Co-Founder, The Conscious Connect
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background:
I was born and raised in Cameroon. I moved to the United States as a young kid and grew up in Dallas, Texas. I went to high school in State College, Pennsylvania, and then attended Wittenberg University for undergrad. I have been working with different nonprofits since I left college. In 2015, I helped co-found a nonprofit called The Conscious Connect, which is dedicated to improving literacy in “urban book deserts” in the Greater Miami Valley area.
Why did you decide to pursue your master’s?
Going back to get my master’s has been something I have wanted to do for a long time. I considered law school or public administration since I have a political science/economics background, but ended up deciding to pursue an MBA. When I started The Conscious Connect, I realized quickly that even nonprofits need a business plan. Earning an MBA will not only enable me to help my nonprofit succeed, but it will also give me a diverse set of business skills for the future.
What made you decide to choose the University of Dayton’s MBA program?
I am very familiar with UD because they have partnered with my organization for book drives and service projects in the past, so it felt like a natural fit. It was also very similar to my undergrad in that it values leadership and being of service to your community. I wanted to choose a program that would be convenient for me and flexible since my schedule can be unpredictable and demanding. It’s been a good choice for me. The things I’m learning are things that I can apply right away.
What has been your experience collaborating with classmates in an online environment?
I did have some hesitations about doing an online program because it wasn’t something that I had a lot of experience with. I was afraid I would lose the personal touch that I was hoping to get from a program. It can take some adjusting, but it’s been much more representative of a real classroom experience than I expected. There are also some benefits to doing an online program. The ability to go back and rewatch my classes is really valuable, and the flexibility is so key. I can literally be in my car listening to classes if I need to.
How will this degree move you closer to your long-term career goals?
My career is self-driven, so earning my MBA will give me the fundamental skills I need to move my organization and business ambitions forward. For me, this is so much more than just getting the letters behind my name. Being able to run my organization effectively will help me make a difference in my community. Also, sharing some of the skills I’ve learned with my greater community is of the utmost importance to me, so an MBA isn’t so much focused on moving my career forward as much as it is intended to move my community forward.
How has MBA@Dayton’s focus on servant leadership influenced the way you approach business?
For me, it was really important to find a program that aligned with my ideology. UD’s reputation and rigor are important to me, but having a program that values service was so important to me. UD does a good job of helping you understand as you grow in your career and in life what servant leadership can look like at different levels.
What was it like meeting and connecting with your classmates in person at your first immersion?
If I got nothing else out of the immersion, the connection that I have with my group would be worth it. We all come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives on life and how to approach the work we have to do. I have learned as much from them as I have from some of the classes!