Four MBAs Receive 2018-19 Skip and Carrie Gordon Scholarships
Business+Impact (B+I) is pleased to announce that Tim Carter (MBA), Apoorva Kanneganti (MBA), Christopher Owen (MBA/MS), and Nathan Stevens (MBA) are the recipients of the 2018-19 Skip and Carrie Gordon Scholarships for outstanding commitment to solving complex social challenges. The award comes with $7,500 for each recipient. Gordon Scholars serve as B+I Student Ambassadors for the 2018-19 academic year.
Learn more about each of them by reading highlights from their essays:
I was five years old when I first developed a passion for social impact. While watching television with my father, an advertisement aired depicting the devastating effects of the Somali famine, including starving children, dead livestock, and scorched earth. A number flashed on the screen so viewers could call and donate funds to support the relief efforts. I grabbed a pen and yelled, “Dad! Write this number down. We have to do something!”
I was studying mechanical engineering and searching for a way to use my education to solve social challenges. I discovered an organization called Engineers Without Borders. I immediately signed up for their next trip to a remote village in Cameroon, where we were partnering with the local community to develop a sustainable source of clean water. After graduation, I moved to Africa to continue working on clean water solutions for people living in remote areas.
After working in Kenya, I realized I needed a stronger foundation in environmental engineering to be able to tackle the severe water shortage. I returned to Detroit to pursue a Master of Science focused on Sustainable Engineering / Water Resources.
While my work in humanitarian aid was impactful, I also realized that business can be a much more powerful force for positive change in the world. It was for this reason that I decided to pursue an MBA at the University of Michigan. My plan is to leverage my newfound business knowledge to help alleviate poverty in a manner that is environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable for future generations.
At Ross, I joined the Board Fellowship Program to utilize my business education to assist a local nonprofit. I was fortunate to get placed with Ten Thousand Villages, a fair-trade retailer focused on providing living wages for artisans in developing countries. I was also able to join the high school mentorship program through Detroit R&B. Upon arriving at Ross, I worked with another MBA student to create Wolverine Disaster Relief club and provide an avenue for students to get involved in disaster relief. We sent volunteer teams to Puerto Rico, Houston, and Coastal Bend, Texas last year.
Finally, the coursework at Ross has helped prepare me for a life of impact. I have focused my electives around learning how to leverage business to make a difference in the world. I am also pursuing the Sustainability Concentration to further focus my studies on social impact.
From the United States Senate to farms in Afghanistan and markets in Mosul, I have dedicated my career to public service. As the grandson of Holocaust survivors and the son of the Director for the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the value of doing well for other less fortunate or able was not a choice but an expectation.
Following graduation from Yale, I went to work for Senator Carl Levin (Michigan) in Washington DC, focusing on agricultural, environmental, and transportation issues affecting Michigan residents. This led me to a small firm focused on stabilization and peaceful transitions from countries emerging from conflict. There, I led programmatic start-ups in Libya, Tunisia, and Lebanon.
Though I loved my work, I recognized that the government and aid sectors approach to development was short-sighted. Rigid funding vehicles and limited donor objectives were not scalable, too regulated, and too narrow, in timeline and scope. My experiences in conflict and post-conflict settings showed me the need for more durable, powerful, market-based solutions which, in turn, led me to business school. Following Ross, my goal is to drive catalytic changes in emerging markets through the thoughtful investment of capital to grow enterprises. I see impact investing as the most exciting and effective combination of my passion for helping others by utilizing the monumental forces of business and hope to one day run my own impact venture capital fund.
At Ross, I have focused my electives on forming the base of technical skills necessary for a career in investment in emerging markets. This includes offerings in Valuation, Corporate Financial Reporting, and Financing the Sustainable Enterprise. Beyond academics, I have deeply involved myself in the school’s unique offerings, from participating in a MAP program supporting business mentorship for entrepreneurs in southern India to leading investments for the Social Venture Fund. , I am also a member of the Emerging Markets Club and the Wolverine Disaster Relief Fund, along with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council
Prior to joining the University of Michigan community, I co-founded three social impact start-ups—a community garden in the heart of a marginalized urban neighborhood in Milwaukee, a financial planning firm that served low-income families who were unable to afford the high cost of college for their children, and a non-profit community center in Manzini, Swaziland, which shelters and empowers young women who have been the victims of human trafficking.
I then joined the U.S. Peace Corps in Ecuador as a volunteer. For three years I served as a business development consultant and Regional Volunteer Leader.
Knowing that I needed to strengthen my analytical skillset and equip myself with frameworks for scaling the impact of organizations, I chose to return to graduate school. Selecting Ross was an obvious choice. The first time I entered the Ross building, I stood below a 30-foot banner which said, “Positive impact lives here.”
The Ross Business+Impact community inspires and challenges me. Along with my focus on my Erb degree in sustainability and business, I joined both the Ross MBA Student Council DEI Committee and the Rackham DEI Certificate Program. Shortly after the completion of Ross Open Road I departed for India, where, as a WDI Global Impact Fellow. I am also working with an interdisciplinary team of five Dow Fellows to provide a report on the importance of vegetative buffers in vulnerable neighborhoods for Detroit Councilwoman Castandena-Lopez of District 6. All of these experiences at Ross have equipped me as a more capable social impact change-agent.
Growing up, my father impressed on us the fact that our privileged childhood was the direct result of generous volunteers who helped him escape extreme poverty in rural India. During regular interactions with Minneapolis’s underserved populations, met Iman, a refugee immigrant from Somalia. I worked with my sister to enlist the help of a family friend, a doctor, to organize a day-long, free medical camp providing health screenings, flu shots, and dental check-ups for Iman’s community. We provided care to 200 and referred 50 for follow-up visits at free clinics. We then replicated the medical camp for immigrant populations in Rochester, MN.
In college, I established bi-annual Community Engagement events as Vice President of a cultural student group where we volunteered with Ronald McDonald House, Post-graduation, as a Junior Board member of the Erie Family Health Center, I saw the benefits of supplementing medical care with wellness programs like nutrition education.
At Ross, I hoped to gain the international, healthcare, entrepreneurial, and social impact experiences to begin exploring this goal. Immediately after my MBA, I plan to go to Deloitte Consulting, with the hope of transitioning into the global healthcare practice. Long-term, I plan to leverage my Ross and Deloitte professional experiences to start a company that teaches providers how to use sustainable healthcare technologies to reach remote communities.
During my time at Ross, I made it a goal to participate in as many experiences as possible so as to see and deliver a breadth of social impact. As an MBA1, I worked with the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund (PALF) through Emerging Markets Club. It has allowed us to explore zones of opportunity, as I am learning in Aneel Karnani’s Business in Society class. I have also been able to see how social impact varies within the U.S., through my internship with Mission Throttle, a social impact consulting/investing firm in Michigan and Ross Open Road, where I traveled across the U.S. to work with various social enterprises.
Furthermore, I worked with Jerry Davis to facilitate the Impact Charette this past summer, guiding executives and SMEs in a day-long workshop to explore how we can incentivize investment dollars to social impact. As the President of Give-A-Day-Fund, I feel proud to be a part of the incentive for students, by providing financial assistance so students can at least be encouraged to explore social impact.