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Students Gaining Experience Abroad: R.H. Smith School of Business

Posted By Susan Taylor, Thursday, July 30, 2009
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013

MBAs in Burkina FasoSmith’s Center for Social Value Creation creates opportunities for students to travel to emerging economies where they benefit from projects that use their business skills to address global challenges. In January 2008, through a partnership with Engineers Without Borders, two MBA students joined a team from the Clark School of Engineering on a journey to Burkina Faso with the dual objectives of installing solar-powered lighting systems in rural villages, and evaluating the possibility of starting a business that used this solar power to provide off-grid energy to rural villagers. The students identified a target market, developed a pricing strategy and helped design a delivery system that was competitive with the current kerosene-based system.

Said Jason Lee of the experience, "My time in Burkina Faso with Engineers Without Borders will forever be remembered as the event that convinced me of the power and potential of applying business principles within the development context.” Engineers without Borders, a non-profit organization that works with disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life through implementation of environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects, while developing internationally responsible engineering students. This year, the Center for Social Value Creation is working in Ethiopia to develop a micro-enterprise in Addis Alem.

 

UMD Robert H. School of Business

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