This week on the blog we are thrilled to feature the recipients of UVA Darden’s Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Fellowship for the Class of 2023, Alexis Orr and Ahmed Farah. Darden started partnering with ROMBA in 2018 to award the fellowship as a signal of the commitment to improving the LGBTQ+ communities at Darden and in business. To learn more, or to participate in the ROMBA event on 30 September, visit the ROMBA web page.
Name and pronouns: Ahmed Farah (he/him/his)
Cultural identity: Black/African
Hometown: Mombasa, Kenya
Fun fact: I have lived in 6 countries (across 3 continents) and grew up in a huge family, with 20+ siblings.
Q: What was your background before coming to Darden?
A: Working in international development, my background ranged from managing startup accelerator programs in East Africa to public sector reform in Somalia, re-building the country’s justice institutions post-civil war.
Q: Why did you choose Darden?
A: Darden’s community was something I’d consistently heard of, and it was important for me to both learn in a collaborative atmosphere and have strong lifelong bonds with my peers after graduation. The case method and faculty were key pull factors too, as well as exposure to Darden’s Africa Scholarship Cohort, which (considering my interest in building education-to-employment pathways for young Africans) offered a unique learning opportunity on the challenges, impact & opportunities of such learning platforms for African professionals.
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I am passionate about accelerating development across Africa and harnessing the potential of entrepreneurship and public sector reform to improve lives. After working in international development for 6 years, I felt that there were better ways to accelerate development in my home continent, Africa. To do so, I realized that I needed to build my skills and create a global network that I could leverage in my long-term goal of becoming an entrepreneur. The most straightforward way to achieve both was business school.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: My post-MBA goal is to switch careers to strategy consulting, which will enable me to develop multi-functional skills and experiences in running businesses across various sectors and regions. Simultaneously, consulting will enhance a multitude of skills that I have built in previous roles, including problem-solving. Ultimately, I want to create a social enterprise to improve education-to-employment pathways for young Africans and make education more accessible, affordable in Africa.