We’re four MBA students from Cambridge Judge Business School about to embark on a 2.5 week trip to Sierra Leone to examine the Alafia sanitation marketing programme that GOAL are running in Kenema, the third largest city in Sierra Leone. There’s a day to go before the four of us fly out. After a hectic term of assignments, sports and exams, all four of us are looking forward to getting our boots on the ground and the sun on our backs after another grey and cold Cambridge winter.
The great thing about the Cambridge MBA is that although it is a small class, there is a wealth of experience in every corner of the classroom, meaning that group consulting projects are able to bring to bear a wide variety of nationalities and experience at any one time. With that said, let me introduce you to the team:
Dan Baker has four and a half years of management consulting experience at Accenture, where he was a Manager based in Sydney, Australia. At Accenture, Dan worked with: Retail, Agribusiness, Telecommunications and Government clients to define and execute high value corporate strategy initiatives. He has worked on projects in: Australia, the Middle East, Asia and the UK. Dan represents the University at cricket and also rows for his college. He has travelled extensively throughout South America but has not worked in Africa yet, so is looking forward to meeting the team in Freetown and Kenema.
Prior to undertaking the MBA, Ben McDonald was an Investment Banking Associate at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), where he specialized in private company mergers and acquisitions. Before joining CIBC, Ben worked for a boutique management consulting firm, where he specialized in healthcare strategy. Ben received his undergraduate degree from the Ivey School of Business in Canada. Being a Canadian, Ben is (naturally!) good at ice hockey and represents the University. This will be Ben’s first trip to Africa and he is looking forward to applying some of the investment banking and management consulting skills that he used before coming to Cambridge.
Daniel Tammas Hasting has a finance background and is interested in ensuring that the Alafia programme is sustainable in the long term. Dan was a derivatives trader for Merrill Lynch, and prior to that an analyst for a hedge fund. After nearly 10 years in the City of London, this is a chance for Dan to bring his commercial skills to bear in Sierra Leone. Dan rows for his college and is a qualified ski instructor.
Finally, I have a background in telecoms, and politics. I am also the founding trustee of a charity in the UK that provides seed funding to social entrepreneurs creating new charitable programmes. This won’t be my first time to Africa, after having worked in telecoms for three and half years I’ve been lucky enough to visit: Algiers, Nairobi, and Durban, I’ve also been travelling throughout Egypt and Morocco. I row for my college and was fortunate enough to take part in an expedition to the South Pole in 2009.
With a heady mix of nerves and anticipation, we are all looking forward to working with the GOAL team who have done an outstanding job in Sierra Leone thus far. We have been extensively briefed on the project, the country, and everything in between, and we are now keen to get started. Watch this space in the coming weeks and we will keep you updated on our progress in the project, and our progress in learning a few words in Mende, Temne and Krio…