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How a Nonprofit Founder is Leveraging an Online MBA to Grow his Business

Written by Stephen Eichinger on Mar 9, 2020

Related content: Outcomes, Graduate Programs

Throughout his life, Moses Mbehesa has dedicated himself to doing good. His faith and values have always driven his decisions, education, and career. In 2015, he took his commitment to helping others a step further when he and former classmate Karlos Marshall co-founded The Conscious Connect, a nonprofit dedicated to literacy and development operating across southern Ohio.

“My job requires me to be a jack-of-all-trades, from managing volunteers to overseeing our finances, from developing programs to working with kids in schools, from writing grants to representing my organization at public events,” Moses said. The need to wear many hats—along with challenges that accompanied The Conscious Connect’s early success—inspired him to push his business and personal development further by adding a Master of Business Administration to his resume.

Moses knew he wanted a flexible degree program that didn’t pull him away from running his business. He chose the MBA@Dayton program because it closely resembled an in-person class experience while offering the business curriculum he needed to reach his ambitious goals.

Values that extend beyond the classroom

Moses grew up deeply entrenched in the Catholic faith. Throughout his MBA studies, he has found that his values are reflected in the University of Dayton’s environment.

“My favorite classes have been those where my professors have been open about their values,” Moses said. “My projects have been primarily service-based, and it’s encouraging to have instructors who support my values and viewpoint.”

Though many people share his views at MBA@Dayton, Moses finds plenty of differing attitudes and opinions to balance them out, thanks to the school’s authentically diverse group of professors and peers. “The breadth of people you get to work with through an online program is much wider than on campus,” he said. “We’ve had so many class discussions that are open and full of multiple perspectives for the greater good.”

Finding himself among an array of voices and visions was a welcome change from the very small school Moses attended for undergrad. He relished the opportunity to learn from such a wide array of peers at MBA@Dayton, all of whom wanted to better the world through business—each with a unique outlook on how to execute.

Lasting connections in-person and online

The concept of online education was easy for Moses to embrace. “We’re in 2020—learning online is the same as in a classroom,” he said. “We have classes every week, we participate in discussions, we engage with difficult material and projects. Technology today is seamless.”

In addition to the robust tech infrastructure, the program’s on-campus immersions offered a way for Moses to forge valuable person-to-person connections, while deepening his understanding of business in a nonprofit context.

“I really connected with what the professor was trying to teach us,” Moses said of his immersion in nonprofit leadership training. “I got a chance to speak with the professor and pick his brain about how to think of my nonprofit business economically and identify wins.”

At the same immersion, Moses met Destiny Arnold, a classmate who eventually became a board member for The Conscious Connect.

Strong foundations in business—and life

Moses has reached several milestones over the past few years, like growing his team at The Conscious Connect, expanding the business’s reach, and publicizing its mission. “The MBA@Dayton program has played a significant part in my development,” he said. “Practically everything I’ve learned, from economics and accounting to communication and organizational structure, has been applicable to The Conscious Connect as well as to my day-to-day responsibilities at my 9-to-5.” Moses particularly enjoyed his classes around negotiation strategies—a unique course subject which proved useful for his career. He credits the program for making him a better manager in how he works with people and stakeholders.

Always aiming high, Moses admits he went into the program with lofty expectations for himself. Thus far, he’s managed to meet them, even when taking into account the demands of the rigorous academic program. And his success in implementing what he’s been studying has affirmed his decision to get an online MBA.

“This experience has reassured me that I’m heading in the direction I’m supposed to be—and I practice these things every day to help me achieve ambitious goals,” he said. “Everything I’m learning is going to influence my personal life, the community, and how I grow our business.”

Using the knowledge he’s gained, Moses is already executing on his boldest projects, including a plan to start an investment group. While he still has money to raise, the group officially launched four months ago.

Next up? Moses hopes to attend law school. “There are lots of things I hope to do with my life—and I’m confident that now I can make them happen,” he said.

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