“This is a big plus for our Evening MBA students, in terms of thinking about what it takes to really apply what they’re learning in business school.”
To help these businesses identify strategies for future sustainability, students will think critically about the conditions and the environment in which these businesses are located.
Lyles said the students must address each aspect of the business while on this trip. Take marketing, for example. How do you let people know about your services and your products? Some people don’t have TVs, but most have mobile phones, she explained. What about accounting systems and distribution? Some people may have very little formal education. And how do you get things into the territory and sell them?
“This entire experience helps the Evening MBA students grow by giving them a chance to be creative and innovative,” said Lyles. “Many times at their own jobs, they may do the same thing over and over again, and they may not always have the opportunity to be creative or innovative. This is a chance for them to not only help a company, but to find new ways of helping the company, especially in ways the company hasn’t thought about. It’s also important to listen. This experience will develop their consulting and communication skills by engaging and developing trust with individuals who live a very different environment from our MBAs.”