for developing tourism products and services, and providing business development services through technical assistance and a grant program to hospitality service providers in Cross River State (CRS). I chose to volunteer on this project because it provides an opportunity to empower small business owners in CRS with business skills to make them more efficient and effective in their service delivery. In this assignment, I'm in direct contact with business owners and their employees and can, in real time, provide suggestions and input necessary to help them achieve better results.
My role as a business development consultant involves assisting hospitality stakeholders in CRS to improve their products and service delivery by providing capacity building services for their employees and managers, mentoring, advising on product development plans, and facilitating sales and marketing efforts on behalf of our private sector partners. At TEMPO, we've improved collaboration among the private sector by facilitating open communication and discussions about major issues affecting their businesses as we seek to build Nigeria's first Destination Management Organization (DMO) - an organization that represents their collective interest. I'm most proud that I have been able to leverage my knowledge of the local business culture and practices to enable CDS-TEMPO to build this collaboration.
My Darden MBA has equipped me with the intellectual curiosity and capacity to learn quickly through discussions and observation, and effectively communicate practical ideas and solutions to business issues. In this environment, being flexible and having the capacity to think and act within a short time frame is important for successful outcomes. Sometimes, the tools and support needed to carry out the best-intended tasks are not always readily available or in place. Darden's case study teaching style has provided a baseline approach for analyzing and resolving these issues as they come up.
Before going for my MBA, I worked as a Transportation Project Manager on some very interesting and challenging engineering projects with the District of Columbia, Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. My time at the District gave me insight into project planning, management and implementation, and also afforded me the opportunity to work closely with a variety of functional experts.
My time as an MBAEC Volunteer so far has been exciting and very rewarding, as it has provided ample challenges and rewards to keep every day interesting. I am hooked on working in the emerging market space and plan to remain in this area after my volunteer assignment.
In emerging markets, there's always an opportunity to do things better than it's been done in the past or better yet, an opportunity to be the first one to do it.