On the morning of March 5 in Low Library Rotunda, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein unveiled the 10,000 Women project, a $100 million initiative from his firm’s charitable arm that will provide business and management education to ten thousand underserved women over the next five years.
Columbia Business School, along with other leading business schools worldwide, will be a partner in this venture, helping to enhance curriculum, faculty and case study resources in developing regions of the world.
Building upon its established relationships with United States International University (USIU) in Kenya and the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in Tanzania, CBS will begin by strengthening faculty training in Africa through curriculum and case study development, Columbia faculty visits and the creation of new certificate programs in entrepreneurship and management.
“Our mission as a business school is to send our faculty and students… to help with teaching, case development and research, but also to bring something back here: a sense of what is possible, a sense of… exciting business opportunities that delight our students from around the world,” Dean Glenn Hubbard said of the School’s global education outreach strategy.
“This is part of a larger effort for [CBS] around the world, in India, Latin America, China and elsewhere,” he said, “but I would assert that there’s something particularly special about this locus. Private sector development in economies of Africa is a time-honored engine of economic growth but also… of social well-being.”
CBS has been ramping up its involvement in the African business community over the past few years, and in fall 2007 launched the Entrepreneurship in Africa Master Class, featuring on-site student consulting projects and production of a case study on the Nigerian technology company Computer Warehouse Group.
In spring 2008, CBS students will develop local and international marketing strategies and a business analysis of the market potential for high-value crops in Rwanda.
Following the initial five-year collaboration with Goldman, the School’s goals include assisting USIU and UDSM in all areas of business education, focusing on entrepreneurship and finance programs, and providing expanded non-degree programs for local entrepreneurs, especially women.
“This is just the beginning. We hope over time to work with other schools and organizations to obtain our goal of 10,000 women over 5 years,” said Blankfein, who noted that Goldman’s plans for the initiative also include developing partnerships to help disadvantaged women in the U.S.; boosting quality and capacity in global partner schools; and dedicating the time of Goldman Sachs employees to pro-bono projects ranging from classroom instruction to mentorship.
Blankfein commented that the 10,000 Women initiative is a symbol of his firm’s pursuit of global economic growth and robust markets.
“We have this expression at Goldman Sachs where we say ‘we follow GDP around the world.’ But the fact of the matter is, we not only follow it, we also try to create it,” he said.
“[When you] start the trek towards bringing women up just to the level of men in these countries that we’re talking about, you see how much GDP gets added on per dollar of investment. Frankly, to people like ourselves, it’s irresistible.”