Instead of learning about business overseas during the spring semester in the school's International Business Development (IBD) Program, Judy Chang, MBA 11, is taking on an unusual role: She is becoming an IBD client.
Chang has developed an IBD project for her classmates to investigate the feasibility of a manufacturing facility in Sub-Saharan Africa to supply products that will meet the demand for both local and international markets.
IBD is a management consulting program that connects MBA students with companies and nonprofits around the world. As with all IBD projects, after preparatory work during the spring semester, the team of four students working on Chang's project will complete field research in late May and June, traveling to Africa with Chang, and provide final recommendations at the end of the trip.
"I am confident that the result of the study will pave the foundation for a successful social venture that aims to create jobs, generate income, and foster sustainable communities in developing countries," Chang says.
Chang became passionate about Africa while working on health care in Zambia with the Clinton Foundation. But she observed that many NGOs rely on donor money to operate, a model that she concluded is not sustainable. By contrast, she envisions developing a financially viable manufacturing enterprise that leverages the raw materials in Sub-Saharan Africa to act as a sourcing partner for local and international for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
Chang is only the second student in IBD's 18-year history to create a project for the program. The other was Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, who co-founded Ashesi University in Ghana with Nina Marini, MBA 99, after his idea for the university was an IBD project. Last month, Awuah was recognized with the Aspen Institute's John P. McNulty Prize, which recognizes young leaders making creative, effective, and lasting contributions to their communities.
"Judy had been selected to participate in the IBD program. But she gave up her place in order to pursue her dream," says Sebastian Teunissen, who runs the IBD program. "With the help of an IBD team and her obvious passion, I’m sure she will make great things happen."
Chang chose not to be on the IBD team because she believes she would bias its results. Next semester she plans to investigate potential partners for the venture as part of an independent study course. She's currently busy meeting with organizations to raise funds to cover travel and other IBD expenses by the end of January.
To help or learn more about Judy Chang's proposal, please email her at Judy_Chang@mba.berkeley.edu.