SOM hosts first Africa-based practicum

On Saturday, the School of Management hosted its first ever Africa-targeted symposium, the Africa Enterprise Practicum.

The ABP is a 1-day workshop that asked participants to check out the issues of engaging in enterprise in Africa. It employed a case-based mostly strategy, meaning that each and every participant was assigned to a small group to investigate one of 4 challenges that African businesses encounter: economic analysis, new markets and development, instruction and development or buyer retention.

Occasion organizers turned to Zoona, an entrepreneurial assistance firm based mostly in South Africa and Zambia, for consultation on presenting the most timely problems in Africa’s business world. Each group was provided monetary paperwork to put together a quick presentation on how they would method and resolve their assigned situations. Participating college students came from the SOM as nicely as other company colleges, which includes Wharton, NYU Stern, MIT Sloan and Columbia Organization School. Two African organization schools in the Worldwide Network — an worldwide business school partnership founded in 2012 by SOM Dean Edward Snyder — also held comparable occasions this weekend.

Barkot Tekle SOM ’15, one particular of the organizers of the event, stated the practicum was distinctive in its approach to learning organization challenges in Africa.

“It’s the only sort of [conference where] case material meets competition in terms of the Africa company base,” Tekle mentioned.

Tekle also mentioned the inspiration for ABP stemmed from the Wharton Africa Business Forum, an occasion that members of SOM attended final fall. The occasion hosted hundreds of college students, and some of the SOM attendees wished to adapt the informational content material to a smaller workshop setting to be hosted at Yale, Tekle said. Tekle added that, even though the last format of the practicum was usually the result of student concepts, the ABP did receive broad institutional help from Yale.

Yet another organizer, Alisha Rahemtulla SOM ’16 SPH ’16, explained the practicum accumulated virtually $ 10,000 in money from the MacMillan Center, Yale Law College, GNAM and ABP’s two fiscal sponsors, IBM and Atlas Mara.

Dayo Olopade LAW ’15 SOM ’15 said the “raw format” of the circumstances — meaning they offered college students with an abundance of data and mimicked real existence scenarios — made the knowledge of participating in the practicum far more worthwhile.

“This provides [participants] the credibility to say, ‘I’ve gotten my hands dirty and executed on a difficult problem in Africa,’” she mentioned.

Olopade also mentioned a single of the distinctive elements of the practicum was that it facilitated collaboration amongst students from diverse schools. This will support develop longstanding connections in between participants, which was one particular of the goals of the event in the first area, she said.

Bita Diomande, a participant from MIT Sloan, explained one particular of the components of the conference she most appreciated was the networking and social element manufactured possible by the hybrid composition of the teams. But Joelle Owona, one more MIT pupil, said she would have liked to have far more time allotted for networking all through the day.

Hunting forward, Olopade mentioned the format of the practicum can be replicated, and she and her colleagues strategy to host the workshop again next 12 months.

Neil Samen SOM ’15, one of the event’s organizers, said the leadership group is also considering about expanding the practicum to be a day and a half lengthy and shifting the event’s target from depth to breadth. Rather of focusing on a single business with a single set of issues, long term participants may possibly be asked to analyze issues picked from a lot more than one particular business so that they can see the numerous issues of diverse industries in Africa.

Sudhir explained he thinks it would be helpful to give college students entry to the situation materials and make contact with information for their staff members a week in advance, as an alternative of delivering only a single day to commence presentations from scratch. He said he thinks this additional time would boost the good quality of analysis.

SOM’s newly formed Africa Company and Society club will consider charge of all long term organizing for iterations of ABP.

But beyond Saturday’s workshop, ABP organizers have the greater aim of initiating dialogue with Africa, Rahemtulla stated.

“The notion is to bring in a lot more Africa-related initiatives to SOM,” she explained.

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