Skip to Main Content
News@Ivey · Communications

Five years of the Ubuntu Management Education Initiative

Jun 20, 2016


A class at St. Augustine University in Mwanza, Tanzania

Photo by Serena Virani, HBA '17

Associate Professor Nicole Haggerty has always had a place in her heart for Africa.

Five years ago she spearheaded the Ubuntu Management Education Initiative at Ivey, a program that sends HBA students to African universities to demonstrate case teaching right in the classroom.

The idea was born from Haggerty’s passion for the developing continent paired with Ivey Publishing’s 39 Country Initiative, which makes business cases available at no charge to the least developed countries around the world.

The 39 Country Initiative was a start, but instead of just offering free cases, why not show students how to use them, too?

Ubuntu, a South African word common across several African cultures, describes a spirit of interconnectedness, humanness, and mutuality. Meaning “I am what I am because of who we are”, Ubuntu was the perfect name for the program.

Sharing their experience

During their four weeks in Africa, HBA students blogged about their experience with the Ubuntu Management Education Initiative. They shared stories about the unique countries they lived in, the students they taught, and the experiences that changed their lives.

Sarah Reeve, HBA ’17, who taught in Ghana, wrote about how different the students’ perspectives were compared to her own, which made for interesting case discussions.

“Most lessons plans have been hard to stick to, as the students have drawn implications and brought up issues we had not initially thought of,” she wrote. “We have learned a lot from our students, which will contribute to the well-rounded international business perspective we will return to Canada with.”

Ivey’s Case-Method of Learning was new for the students in these schools, but they picked it up quickly and enthusiastically.

“The case method, and active contribution, is something that makes the students very excited and engaged,” Reeve wrote. “One day, even after we had finished the class, there were students in the room still debating their decision for the day’s case. This passion and interest is incredible to see and supports why using real-life business cases is so effective.”

“Many students have also told us how helpful the case method has been, and how different it is from their other courses,” Jasmine Hon wrote. She’s also an HBA ’17 who taught in Ghana. “The common takeaway among them was that case learning has helped them make solid decisions and justify their opinions, which would be valuable for any future career. All of them have such bright futures, and I am excited for them.”

Ubuntu Stats