Aspiring entrepreneurs in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya have been getting business advice from UBC MBA candidates like Chris Dorrow as part of the Sauder School of Business’ Africa Initiative.
The main Sauder program in Kenya is called Social Entrepreneurship 101 (SE 101), a three-week course where business students from UBC and Strathmore University in Nairobi mentor young people, identify sources of funding for their projects, and help them launch businesses.
Chris came across SE 101 online when he was researching potential business schools a few years ago. What he read about the course and Sauder’s work in Africa generally inspired him to choose a UBC MBA over other postgraduate options he was considering.
In addition to taking part in the program as a business coach, Chris won one of three paid internships that SE 101 provides to MBA students each summer. His task was to develop a business plan to make the course available full time in Kenya.
“My time in Nairobi was incredible and it’s great to be part of a business school that offers these amazing opportunities,” says Chris. “It gives you a real buzz to be able to help unemployed young people who are looking to start their own businesses. They could be anything from a jersey store to a barber shop or even a movie theatre.”
Focus on sustainability
Before moving to Vancouver from his home town of Ottawa, Chris worked for Accenture for five years as a human resources consultant. But he had always wanted to complete his MBA and Sauder’s focus on creativity and sustainability was a big attraction for him.
“I already had a keen interest in sustainability and green business and I wanted a broader perspective in that area,” he says. “The UBC MBA is one of the only programs in Canada that offers a strong focus on sustainability.”
Chris singles out Sauder professor Moura Quayle’s classes as some of the most enjoyable and useful learning experiences of his life. He describes her in no uncertain terms as “a genius” and adds that the examples she uses and the creative approaches she takes to business problems are applicable in many other business situations, including in his work in the slums of Nairobi.
“It has been an incredible experience at Sauder, an absolute rollercoaster ride. I never thought I would make such a strong connection with the people in my class. And to have had the experience of putting my learning to good use in Kenya is something I will never forget.”
Now it’s your turn. If you’re looking for unforgettable learning opportunities that will take your career to the next level, find out more about the re-imagined UBC MBA program.