MBA Student of the Year fights poverty in Africa

Skrevet af Anna KristiansenFelix Kasperek, translation - 20. juni 2013 - 17:210 kommentarer
Tanzanian Aida Kiangi – graduate of CBS’ Full-time MBA 2009, Country Director of Action Aid Tanzania and ‘MBA of the Year’ 2013.

CBS’ Full-time and Executive MBA alumni this year honored Tanzanian Aida Kiangi, Country Director of the NGO Action Aid Tanzania and CBS FT-MBA student of 2008-2009, as ‘MBA of the Year’.

MBA alumni’s summer meeting with award ceremony
CBS’ Full-time and Executive MBA alumni held their annual summer meeting the first weekend of June, with the Royal Danish Playhouse as the setting of the gala dinner, reunion, good times and exchange of anecdotes about strategy projects and deadlines of the past.

The evening’s highlight was the presentation of this year’s two candidates for the ‘MBA of the Year’ award, that honors a CBS MBA graduate who’s achieved extraordinary results – as an entrepreneur, in his/her career or in other contexts.

The reasoning behind the award is partly encouraging MBA students to keep an eye on each others’ careers and highlight the individuals who deserve special recognition from the other alumni, and partly meant to profile the tuition-based programs for potential students by putting CBS’ MBA alumni’s results into focus.

This year’s MBA is a non-profit executive
This year, the ‘MBA of the Year’ award went to Aida Kiangi, Country Director of the NGO Action Aid Tanzania – a politically independent, non-profit organization working to empower poor and marginalized societies in Tanzania, and is mainly involved in agriculture and food safety, land rights, education, HIV/AIDS, justice and democratic governance, along with women’s rights.

In practice, those involved in Aida Kiangi’s organization draw upon their own resources, influence, networks and experiences, aimed towards helping poor citizens and marginalized societies in Tanzania find their own solutions for their poverty issues.

- The title is a great recognition and justification of the work I’ve done. The fact that my peers have recognized my career and my work gives me great confidence and humility at the same time. It means a lot, says Aida Kiangi about receiving the award.

MBA competencies from CBS put to work
Since she graduated from CBS’ Full-time MBA in 2009, Aida Kiangi has developed a new strategy for her organization, conducted a successful fusion with another organization and delivered an operational turn-around.

- I’d strongly recommend anyone who works in non-profit organizations to take an MBA, since it gives some hard competencies that we normally won’t get from just doing developmental studies. It gives insight into areas of efficiency and strategic development that can have an enormous influence on the organization, says Aida Kiangi.

CBS and Copenhagen can seem to be a long way from home for a Tanzanian. Aida Kiangi heard about CBS’ Full-time MBA program through a friend who works for the Danish government and she succeeded in getting one of the coveted Danida scholarships, covering part of the costs of the program and associated costs, as well as the significant costs of living in a city as expensive as Copenhagen. But it was all worth it:

- The limited amount of students and their diverse backgrounds were very appealing to me, and I thrived at CBS. I enjoyed that we weren’t taught or lectured but rather encouraged to build our own perspectives, Aida Kiangi tells, and elaborates:

- The fact that I could immediately convert theory to practice, my own reflection and self-reflection, the management-development process I went through and the Advisory Board element all gave me a very solid foundation… And I loved ‘Corporate Finance’ – it really tested my limits!

The journey is far from over
Aida Kiangi points out that one of the big differences between the non-profit sector and the commercial sector is that more is at stake, since her work and strategic decisions have a direct influence on people’s lives.

- I have good insight into my abilities and competencies and I know how far I can bend without breaking. It’s important to be able to see this in team members and coworkers as well, says Aida Kiangi, who’d like to delve deeper into turn-around and change management in the near future.

- Even though working with that kind of projects can be quite the grueling experience, I enjoy the process a lot and I’ve experienced that this is where my strengths are, says this year’s ‘MBA of the Year’ of CBS.