Working hand-in-hand with scholars in the Urban Expansion program, NYU Stern MBA students are assisting the Ethiopian city of Hawassa as officials there prepare for rapid urban growth. A recent story in the Financial Times provides an overview of the project and a glimpse of the unique experience on offer in Stern's MBA program:
For Ria Tobaccowala, a Chicago native studying in New York, arriving in the fast-growing southern Ethiopian city of Hawassa was a revelation.
“The first plants are going up, the first airport is being constructed and the first non-dirt roads are being built,” she says. “Seeing how that’s impacting people’s lives was eye-opening.”
Tobaccowala, who is studying for a dual MBA/MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree at New York University, had spent the previous three months working with four classmates on a strategic plan to protect a swath of land in Hawassa, 175 miles south of Addis Ababa, the capital. Their objective was to shield Hawassa’s lake from dangerous pollutants, create a public park and bolster local infrastructure to support the city’s expansion.
When the team arrived in April, Tobaccowala and her teammates had just a week to finish their proposal before sharing their ideas with Pewodros Gebiba, the city’s mayor.