Kelley MBAs Doing Pro-Bono Work in Peru

For two weeks each spring semester, MBA students at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business have the opportunity to complete a consulting project for non-profit or small for-profit enterprises which serve local market needs in an emerging economy.

As part of the school’s Global Business and Social Enterprise (GLOBASE) initiative, 30 students traveled to Peru and combined their international experience with leadership development. Profiled this week in USA Today, the two-year-old GLOBASE program enabled these students to complete a pro-bono consulting project for four small companies and a not-for-profit enterprise while getting course credits toward their degree.

“What GLOBASE does for our program is not just provide an experience that furthers their education in international business, but it also is an experience that furthers their education in leadership,” said Philip Powell, chair of the Kelley School’s Full-time MBA program, in a news release.

“Typically in a top MBA program, you’d separate the leadership education from the global education. We’re going to fuse that together. That’s what makes this really innovative.”

Completed as a 1.5 credit hour course, students use class time during the first seven week period of the spring semester to prepare for the experience. Kelley tentatively plans to expand the GLOBASE program to Ghana and India in Spring 2011 while preserving its presence in Peru.

MBA students developed the initiative in 2008 to help small businesses in developing countries become successful and sustainable, which, in turn, will generate employment and further development in those communities. At the same time, GLOBASE provides students an opportunity to apply their business knowledge to real-world, international business challenges.

Students call the experience life-changing when they witness the value they provide to small businesses in a developing country. If you’d like to learn more about the GLOBASE Peru trip, you can check out the group’s blog at http://iuglobaseperu.blogspot.com/.

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