As of this evening, I will officially begin a two and a half year program to complete my MBA through the evening program at Goizueta Business School at Emory. This has been a dream of mine for some time now, but I must admit that it hasn’t always been for the right reasons. Whether it was to receive the acclaim, approval, or attention of others, I can assure you that it wasn’t out of obedience to God.
So, now that I have decided to make the leap, I often receive the question, “Why?” This is a fair question that I would ask of anyone considering postgraduate work, and there are 100 different answers to this question. I’d like to share my answer with you today, not as a justification but simply as an explanation for why I see this investment to be worthwhile. Maybe this will be an encouragement to some of you trying to decide if more traditional education is in your future.
1. Model our values of lifelong learning and personal growth within CARE for AIDS. Despite the demands on my time, I want the entire organization to know that continued development is a non-negotiable. I hope it will inspire and challenge others to pursue traditional or non-traditional ways to continue to grow and develop.
2. Over the past few years, I have consumed information through books, conferences, and wise mentors, but only rarely has that learning come as a result of dialogue with my peers. I’m excited to join a diverse learning community to discuss ideas, solve problems, and learn from other’s experiences.
3. There are gaps in my knowledge that business school can best fill: accounting, finance, marketing, etc. On the job training has taught me many invaluable lessons that could never be learned in a classroom. However, there are some foundational skills that would better equip me to lead CARE for AIDS going forward.
4. Build lasting relationships with up and coming leaders throughout Atlanta. My classmates are emerging leaders in our city, and I want to surround myself with people who are influencing business, politics, and the social sector.
5. Be in the minority to learn from a variety fields and disciplines and discover how to apply that learning in a nonprofit context. Only about 5% of my class will be coming from the nonprofit sector. I want to seek truth and knowledge wherever it can be found and use it to help nonprofits achieve greater impact and influence.
6. Traditional education is more highly regarded in Kenya than here in the U.S. I want to continue to earn the trust and respect of the people I lead in Kenya by pursuing this degree.
7. Lastly, I believe that my capacity to learn and grow will determine my capacity to lead. If I become stagnant, then the organization will do likewise. As we experience unprecedented growth, I want to be prepared to lead CARE for AIDS into the next phase of impact. I have never been more confident and enthusiastic about the vision of CARE for AIDS and the direction God is leading us.
I am excited for the challenge that lies ahead, but I ask for your prayers as I am also about to embark on the journey of fatherhood. I look forward to sharing my notes with you from school, and by no means does this replace my need for wise counselors in my life. Thanks to all of you who have served in that capacity.