Harvard Business School Adopts Mara Group As African Case Study

Mar 4 2014, 1:36pm CST | by

Harvard Business School Adopts Mara Group As African Case Study
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Mara Group, a pan-African conglomerate, is now among the business cases studied at Harvard Business School (HBS), alongside other international corporations like Amazon, Apple and Sephora.

Mara’s case is now officially part of the HBS curriculum and was read for the first time on Friday 28th February in the presence of Mara Group’s Founder, Ashish J. Thakkar, and an audience of over 150 HBS students from more than 40 countries.

The Mara Group business case, which was written by Harvard Professor Eugene Soltes and research associate Sara Hess, is one of the very few African businesses to be included in Harvard’s Executive Education Program, arguably a testament to the greater depth in which Western markets are looking at Africa as an exciting frontier market, with huge potential for investment and growth.

In a phone conversation with the writer, Mara Group founder, Ashish J. Thakkar confirmed that the Mara Group case study now forms part of HBS’ ‘Program for Leadership Development’.

“It’s an honor for Mara to be recognised by Harvard Business School as a case study of best practice in African business. I feel proud and humbled to see Mara flying the flag for what I believe is the world’s most exciting and dynamic continent. Mara is only one example of many businesses that are thriving in Africa. I hope its inclusion in the HBS curriculum goes some way to encouraging further foreign investment in Africa,” Thakkar said.

The HBS case method has been pioneered by the HBS faculty and is one of the highlights of the HBS experience. It is designed to be a profound educational innovation that presents the greatest challenges confronting leading companies, nonprofits, and governmental organisations. Through the case method, students become adept at analysing issues, exercising judgment, and making difficult decisions.

Ashish J. Thakkar, 32,  laid the foundation for the eponymous Mara Group more than 15 years ago when he started a business selling computers in Uganda. He parlayed that small operation into the Mara Group, which has investments and operations spanning technology, financial services, manufacturing, real estate and agriculture. The group is currently active in 19 African countries and 21 countries worldwide. In 2009, Mara Group founded the Mara Foundation to foster and support entrepreneurs through mentorship and venture philanthropy. The group has also been recognized as a Global Growth Company by the World Economic Forum.

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Source: Forbes Business


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