Articles

Top global MBA programs launch scholarship initiative in Africa to fuel economic growth

April 18, 2013

The Foundation for African Leadership in Business (ALB Foundation) has partnered with top-tier MBA programs Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona and the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management in Nashville, Tennessee to facilitate job creation and sustainable economic growth in Africa.

Together, these founding partners of the ALB Foundation will identify and provide opportunities to Africa’s next generation of business leaders by providing full-tuition scholarships towards an MBA for selected candidates. By doing so, the institutions ensure regional diversity on the campuses of top-tier, globally-ranked MBA programs while providing a sustainable solution to stimulating economic growth in emerging economies. Since its inception, the ALB Foundation has also worked with IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, where multiple ALB Foundation Scholars have received their MBAs.

Applying the principle that within ten years of program completion every MBA graduate creates an average of 149 jobs, the ALB Foundation and its partners will identify individuals from the African continent committed to investing their time and resources to socially responsible initiatives post-graduation in their communities and, in return, provide them with the powerful toolbox of knowledge, resources and connections that a top-tier business education provides.

“Thunderbird School of Global Management prides itself on having a diverse and global student body.  Our vision is to dramatically grow our positive impact in a world economy that is in dire need of global leadership talent,” said Steve Taylor, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management & Student Services at Thunderbird School of Global Management. “Partnering with the ALB Foundation is a great opportunity to widen our reach in Africa. The more talented and driven African students who receive the global business education Thunderbird offers, the more sustainable prosperity we can create worldwide.”

Christie St-John, Director of Admissions for the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Business MBA program, further assesses the importance of fostering management education to maximize Africa’s growth potential. “We’ve seen the reports by McKinsey & Company – the burgeoning consumer market in Africa is expected to grow by more than $400 billion by 2020,” says St-John. “We’ve seen how investors have suddenly developed an interest in the African market.  This is the place to be, and in order to keep up with the pace of development, education is of primordial importance. This is one of the reasons that Vanderbilt’s MBA program leapt at the chance to join the Foundation for African Leadership in Business. We are proud to be in this group of schools that will enable and empower new groups of managers to come back and make a difference.”

The creation of the ALB Foundation is itself a demonstration of the global-minded, social conscious leadership and innovation that the organization and its partners seek in selected students. What began as a project among four MBA classmates from three continents at IE Business School in 2010 has continued as an organization expanding its reach, partnerships and impact on emerging markets. “ALB is a living example of the global impact that can come from classroom diversity,” says Suzanne O’Brien, Executive Director of the ALB Foundation. “My classmates and I decided that we had to do something to create change for Africa.  But looking around the classroom, we realized that the right people for the job, African professionals, weren’t getting the business training that would help them become Africa’s next leaders.” The solution, O’Brien and her colleagues realized, was to bridge that gap. “Only four out of every one million Africans pursues an MBA. The continent longs for leaders with the right training.  We are changing the world by empowering Africa’s next generation of leaders.  ALB is truly excited to be partnered with three world-class MBA programs.”

Mr. Andrew Tarazid-Tarawali of Sierra Leone recently completed his MBA at IE Business School through the ALB Foundation. Tarazid-Tarawali notes that his presence in a class with very little representation from Sub-Saharan Africa has provided much-needed regional perspective of the growth and investment opportunities available in Africa to his peers. “I strongly believe my presence in the MBA program has a generally positive impact on the overall class dynamic and perspective of Africa as a whole. During an Entrepreneurship class project, my colleagues were quite interested in learning more of the economic and investment opportunities present on the continent. In fact, for the project in question we selected Ghana as our pilot country due to my previous working and experience and knowledge of the market.”

The ALB Foundation, along with IE Business School, Vanderbilt University’s Owen School of Graduate Management and Thunderbird School of Global Management have united with the goal of providing a simple yet sustainable solution to promoting economic development in emerging markets with a particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.  By providing scholarships to MBAs from top-tier institutions around the world, each institution promotes job creation in developing countries by providing management education crucial to the creation of the next generation of African leaders.

Candidates interested in learning more about the ALB Foundation’s scholarship opportunities should visit www.albfoundation.org to register and receive additional information, including deadlines and advice on preparing a strong MBA application.

ABOUT THE FOUNDATION FOR AFRICAN LEADERSHIP IN BUSINESS

The Foundation for African Leadership in Business (ALB Foundation) offers scholarships to African citizens for completion of an International MBA. The Foundation aims to nurture socially responsible African business leaders by providing access to international business education programs and encouraging cooperation among Foundation members. In doing so, the ALB Foundation promotes intercultural communications, investment in Africa and the exchange of ideas in the international business arena.

What began as a project between four classmates from three continents at IE Business School for a corporate social responsibility course has continued to increase its reach through partnerships that provide solutions for the challenges faced by three distinct groups: (1) African professionals interested in obtaining a prestigious MBA; (2) University MBA programs seeking to increase diversity and attract highly-qualified applicants; and (3) Businesses seeking candidates with an advanced degree and a deep understanding of the African market. After a rigorous international search process, the ALB Foundation awards selected individuals with scholarships to attend top-tier, globally ranked MBA programs.

Find The Foundation for African Leadership in Business on Facebook, visit their website at www.albfoundation.org and follow them on Twitter at @ALBFoundation.