MBA skills for developing countries – Doing social good as well as economic good
Peter Popena is currently on Bradford University School of Management’s Accelerated MBA. He has come to the UK from Papua New Guinea on a scholarship programme and will return to his environment management role to undertake his MBA project in the summer, just eight months after starting the programme.
I am from Papua New Guinea, which is a developing country in the South Pacific with a population of 7.5m. My employer, Steamships Trading Company, is part of an international company called Swire and I was lucky enough to be selected for a scholarship to do an MBA in the UK, jointly funded by the company and the British Council.
I have got 19 years experience specialising in environmental management in the petroleum, palm oil, gold mining and other industries. I joined Steamships Trading Company as Group Health, Safety, Security and Environment Manager a year ago and am responsible for auditing, coordinating with and advising the various different divisions of the company. We work in the road transport, IT, shipping, food manufacturing, real estate and hotel industries and are a major player in Papua New Guinea’s economy.
An MBA for social good
I wanted to do an MBA to help me develop my overall understanding of business strategy with a view to moving into an executive management role. I also want to be able to contribute meaningfully to the development of Papua New Guinea and help formulate policy that will ensure that environmental protection is a priority.
An MBA that makes a difference quickly
When I researched MBA programmes in the UK, I was attracted to Bradford University School of Management for a number of reasons. Firstly, I was impressed by the School’s reputation and ranking in the UK and internationally. The facilities also looked fantastic. The Accelerated MBA was ideal for me because my employer had agreed to sponsor and pay me during my time studying in the UK and it meant I could get back to work in Papua New Guinea within 10 months.
An MBA with sustainability and sustainable development at its heart
However, my main reason for choosing the Bradford MBA over the others that I looked at in the UK was the School’s focus on sustainability in its research and teaching. Sustainability used to just be about environmental management – now it is relevant to every aspect of business and society – and I strongly believe that economic development and environmental protection should go hand in hand. Doing the Bradford MBA is a fantastic opportunity for both me and my home country to build stronger international links and gain greater understanding of sustainable development.
An MBA that gets you back into learning
After 19 years out of the classroom, the first few weeks of a full time MBA were tough, especially moving to a different country. However, the staff and my fellow classmates have been very welcoming and I have received a lot of support. As the weeks go by, I am becoming much more comfortable with learning again and am getting a lot out of the experience that I look forward to taking back to my home country.