Prior to starting my MBA at Cambridge, I attended a Forté Foundation workshop that encouraged us to find our personal purpose statement. I chose “value: to know mine and to show others theirs”. Little did I know that a short-year later, I would be in a new position that would be giving me the opportunity to live out that statement in meaningful ways.
I came to Cambridge as an international development professional, specifically having focused my career in humanitarian intervention, foreign policy, and institutional proposal development. Throughout my varied experiences, I continued to see disconnect between for-profit and not-for-profit endeavours. So I began imagining a world where synergy between impact and income was a core practice for organisations of all types; and I knew that I wanted to be a part of creating it. It was finally during my role as a humanitarian Country Director in Niger that I made the firm decision to pursue my MBA at Cambridge Judge Business School in order to accomplish this dream.
At Cambridge, I found myself surrounded by a diverse set of backgrounds, worldviews, and priorities. In this diversity, I learned valuable skills particularly in communication, leadership, and negotiation. I collaborated alongside many students and professors who also envisioned a world where social impact is a business fundamental. Additionally, I had practical opportunities to research, design, and consult with real firms in the social impact and innovation field. Through these experiences, I was both challenged and inspired.
When choosing my focus for the Cambridge MBA Summer Term, I knew I wanted to work alongside an entrepreneurial firm focused on social impact but one that would allow me to apply the business disciplines taught through the MBA. TerraMica turned out to be the perfect fit. It is an organisation that seeks to alleviate the burdens of poverty among smallholder coffee farmers; seeking to transform coffee communities from the bottom-up to increase quality of life, environmental sustainability, and grassroots innovation.
During the MBA Summer Term, I consulted on their strategy for international growth outside of their core project in Honduras. The combination of my professional and academic experience made it possible for me to create a vision for expansion that so aligned with the founders’ passion for TerraMica, that I was offered a full-time executive leadership position before my MBA summer project had even ended.
At Cambridge, I learned not only how to appreciate and communicate my own value, but, more importantly, I learned how to create opportunities for others to do the same.
I could not be more excited to leave both a legacy for the social impact career opportunities that the Cambridge MBA offers, but also to be setting out as a social entrepreneur in my own right.
Rachel Baxter holds the Forté Foundation scholarship for MBA Class of 2020/21 – Find out more about the Cambridge MBA and our community of women here >
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