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Muyambi Muyambi T'18

“At Tuck, I’ve really been able to focus on strategy for the organization I founded, Bicycles Against Poverty.”

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Finance Meets Social Good

I really came to Tuck for the education. Prior to Tuck, I was an engineer, but I didn’t know much about finance or business strategy. I wanted to gain experience in those areas so I took as many finance courses as I could. Studying finance isn’t necessarily about wanting to earn more money. For me, I wanted to ensure that, when I join a company, I understand every facet of it.

I also knew being in business school would give me the time I needed to think about what more I could be doing for the organization I founded, Bicycles Against Poverty. People are now pushing businesses to do right by their communities in addition to doing well financially. Coming to Tuck, I already had the social knowledge and experience, but I didn’t have the finance experience to be able to merge those two things together and be effective.

The finance industry has a lot of impact in this world. I don’t see why we can’t have more people within the industry who are mission- and socially-driven—people who will really help move the tide.

Bicycles Against Poverty

I started Bicycles Against Poverty as a freshman at Bucknell University. I came into college with a desire to empower people in Uganda, my home country. I knew the only way to do that was to find something not only impactful, but that also empowered people. Bicycles really aligned with my life experiences—what I’d seen but also gone through—in Uganda. I grew up in a rural area that didn’t have any transportation. That meant you walked everywhere. Cars were very uncommon which made transportation difficult—whether you were going to the hospital, school, the market. I saw that the people who had bikes led slightly easier lives.

In light of empowerment, Bicycles Against Poverty finances bicycles for lower-income entrepreneurs. That entails raising money here in the U.S. and then buying bicycles in Uganda. We identify communities that need bikes and are also able to use them effectively to generate more income so they can pay back the bikes. The bike costs about 100 dollars, and people have about 8 – 12 months to pay back the bike once we give it to them. People who otherwise would not be able to take their sick children to hospitals are now able to take them—we’re helping to facilitate access to drugs and care. We’ve also seen people who were able to increase their income after receiving a bike. It facilitates every facet of life.

At Tuck, I’ve really been able to focus on strategy for my organization. Every class at Tuck helps me tell the message of our organization better and better. Professor Paul Argenti, for example, talked a lot about core competency and identifying what you’re really good at. It made me think, Are we really good at distributing bikes? Or are we better at financing bikes? That message really resonated with what we were trying to do and reinforced when we were taking the right approach.

My interaction with the Center for Business, Government & Society has also been really helpful in introducing me to people who have a background or interest in social ventures and entrepreneurship and can share insights on how to grow.

A Bike Ride to Remember

I engaged in a conversation with Professor Leslie Robinson about doing a long bike ride from Boston to Hanover months before I even arrived at Tuck. A bunch of people from Tuck came out to support us on the ride. It was such a cool experience. Sometimes you have a fantasy view of a place and you’re not sure if it’s going to live up to your expectations. So it was refreshing and amazing to have an experience like that a few days before even having class together. It’s also made our class time together better, because it’s easier for her to relate to me in class, but also easier for me to have a connection with a professor. It just makes everything simpler. And we’re still in contact all the time. I had a Thanksgiving dinner at her home. She’s my accounting professor so I’m constantly at her door, asking her questions.

A First-Year Project in Germany

I did a First-Year Project with PERI, an industrial company in Germany. We spent a weekend in Germany with our client—the head of the company is actually a Tuck alumnus. Having hands-on experience and getting to interact with the client is always a great opportunity. And beyond that, I got to know my classmates better and what they were able to bring to a team. Every time you’re with people who are really good at what they do, they just bring up the level of the group. They give you something to aspire to, and they’re people you can learn from.

That’s one of the great things about Tuck: if you want to learn about something, you can bring people together to learn. They just teach you.

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