MBA students receive grants for non-profit work with Akron Community Foundation

Leighann McGivern

Two students in the Masters in Business Administration program received $5,000 fellowship grants to work with the Akron Community Foundation this summer.

Emmanuel Yimfor and Amanda Hyer, both first-year graduate students, received the grants after competing against other students in the program, which comprises an entering class of about 45.

“It was very competitive,” said Jaume Franquesa, assistant professor in the Graduate School of Management, who led the initiative. “We went through a selection process where we eliminated some candidates just based on their applications and resumes, and then we had interviews with the finalists.”

As part of their interview process, Franquesa said students had to bring forward ideas that would benefit the Akron Community Foundation.

“They know what the foundation is doing, what areas they have activities on,” Franquesa said. “The students have already designed or come up with some ideas, given their strengths and backgrounds, how they can help Akron Community Foundation in different areas.”

According to its website, ACF is an organization dedicated to improving “the quality of life in the greater Akron area by building permanent endowments and providing philanthropic leadership that enables donors to make lasting investments in the community.”

Yank Heisler, dean of the college of Business, said he hopes the students will gain valuable skills and experiences from working with ACF.

“They’ll have a chance to help with research on various projects that the Akron Community Foundation is working on, “ Heisler said. “I want them to see what it’s like to give back.”

Yimfor, an international student and native of African country Cameroon, said he hopes to gain a lot of insight about non-profit work through this experience.

“One day, in the very distant future, I think about owning mine eventually,” Yimfor said. “You’re touching people, being a blessing in somebody’s life. There’s nothing more rewarding than that — making someone happy.”

Yimfor said his home country is plagued by food and community development problems, and he hopes to be able to draw on his experiences with ACF to combat those issues in the future.

“The longest non-profit organizations that you see back where I’m from last five years, 10 years tops,” Yimfor said. “(ACF) invest their money perfectly, and they really keep their costs down. They’re doing a lot of stuff right.”

Heisler said the fellowship grants are part of an initiative in the College of Business to get students more involved in the community.

“I think there’s a part of what business is all about in terms of helping a community, in terms of helping people who maybe haven’t been as fortunate as some others,” Heisler said. “I want them to learn there’s another part of life, and that part of life is giving back.”

Contact Leighann McGivern at [email protected].