MBA alumnus, former Peace Corps volunteer to Uganda team up for business-related book drive for Burundi university

Guillaume Ndayizigiye, an alumnus of the Full-time UST MBA program, sent an email wondering if we could help develop a Family Business Center at Great Lakes University in Burundi where he is working. Guillaume recently returned to his home country of Burundi, and those of you who had the pleasure of knowing Guillaume during his studies at St. Thomas can attest to his passion for working with small business owners in Burundi.

As a co-worker, Guillaume and I had lively conversations about emerging market economies in East Africa. I had the pleasure of working with him as he conducted research on family businesses in Burundi. I was impressed by his dedication to developing business skills in family businesses in emerging markets.

As a former Peace Corps volunteer serving in Uganda, I conducted a similar project in the education sector by creating a resource library for teachers. No words can describe the gratitude and joy the community expressed when given access to learning and teaching resources. I can only image the same impact will be felt in Guillaume’s community.

Guillaume’s passion for teaching others and sharing his experiences are driving his current undertaking as an ambassador of the Family Business Center in Burundi. Guillaume has called upon his friends in the UST community to support his center through donated books. We are looking for books that pertain to entrepreneurship, family business, finance and organizational leadership.

We ask that you take time to look through your book stacks and donate books that you think would be useful for this cause. We will collect donations in a book-drop cart located on the Minneapolis campus at Room 435, Schulze Hall, and at the Minneaolis campus Bookstore during buyback week. Books that faculty or staff would like to donate in St. Paul can be dropped off at the St. Paul campus Bookstore. Our collection will go through Tuesday, Dec. 20.

If you do not have books to donate there is still a need that you can fill! We will be collecting financial donations for the shipping costs. Any monetary donation will be given a charitable donation receipt to use for tax exemption. If you would like to make a financial donation, please make out a check to UST with the Family Business Book Drive written on the memo line. Mail or bring your donation to me at the Family Business Center, Room 435, Schulze Hall.

Thank you in advance for your time and energy on this. We hope that our efforts will make a positive impact in providing the resources necessary to develop skills and knowledge around family business and economic growth in Burundi.

Jackie Milbrandt is a research associate at the Family Business Center.