8/3/15 – This guest post is written by Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA student Charles Jeza, the Co-Founder and CEO of Yukos Hospital, based in his hometown of Nairobi, Kenya. Their business model is a for-profit private hospital with a foundation offering fistula care based on a percentage of profits and partner donations.
As part of this MBA program, I have experienced important learning both in the classroom as well as in the field. For class, I learned how to create a Business Plan and present business ideas to potential investors. In the class setting the “investors” were the judges in what we called “Line of Fire” sessions. This helped me a lot in the field; I was always prepared meeting up with all the potential partners for Yukos Hospital. In a meeting with the top management of the NGO Project C.U.R.E. at their headquarters in Denver, I had answers to all the questions that were posed to me at the drop of a hat. This impressed everyone in the management team and I got the feeling that I was more than prepared for them. Looking back, working on the business plan in detail, from the beginning to the end, enabled me to answer questions and give explanations about the business, the history of the hospital, current and future plans, and financial projections.
In addition to the coursework, a core component of the GSSE MBA is the summer practicum requirement to validate propositions, which for me did not require travel since I started the hospital in 2014. One thing I learned by working on getting the hospital operational, which I couldn’t have ever really learned in class, is that the biggest challenge to starting any business is that no matter how focused you will be on it, everything will end up changing in due course as a result of factors such as compliance issues, laws, financial requirements, obligations etc. I believe no class training can prepare you for that kind of business reality; you just get to experience it out there.