BOSTON (October 7, 2011) — Simmons School of Management Student Obiageli Ukadike was featured in the Boston Business Journal as an "MBA All-Star," October 7. Ukadike discussed her "lifelong goal of helping people" through her work to build and run vocational boarding schools for teens with disabilities in Ghana. She also spoke about her Simmons education, saying it's "propelling me in places where I really needed to be."
Boston Business Journalby Linda Goodspeed, Special to the Journal
October 7, 2011
Obiageli Ukadike knew she had found the right MBA program when she saw two of the concentrations at Simmons College were nonprofit management and entrepreneurship.
"It was an ideal fit," said Ukadike. "My dream is to be a serial entrepreneur, but in the nonprofit world."
Ukadike, 28, is already on her way.
Last year, she and two others co-founded a Boston-based nonprofit called the WaWa Project. Ukadike hopes to use the nonprofit to build and run vocational boarding schools for teens with disabilities in Ghana. She said ‘WaWa' is a symbol of toughness to the native people of that West African nation.
Ukadike's own heritage is Nigerian. She was born in New Jersey, the third of five children, to a Nigerian father and American mother. After moving briefly back to Nigeria, the family settled in a small town in Georgia. Ukadike moved to Boston 10 years ago to attend Boston College. She graduated in 2005 with a degree in psychology.
"My goal in life is to help people," she said. "I thought I might be a child psychologist."
After college she worked in youth ministry, at the Perkins School for the Blind and at Lindamood Bell, a specialized learning program for children with cognitive disabilities. In 2008, she got a job as education coordinator at the Harvard Catalyst Clinical and Translational Science center at Harvard Medical School.
In November 2010, she incorporated the WaWa Project.
"We hope to start there and move around wherever needed," she said.
At the same time, Ukadike enrolled as a part-time MBA student at Simmons College. Although still working full-time at Harvard, Ukadike is taking a heavy load and will graduate in August 2012. By September of that year, she hopes to build a pilot school in Ghana.
As part of her studies at Simmons, Ukadike traveled this spring to Ghana for 3 1/2 weeks to work on a clean-water filtration project.
"The Simmons program is propelling me to places where I really needed to be," Ukadike said.
"I think sometimes when people hear it's an all-women's program, they think it's not as rigorous as other programs. It's very competitive. I've learned a lot of skills I've already started to apply to work now."
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