Nov 052012

By: Amadou Cisse, EMBA

Are you ready to change the world?
We are.

As if I did not have enough to do in a very challenging yet rewarding Executive MBA Program at Smith, I volunteered for an opportunity of lifetime.  The Center for Social Value Creation presented me a chance few students get while in school: making a difference in the life of many.

Entering its seventh year, the Social Venture Consulting program pairs business students with nonprofit organizations.  The students, including yours truly, work over several weeks to provide advice in areas such as finance, marketing, operations, and strategic planning.  The projects feature opportunities to assist with issues ranging from green business marketing in Bethesda, MD to agriculture in Ecuador.  Since I have a great interest for the latter, I submitted my application and was selected on the team with Adrian and Joanna, two Part-Time MBA students.

Image care of the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture

We will assist The Institute for Self-Reliant Agriculture (SRA), an international nonprofit organization that teaches families small-scale agricultural techniques to provide sufficient and balanced nutrition to their families.  The organization is expanding, and with its sole emphasis on major gifts from large donors, SRA needs assistance in fundraising and marketing for the next five years.

As part of our discovery process Joanna and I traveled to Ibarra (in northern Ecuador) from October 25th to 29th to fine tune the messaging of the story of SRA, with the goal of making it more appealing to potential donors. We’ll be working on crafting a story of healthier children and families, university and local government support, and the difference SRA makes in the lives of others. What kind of impactful account will we witness? Stay tuned for our progress…


Amadou Cisse, originally from Mali, is an EMBA candidate currently working as a contractor in the federal government providing program management services.  He has an environmental engineering background and has dedicated his career to programs focused on strategic planning and maintaining community sustainability.  Amadou’s long-term goal is to become one of the world leaders in sustainability and development by implementing sound natural resources management and capacity building to address urban and rural poverty.

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