Global Consulting Practicum Students Improve Namibian Health Care Outcomes

Sandstorm while driving from Swakopmund to Walfish Bay, Namibia. By asco, via Wikimedia Commons

Written by Santosh Nair, WG’14,  a Sr. Director in the Consulting Practice of GEP Worldwide 

The colors on the Namibian national flag symbolize important natural and human characteristics of Namibia: sunlight and the desert (yellow), rain and the ocean (blue), crops and vegetation (green), the bloodshed in war (red), and peace and reconciliation (white). And these are your first impressions of the when you deplane at Windhoek airport in Namibia. Warm fresh air swirls around the open
swathes of land and every single individual has a beaming smile, eager to share their culture and to learn from the visitors. Our Wharton GCP (Global Consulting Practicum) team visited Namibia recently to help a client improve rural healthcare delivery outcomes and to develop a replicable model for other Sub-Saharan countries.

The GCP is an elective in which Wharton full-time MBA and EMBA students are teamed with business students at partner universities around the world to consult for a company or organization. Many of
these projects involve social impact endeavors with governments and nonprofits. My team of six Wharton Philadelphia EMBA students was assigned to work for the Geneva Global Group (our client)
on a project in Namibia, aimed at collaboratively designing intervention programs to improve rural healthcare outcomes. The project is also co-sponsored by the Wharton Program for Social Impact and
HEC. Our team coalesced around this project since it would a great opportunity to work with a diverse international group and to make a meaningful contribution to a great cause, potentially impacting millions of people.

Working with a team of students from HEC Paris, we established a cross-continent project governance approach that enabled us to manage full-time jobs, academic requirements and time zone differences, while we tapped into the vast pool of talent available on the team. The GCP team had representatives from sectors as varied as healthcare, consulting, investment banking, insurance, technology, etc. and nationalities as diverse as American, French, German, Spanish, Iranian, Brazilian and Indian. This team along with the faculty advisors from Wharton and HEC, and client team members collaborated on an overall project approach in the Dec-Jan timeframe, and visited the country in late January to test our previous research.

Originally published on Wharton GCP site, June 10, 2014.

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