Students to Race to Mongolia for Breast Cancer Research

Instead of taking a traditional internship this summer, three Haas students will pack into a pink van like sardines and screech across the Greater Barsuki Desert in Kazakhstan. Their destination? Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Their mission? To support breast cancer research and awareness.

On July 20, Bradford “Chip” Malt, Nate Wojcik, and Brian Canty, all MBA 15, are slated to begin the Mongol Rally, one of the most enduring and epic global charity car races in the world. The “race” starts from just outside London and will take the team, which also includes two Harvard MBA students, through their chosen “more adventurous” 8,500-mile route through countries such as Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Covering about 500 miles a day in a 1994 Toyota Lucida minivan purchased sight unseen from a woman in London, the team will stop to enjoy sights, camp by the roadside, and photo-document their entire journey. They aim for an August 20 arrival in Mongolia.

“It’s an exercise in being confronted with ambiguity and uncertainty –– exactly the kind of thing you need as an entrepreneur,” says Malt, the team lead, who will spend the rest of his summer in a mini-internship working with the startup Rhone Apparel.

The team is currently seeking corporate sponsorship and individual donations to reach their goal of $25,000, every penny of which will go directly to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass., to support breast cancer research. “We’re subsidizing the actual trip ourselves,” says Malt.

“This cause has a lot of meaning for me,” says Wojcik. “Close family members as well as some of my classmates from the Coast Guard Academy have suffered from breast cancer. The trip will challenge us in ways we could never expect, and I know it will be the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”

Canty concurs. “After earning a MBA at Haas, many of us will go on to successful careers. But sometimes it feels like the ends are for personal satisfaction,” he says. “It’s good to spend time going against the grain and doing something more impactful, which will hopefully give us more perspective on what really matters.”

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