Dear MBA Students, Alumni, and Faculty,

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends and are staying warm! We are looking forward to welcoming you back for the spring 2024 semester. With a total of 217 students, the MBA program continues to be the largest on-site graduate program at UNR. We are grateful that this newsletter can focus on the accomplishments of the program.

MBA Student Spotlight

We are so excited to spotlight two of our current MBA students and GSA council members – Priscillar Banda and Emmaculate Kipyesang!

1. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, your career, and why you chose to pursue an MBA?

Headshot of Priscillar Simon BandaI'm Priscillar Simon Banda, and I've always aspired to change narratives and make a positive impact. Currently, I'm the Database Specialist (GPA) at the Northern Nevada International Center, where I'm developing a client management software. My career has been diverse, from serving as a Technical Advisor for UN agencies like UNAIDS to founding Zamstores, a tech company in Zambia. I chose to pursue an MBA to deepen my knowledge in tech and business domains, aligning with my goal of driving innovation and positive change.

2. What professional goals do you have in mind once you complete the MBA?

Upon completing my MBA, my professional goals revolve around launching a tech hub in Zambia in 2024. This hub aims to nurture tech talent, provide training and mentorship, and ultimately contribute to Zambia's tech industry growth, akin to Silicon Valley.

3. What have you found most rewarding about your educational journey?

I've found the support and environment within the College of Business to be truly transformative. It has made Nevada feel like home, and the challenges have facilitated my personal and professional growth. The level of support from faculty and staff has been life-changing, enabling me to expand my horizons and make a meaningful impact. The rich network and community is quite an experience.

1. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, your career, and why you chose to pursue an MBA?

Headshot of Emmaculate chepkosgei KipyesangMy name is Emmaculate chepkosgei Kipyesang from Kenya, a seasoned hospitality and tourism manger, consultant and entrepreneur. Throughout my career spanning over 10 years, I have held various leadership positions, managing hotels, serving on boards, and leading associations. My journey has been marked by a commitment to continuous learning and improvement, evident in my educational pursuits.

I chose to pursue an MBA to deepen my strategic and managerial skills, enabling me to navigate the dynamic business landscape effectively. This decision aligns with my passion for entrepreneurship, management, and governance including advocacy for women and girls.

2. What professional goals do you have in mind once you complete the MBA?

Upon completing my MBA, I aspire to leverage my enhanced skills and knowledge to make significant contributions to the business world. I aim to lead and drive initiatives at the intersection of entrepreneurship, governance, sustainable business practices, and women's empowerment. Specifically, I envision taking on executive roles where I can influence organizational strategy, foster innovation, and contribute to the positive impact of businesses on both the industry and society. My goal is to lead purpose-driven projects that align with my values and create lasting value for stakeholders.

3. What have you found most rewarding about your educational journey?

The most rewarding aspect of my educational journey has been the opportunity to acquire a diverse skill set and knowledge base. From my Bachelor's in Tourism Management to my Master's in Project Planning and Management, and now pursuing an MBA, each step has equipped me with valuable insights and competencies. The exposure to areas such as project management, conflict resolution, and entrepreneurship has been instrumental in shaping my multifaceted approach to business challenges.

Furthermore, the continuous learning experiences, including leadership training at prestigious institutions like Babson College and the Mandela Washington Fellowship, have been invaluable. These experiences have not only honed my professional skills but have also expanded my network and global perspective.

In summary, my educational journey has been a rewarding journey of self-improvement, enabling me to contribute meaningfully to the industries I am passionate about business, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development.

Priscillar and Emmaculate were both part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship in 2022. The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and local community engagement. YALI was created in 2010 and supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across the African continent. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Young African Leaders Initiative.

Through the College of Business and Northern Nevada International Center, the University has hosted 175 Mandela Washington Fellows for the Leadership in Business Institute since 2015.

Since 2014, nearly 5,100 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship. The Fellows, between the ages of 25 and 35, are accomplished leaders and have established records of promoting innovation and positive impact in their communities and countries. In 2022, the Fellowship will provide 700 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home.

Thank you for all your contributions, Priscillar and Emmaculate!

Congratulations, MBA Class of 2023!

Our alumni family grew by 24 this past winter. Congratulations to all our UNR MBA graduates. You have done an amazing job through these challenging times. Your grit, determination, and resilience will take you far!

Welcome New MBA Students!

Introducing the class profile, we are thrilled to welcome 68 new MBA students into the program. The group has an average of 12 years of work experience to draw on as they move through the program, and three have already completed an advanced degree or have earned a professional certification. We are also proud to welcome an international student from Bangladesh!

On behalf of the College of Business and MBA team, we wish you a healthy and productive spring semester!

Kambiz Raffiee, PhD
Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research
Director of MBA Programs
The College of Business