Johns Hopkins MBA Students to Present Their Findings From Overseas ‘Innovation for Humanity’ Business Projects

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Six teams of MBA students from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School will present their findings from their recently completed business projects in developing communities overseas, in an April 5 event at the school’s Baltimore campus.

Six teams of students from the Global MBA program of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School will present their findings from their recently completed business projects in developing communities overseas, as well as from one project held in the United States, in an April 5 event at the school’s Baltimore campus.

Carey defines itself as the school “where business is taught with humanity in mind, ” and nothing in its curriculum more aptly expresses this philosophy than the Innovation for Humanity course that occurs in the first year of the full-time, two-year Global MBA program.

In I4H, as the course is familiarly known, students are immersed for three weeks during the January intersession in an overseas culture with its attendant business challenges and opportunities. Working with local entrepreneurs and community stakeholders, the students tackle indigenous business problems, and are tasked to think innovatively and act collaboratively in seeking solutions. One I4H team worked this past January, for example, at a health clinic in Quito, Ecuador, and developed 10 recommendations to improve the facility’s admission and discharge processes.

Since the Global MBA program was introduced in fall 2010, about 250 Carey students have formed teams to work on a total of nearly 60 Innovation for Humanity projects that have focused on such domains as health care, agriculture, energy use, and water conservation. The course is a requirement of Carey’s Global MBA.

Dipankar Chakravarti, the Carey Business School marketing professor who directs the 14H course, says it was designed “to provide a transformational experience for our students. They get to see how entrepreneurs can encounter all kinds of difficulties, especially in an emerging economy, and still find ways to make meaningful contributions. In a challenging environment that really puts them to the test, the students learn to use many of the business skills they’ve acquired in their classes.”

From among the 20 projects this year, Carey faculty members have selected six for this Friday’s presentations – one each representing student efforts in Rwanda, Peru, Ecuador, India, and the United States (Colorado). The event serves as the culmination, as well as a celebration, of the 14H course as the academic year nears its end.

The faculty decided to add a second Ecuador project because they were impressed that the students in the group took the unusual step of alternating between English and Chinese in their preliminary presentation.

“That showed imagination and creativity, which are two vitally important skills when you’re trying to solve business problems in a challenging environment. That’s something we try very hard to instill in all the students at Carey,” says Chakravarti. “Also, by using two languages, the group underscored the global nature of doing business today.”

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