Group of MBA students traveling to Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Rio De Janeiro
As part of the annual Brazil Field Seminar trip, a group of MBA students, led by Kristen McCormack, executive-in-residence, senior lecturer, and director of the Public & Nonprofit Management Program, is traveling around the country for two weeks this January to learn firsthand about issues of sustainability, social impact, and entrepreneurship. The group is also blogging daily from Brazil about their experience.
Thus far, the 2013 trip has included several unique company visits, including Cargill’s Food Innovation Center in Sao Paulo (Cargill is the largest privately held company in Brazil) and Estre, the largest and fastest growing waste management company in Brazil. The group also had an inspiring meeting with three microcredit clients, and spoke with former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
Of the meeting with the former President, student Ben writes:
On Brazil’s current leadership, President Cardoso offered his opinion on current President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor President Lula De Silva, both of whom are members of the opposition party, the more liberal workers party. President Cardoso is a supporter of business and believes that the current leadership is intervening too much. He described the popular Lula as a “pragmatic leader, who is flexible in his principles.” When asked what makes a great leader, President Cardoso said that what the world needs for great change are giants, and what makes a giant is not someone who imposes his will on the people but rather someone who can persuade others to agree.
We asked if he was pleased with his own accomplishments and with the future potential of Brazil. He said “We are making progress…my son and daughter will live better than myself.” He explained that Brazil truly can be a super power, with relatively strong growth, high exports, and huge economic potential, but the focus now needs to change from that quantity to quality: “Look at Denmark, it has a low GDP but a high quality of life.”
His final piece of advice, and my personal favorite quote of the meeting was: “Be flexible in your behavior and be consistent in your principles.”
Pictured above is the 2013 Brazil Field Seminar group with Cargill staff at Cargill’s Food Innovation Center in Sao Paulo. Photo via the Brazil Field Seminar blog.
Management students learn and lead grant-making process
A team of seven Boston University graduate students awarded a $10,000 grant from the Highland Street Foundation to Housing Families Inc. on December 6 to improve the shelter’s technology infrastructure. “As part of the Strategic Fundraising and Corporate Philanthropy class,” said David Stolow, Faculty Director of the Public and Nonprofit MBA program, “the student team operated as a small foundation. They set priorities, designed an application and review process, and conducted in-depth site visits.”
The student team received initial applications from 21 shelter providers, and selected ten to submit full proposals, before choosing Health Families to receive the grant. The student team was composed of full-time and part-time MBA students, and a student from the BU School of Social Work. “The Public and Nonprofit MBA program emphasizes authentic projects. We challenge students to apply their rigorous management skills to address urgent and complex social issues,” said Stolow. “The philanthropy project exemplifies our approach and we’re grateful to the Highland Street Foundation and its Youth Philanthropy Initiative for its generous support of this project.”
In photo: Boston University students and Highland Street Foundation members present a check to Housing Families Inc, a local shelter.
From the Article “Philanthropy Gains Eager Followers in B-Schools”
In a recent article, Business Week online spotlights Boston University’s Public and & Nonprofit Management Program (PNP) and the in-depth exposure to philanthropy that it provides MBA students.
Noting that “MBA and undergraduate courses on philanthropy are proliferating as interest grows among a generation of B-school idealists,” journalist Alison Damast reports,
Today, dozens of MBA and undergraduate programs teach philanthropy as an academic subject, exposing students to both the art and science of giving. Some schools—including Stanford, Columbia Business School, and the Boston University School of Management—teach entire courses focused solely on the topic, while others weave philanthropy into the curriculum of social-enterprise courses….
“This is a generation used to being hands-on,” McCormack says. “They want to have a direct impact.”
MBA students are…eager to become better-educated, savvier philanthropists, says Kristen McCormack, faculty director of the Public & Non-Profit Management program at the Boston University School of Management, where she has been teaching a course on the topic for the last decade. During the last four years, a group of students in the course have been charged with the task of giving away $10,000 to a local charity….This year’s class decided to give all its money to a group called Medicine Wheel Productions in South Boston, a nonprofit that works with troubled youth via public art projects.
“They need to figure out ‘how much good can I do with this money,’” McCormack says. “It is a very strategic kind of question that involves their business skills.”
In the last few years, interest in philanthropy and fundraising classes has grown as more business schools emphasize ethics and corporate responsibility in the curriculum, McCormack notes. As a result, more students are interested in serving on the boards of directors of nonprofit groups and in giving away a portion of income to charitable organizations. At the same time, the number of new family foundations is on the rise, she said, as more students want to learn how to make an impact with their money. “This is a generation used to being hands-on,” McCormack says. “They want to have a direct impact.”
Read full article at Business Week online.
Boston University Graduate School of Management student Helen Li (MBA ‘11, Public & Nonprofit Management), discusses her former role as CEO of Hoge Lumber’s Shanghai division, doing business in China, being an Olympic supplier, and what she wishes she knew then that she’s learned recently at BU.
“Pursuing my degree at Boston University has really provided me an opportunity to look back at my role in Shanghai, and very often I realize something could have been done differently.”
Leading Hoge Lumber.
“Hoge Lumber Company is a century-old lumber company based in Ohio. As CEO of the Shanghai division, I served the whole China market. Before 2003, Hoge Shanghai was engaged in promoting bowling lanes to China. We were known in the industry as the best manufacturer of wood bowling alleys–and I’m not biased at all!”
The Challenges of Breaking Into the China Market.
“In 2003, we spotted another market opportunity for professional sports floors in China, then forged a strategic partnership with Horner Flooring Company, a Michigan company and one of the top 3 sports floor manufacturers in the world. From here, we started promoting Horner floor in China. Horner floor is widely adopted by NBA professional teams, including the Celtics, but at that time it was totally unknown to the China market.
“The initial challenge was mostly on the marketing side to inform potential customers of the product and the brand. As we moved on and established the reputation of Horner floor being the best sports floor in China, the challenges then shifted into sales and operation.
“Very often it would take more than a year to follow up a project and close the deal. As the construction business in China is notoriously full of uncertainty and lack of standards, coordinating with general contractors was also extremely challenging.”
Becoming an Olympic, China Games, and NBA Supplier.
“Hoge Lumber was chosen as a flooring supplier for the Beijing Olympic Games. We supplied our product to six Olympic arenas, including the Beijing Olympic Center and the National Shooting Center. Our crew was also responsible for installing the flooring in these arenas.
“We also worked closely with the National Basketball Association in the US, supplying the official floor for all NBA all-star games in the US since 1984, and for the NBA’s China Games since 2004.”
Looking Back from the School of Management Classroom.
“My move to Boston was actually inspired by a volunteer experience in 2008 with a nonprofit organization helping Sichuan earthquake victims in 2008. That’s when I decided to move into the public and nonprofit arena.
“Pursuing my degree at Boston University has really provided me an opportunity to look back at my role in Shanghai, and very often I’m stricken by a realization that something could have been done differently back then to achieve better results. The diversified environment here has also offered me some wonderful experiences working with and learning from people across many different cultures, sectors, and industries.”
“After I graduate next year, I’ll be looking for roles in nonprofit foundations. I’m also very interested in opportunities that involve cross-culture management.”