TuckCenter for Global Business and Government

Tuck Global Consultancy in Johannesburg, South Africa

May 13, 2013 -- Guest post by Goran Todorovic, assistant director of the Tuck Global Consultancy Program --

City Year South Africa (CYSoA) is a non-profit organization that unites a diverse group of young people (ages 18-29) in a year of full-time service. Modeled on the U.S. City Year program, CYSoA participants are tutors, mentors, and role models helping children in schools and communities across Johannesburg, South Africa.

The idea of City Year was introduced to South Africa through former presidents Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton. While hosting a conference on Civil Society in Cape Town in 2001, Mandela extended an invitation to Clinton, who accepted and brought along a delegation from the U.S. As a result, CYSoA was founded in Johannesburg in 2005, as City Year's first international affiliate.

The Tuck Global Consultancy (TGC) program first collaborated with CYSoA in December 2005. However, over the past several years, a series of leadership transitions and changes in CYSoA’s funding have left the affiliate struggling. Moreover, problems unique to South Africa, such as developing a post-apartheid work force and adjusting to the aftermath of the AIDS epidemic, have further complicated CYSoA’s recruitment and program delivery efforts.

With positive social impact in mind, Tuck’s Dean Paul Danos generously supported a second TGC project team in December 2012. It consisted of six second-year Tuck students – Kate Bante, Nishant Daruka, Dan Ettinger, Caitlin Gillooly, Hana Hassan, and Andrew Olaleye – who were asked to develop a five-year strategic plan that would serve as a road map for growth, and would identify ways to tackle two of South Africa’s greatest problems: inadequate primary school education and youth unemployment.

As Team Advisor, I was responsible for TGC team oversight, ensuring that milestones were met in providing CYSoA with a solid plan to help them achieve their goals.

Work on the project began a couple of weeks before the team traveled. The students spent hours doing research and planning for when they would be in South Africa talking with CYSoA stakeholders.  Then in December 2012, the TGC team spent three weeks in Johannesburg to interview more than 50 individuals, conduct numerous focus group sessions, and hold onsite workshops that helped define management’s vision.  The TGC team recommended that the following four goals – and a road map on how to achieve them – serve as the foundation for a viable CYSoA operation:

1) Measure impact on learners
2) Stabilize and diversify funding
3) Improve program delivery
4) Increase organizational capacity

The TGC team provided the client with a blueprint to "keep the lights on, and the doors open,"according to CYSoA's Executive Director, Manoj Chiba, who added that his Johannesburg-based cohort valued the TGC team's perspective and was counting on their recommendations. 

The TGC's final presentation was made to an audience that included senior leadership from City Year's World Headquarters in Boston, Mass.  Michael Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of City Year, Inc., who was present, had nothing but praise.  He called the TGC team's work a "tour de force" that he hopes can result in greater collaborative efforts between City Year and the Tuck School of Business.  City Year has followed through and plans to sponsor three Tuck internships for the summer of 2013.

There is no doubt in my mind that the effort and output of the TGC team provided the impetus for City Year's strong reconnection with Tuck.

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