April 26, 2012

The Emory Global Health Case Competition

Post By:
Ivan Busulwa
MBA/MPH, 2012

From Monday, March 26th through Saturday April 1st, six graduate students from Boston University thought about Sri Lanka, Canadian foreign aid, and Tamils, more than they ever had before. Meg Meyer (MBA/MPH’12), Catherine Shih (MBA/MPH’13), Sunil Nair (MD/MBA’13), Daniel Silva (MED’15), Darash Desai (ENG’14), and myself formed a team that represented BU in the annual Global Health Business Case Competition at Emory. And the team’s hard work certainly paid off! We placed second and also won the “Audience Choice Award”. This was the first year that BU sent a team and we are excited that BU will continue the tradition in upcoming years. 

Daniel, myself and Sunil hard at work

We even worked through a fire drill that forced us to leave the building

  We received the case on Monday March 26th at 7pm and only had four days to prepare for the competition as it was going to be held on the morning of Saturday March 31st. The question was to “Develop a strategy for CanAID (similar to the Canadian International Development Agency or CIDA) to help Sri Lanka deal with health and resettlement issues of the marginalized Tamil population; keeping in mind resistance from the Sinhalese government due to prior accusations of war crimes and persecution." We also had to acknowledge the presence of a great many Tamil refugees currently residing in Canada and who had the potential to influence the funding decisions of CanAID. 

After we received the case, we met twice to flesh out the salient issues and choose which ones we were going to address. Coordinating with six people from four different schools in different locations was quite a challenge. For example we could only all meet as a team from 9pm to 11pm. We left for Atlanta on Thursday evening and then worked on the case up until the wee hours of Saturday morning. 

We did get a chance to take a break and check out the CDC which is right down the street from Emory

During our final presentation

At the Awards Reception

All my teammates from different disciplines had a lot of different perspectives they brought to the case analysis. In addition, Emory provided use with a mentor from their school who was able to meet with us for an hour and provide feedback on what we had prepared up to that point. This was useful since our mentor helped point out some key issues that we needed to deal with in addressing the current tension between Sri Lanka, Canada, and the international community. It also certainly helped that we had a Canadian (Catherine Shih) on our team! 

The presentation skills and case study experience that we gained from the MBA program was priceless in our preparations and really gave us the competitive edge. We did not expect such success in BU’s first appearance at Emory’s Global Health Case Competition. We were really proud of our final product and we look forward to seeing BU in first place next year!

Ivan Busulwa is an MBA/MPH student at Boston University with a concentration in Global Health Management.  He graduated from Makerere University in Uganda with a BSc. in Mathematics.  Prior to joining BU, Ivan worked in Uganda with USAID funded projects that promoted public-private partnerships between the Ministry of Health, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. 

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