Behind the scenes at the AMBA Global Leadership Conference


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The Independent Online

So here I am sipping a delicious coffee at the southern most tip of Africa, surrounded by a breathtaking combination of mountains and oceans, and completely in awe at witnessing what happens when you put a number of people from all over the world around what table.

Weijie from China is engrossed in a deep discussion about cloud computing with me, York, from Switzerland. Jonas from Ghana is having a debate on national healthcare systems (he works for the UK's NHI) with a professor from the University of Stellenbosh Business School. Franco from Italy is discussing with Kim Lee from Australia, and Nidhi from India is talking to Felix from France. I mention this because it reminds me again what can be done and achieved when the citizens of the world get together and try and tackle issues and problems together as one.

There are no rivals here today - no competitors. Just people who want to make a difference in the world. This get together under the wings of the Association of MBAs (AMBA) is the catalyst to try and find solutions together... of trying to do things as one.

Sitting here I am once again reminded of the privilege we have had in being able to attain an MBA qualification. Not because of the qualification per se, but because so many people in the world didn’t have the lucky break in life to be able to achieve this, either from financial means or from being dealt a bad hand in terms of basic education. I am reminded of our responsibility never to forget those who we impact in our daily lives and in the consequences of our actions, whether it is setting a strategy for a business or implementing decisions that impact people's lives.

Whatever you may think of MBA students and alumni or whether you think an MBA is worth it, one thing it does give you is perspective. This weekend that perspective was given an overdose of steroids. To see the world in one room (33 students representing thousands of MBAs from all over the world) makes you realise how we are really just one global village experiencing the same challenges the world over (perhaps with some local adaptations).

Today particularly I was reminded of the value of sharing: of working together. An MBA in this case is for me really about creating a link between originally total strangers in the same way an engineer feels when he meets another engineer. It has nothing to do with elitism but rather with commonality of having been blessed with the training to see the big picture.

Obviously each MBA experience is different for each person and every outcome is highly subjective: some go on to try and leave the world in a better state and some go out to try and squeeze the world for better yields. But this get together once again gave me a glimpse of the amazing power that ensues out of putting good minds and great hearts together in a room and watching how the magic happens... and hopefully all over a good coffee.

York Zucchi is an MBA graduate from Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria. He is founder of York Zucchi & Partners (investors and entrepreneurs in South Africa) and also works for Hello Healthcare in Johannesburg, South Africa.

York was attending the Association of MBAs (AMBA) Global Leadership Conference in South Africa. He has been nominated to represent his business school as a Global AMBAssador.