Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kelley Direct Online MBA Students Explore Emerging Markets in South Africa

Phil Powell, Faculty Chair of Kelley Direct

Africa offers opportunity, and that is why I am here with Dean Ash Soni, Professor Jamie Prenkert, and Kelley Direct’s executive director Terrill Cosgray, and 17 online MBA students from our program.  I teach MBA students to look not just at, but beyond the horizon, and in twenty years, Sub-Saharan Africa will be booming like China and India. 

For two days, we have had great sessions led by faculty from GIBS (University of Pretoria’s award winning business school – www.gibs.ac.za) briefing us on the peculiarities of business in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Ethnic diversity, political risk, and selling to markets “at the bottom of the pyramid” are topics of special emphasis in these emerging markets. 

Tomorrow we head to Alexandra Township to help family enterprises identify small improvements they can make in their business models.  The township is a poor community scarred by the racial discrimination of Apartheid, but it is full of new public investment and private entrepreneurship.  The consulting experience will make real the challenges and opportunities of small business in South Africa and hone the executive mindset of our online MBA students.

This trip marks a renewed emphasis of Kelley Direct on executive leadership education and management literacy within emerging markets.  Such an opportunity would not typically be associated with an online MBA program, but thirteen years of online MBA teaching experience place Kelley Direct as a global market leader in curricular innovation.  As Kelley Direct’s new faculty chair, I am proud to help lead this charge.     

- Phil Powell, Faculty Chair of Kelley Direct

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