With the financial assistance of UCLA CIBER, a UCLA Executive MBA (EMBA) SMR (Strategic Management Research) team was able to coordinate two visits to Accra, Ghana. The purpose of these visits was to conduct primary research for the business plan. Travel to Ghana was essential to obtaining information on the Johnson & Johnson/International Aid (J&J/IA) sponsored Medical & Surgical Skills Institute (MSSI) at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
During their visits, they conducted interviews and surveys of medical students, surgical residents, University of Ghana Medical School professors and administrators, medical society leaders, corporate contributors and equipment manufacturers, and representatives of our client organizations.
Prior to their visit, the team conducted a study of 300 surgeons at the West African College of Surgeons Conference in Conakry, Guinea. Their initial visit to Ghana afforded the opportunity to gather interview data to supplement our survey responses. They were fortunate to also travel to the Michigan-based headquarters of International Aid. The interviews conducted there and at the University of Michigan allowed the team to gain insight into the intricacies of medical equipment donation, NGO operations, and the nuances of international relationships between academic institutions.
The team's second visit to Ghana provided the opportunity to interview members from their client organizations, gain insight into their other corporate contributions, and observe the MSSI in action. Additionally, the EMBA students used this as an opportunity to present our preliminary findings to their clients as part of a mid-point presentation.
The scope of the SMR project required primary research in excess of what would have been possible with the limited standard budget. The additional funding provided by CIBER allowed for additional research that will undoubtedly yield meaningful and actionable recommendations for the team's clients.