Six graduate students from East Africa have traveled thousands of miles from their home countries of Kenya and Uganda to join the University of Notre Dame’sMBAcohort in the pilot of an innovative new program kick-started by three university partners andIBMCorp.
Leadership for Excellence and Africa’s Development is designed to develop African leaders who are creative, strategic, ethical and dedicated to serving the common good.
“Sub-Saharan Africa has a young and highly capable population that wants to address the problems that have for too long held the region back,” saysRev. Robert Dowd, C.S.C., a political scientist who studies Africa and directs theFord Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity.
“These young people want to be problem solvers and job creators. They want to build accountable and responsive institutions in the private and public sector. Through this program, Notre Dame seeks to support young leaders in their efforts to bring about positive change in their societies.”
Originating in conversations between Fr. Dowd and campus visitors about how the University could contribute to Africa’s growth, theLEADprogram was developed as a collaboration between the Ford Program at theKellogg Institute for International Studies, theMendoza College of Businessand theEngineering, Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Masters (ESTEEM) Program,as well asIBM.
To prepare for the launch ofLEADthis fall, Fr. Dowd worked with partner universities in Kenya and Uganda to identify candidates who had completed at least one year of a two-yearMBAor comparable program. Additional criteria included high academic performance as well as a demonstrated superior work ethic and leadership potential. Father Dowd interviewed 13 finalists in Kampala, Uganda, and Nairobi, Kenya.
The student participants, who arrived Oct. 21 for the seven-week program, are housed at the University and fully integrated into the Notre DameMBAcurriculum, while also participating in seminars designed specifically for them by the Ford andESTEEMprograms. Representatives fromIBMwill teach once per week, and the students will have the chance to attend a weeklong seminar atIBMbefore returning to East Africa in December.
MBAcourses include International Business Ethics, Ethics in Finance and Banking; Sustainability in Business; Team Building; and Staying True to Self Under Pressure: The Spirituality of Work.
“The integration of these students into Notre Dame’s regular curriculum is crucially important because it will provide them with the opportunity to learn from and with peers from other parts of the world,” Fr. Dowd said.
“We foresee the students making a positive difference in their own countries — and enriching us at Notre Dame, too.”
The Congregation of Holy Cross, United States Province of Priests and Brothers, has a presence in both Uganda and Kenya.