WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 9, 2019) — Each year a group of students at Howard University School of Business travel abroad to put their classroom instruction to work as international business consultants to companies across the world. Twelve students enrolled in the Global Trilateral MBA (GTMBA) program at Howard University began their travel to Accra, Ghana on Friday, March 8 for a week-long, immersive, global experience working as business consultants to two Ghanaian companies, including Chocolate Clothes, a Ghanaian fashion company whose Founder and CEO, Kwaku Bediako, has designed for international and American stars alike. .
“The mission of our program is to connect students at multiple institutions through a consulting project that allows them to work side by side as global business consultants,” says Curtis Kidd Telemaque, Ph.D., adjunct faculty member for Howard University School of Business and one of two faculty members accompanying the students to Ghana.
The GTMBA Certificate program is held in partnership with MBA students from the Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) in Beijing, China. As part of the Global Management Consulting curriculum, Howard students spend the semester completing coursework, but they also work with a team of their peers at a designated university abroad to complete pro-bono consulting projects with domestic and international businesses. Howard students will be joined in Ghana by a team of students from CUFE. There, the students will work together to provide a comprehensive assessment of Chocolate Clothes that includes an overhaul of its marketing and e-commerce strategies, as well as recommendations on supply chain, organizational structure, and financial management.
“The Howard University School of Business is thrilled that the Global Trilateral program will travel to the Republic of Ghana in West Africa,” says Barron H. Harvey, Ph.D. dean of Howard University School of Business. “This global student tour, in partnership with Central University of Finance and Economics of Beijing, China, gives our students another unique business and cultural experience that will provide them with a global perspective and aid them in their future careers.”
The trip comes at a significant time as the Ghana Tourism Authority has declared 2019, the “Year of Return” in recognition of the 400th year since the first enslaved African arrived in Jamestown, Va., the period known as the Middle Passage. During their trip, students will have the opportunity to experience Ghanaian culture and connect with students and faculty at The University of Ghana, where they will present their global consulting project to up to 1,000 students.
“While we didn’t realize at first that we would be doing this trip during the ‘Year of Return,’ it is significant,” says Kidd Telemaque. “The faculty at the University of Ghana are very excited about the visit from Howard students and really see our students as the returnees, coming back to Africa, and are very supportive of the fact that the trip is centered around one of one of their own companies.”
In addition to providing consulting services to Chocolate Clothing, the GTMBA students will also work with Home Energy Africa, a renewable energy company headquartered in West Africa. The students have a robust itinerary which includes the study tour, several cultural excursions to landmark sites, a day-long visit at the University of Ghana, and an evening hosted by fashion designer Bediako at his vacation home.
“The GTMBA program operates less like a graduate level class and more like a live consulting engagement,” says Corey Lipsey, an MBA student in the GTMBA program preparing for the trip to Ghana. “The clients are looking for tangible solutions to the challenges they face every day. I can’t wait to meet the people, eat the food, see the landmarks, and create lasting memories.”
Like many of the students in the program, Lipsey wants to continue working with international companies after graduating from the program.
“When someone says ‘global business,’ most people think of enormous multinational corporations,” Lipsey continues. “But the truth is, small and medium sized businesses are benefiting the most from our increasingly connected world. After I complete the GTMBA program, my hope is that I’ll be able to help international companies continue to grow by giving them the tools and expertise they need to be successful.”