Editor's Note: The winner of the 2012 Global Business School Network MBA Challenge Video Contest was a group from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (USA). The MBA Challenge asked business school students: Can business education change the world? One of the winning team members, Jacqueline Stein (MBA ’13), shares the project that inspired their video.
During my MBA studies at the Tuck School of Business, I have been fortunate to work on the $300 House project. The goal of the project is to provide sustainable housing for people who need it most, and use this secure housing as a stepping stone to combat the poverty trap. Recently, the project has focused on Haiti.
The project is the epitome of collaboration as 18 students, several Dartmouth professors, engineers and architects from around the world, and community leaders in Haiti have worked together for more than two years to bring the $300 House project to life. Teams of professors and students have visited rural towns in both India and Haiti to better understand the situation.
Last spring, I travelled with a team of six students and professors to a rural town in Haiti called Fond des Blancs. This small town, accessible by dirt road only, is home to 5,000 Haitians. The average family size is eight people and the average family income is $65USD per month per household. That equates to $1.09 per person per month, well below the poverty line. During our visit, we met with some of these families and community leaders to better understand the situation. We shared the architecture plans during a town hall meeting and received feedback from the community.
From these visits and continued joint efforts by the entire team, we have been able to apply the skills we have learned at Tuck to make an impact in Haiti. We have devised a roadmap to build 100 houses in Fond des Blanc over five years, allowing the project to scale up in a sustainable way. Plans are currently being finalized to construct a prototype house in Fond des Blancs during the coming months.
(Check out the winning video below):
The Tuck MBA has provided the business education and tools my classmates and I needed to see this project through to make an impact on thousands of people’s lives. The strategies and creative thinking we have learned at business school has helped us approach this problem from different, non-traditional angles. Furthermore, the teamwork and leadership skills we mastered during our first year of business school have allowed us to effectively work together with the various stakeholders involved. Interacting daily with such a diverse community at Tuck prepared us for the interactions we had with construction companies from Haiti, Mexico, and India, architects from around the world, and the citizens of Haiti. This has been a truly rewarding project for everyone involved.
Going into its third year in 2013, the MBA Challenge Video Contest is no longer just for MBAs! The “MBA+ Challenge” welcomes video submissions from students and recent graduates in business, management and entrepreneurship programs around the globe showing how they are using their business education to make a difference in the developing world. The MBA Challenge Video Contest will open for submissions March 1 – 31. Online voting, from April 1 – 14 will determine the top 5 finalists, who will then be submitted to a panel of judges to determine the winners. The first place winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to Tunis, Tunisia for one person to present their video at the GBSN 2012 Annual Conference. For more information, visit www.gbsnonline.org/mbachallenge.
Jacqueline Stein is a student at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University.