Andrew Garza '08
What is your current job?
I recently graduated from the MBA Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. I'm also the co-founder and on the board of an NGO called Titagya Schools, which is helping to transform the early educational system in Ghana. Titagya has three pre-schools & kindergartens at the moment, and is collaborating with the government on a teacher-training program. I currently lead fundraising and am engaged with our strategy and new initiatives. In addition, I am excited to start working as a Consultant at Bain & Co.'s South Africa office in February 2014.
Why did you choose this profession?
I have a dual passion for education and private sector development, so Titagya and Bain will allow me to have an impact in both those areas. Strengthening these sectors is crucial for helping developing countries to reduce extreme poverty, and I hope to help eradicate extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest rate of extreme poverty per capita.
What more do you wish to accomplish in your professional career?
As far as Titagya Schools goes, our primary goal is to increase the quantity & quality of early education (pre-school, kindergarten, and the earliest grades in primary school) to the extent that every child in northern Ghana has access to high-quality early education. We plan to do this by partnering with the government to build more kindergartens and influencing the shift towards more interactive teaching methods. We expect to build 30 schools in Ghana and then work in rural parts of other sub-Saharan African countries.
On the business side, I am going to advise and invest in African firms. By doing so, I hope to help strengthen economies from the bottom up and create more jobs.
Tell us about a decision or change you made that turned out to be a positive career move.
Taking a first job out of Haverford at a boutique consulting firm in Ghana turned out to be a valuable career move. First, I learned about how to start an organization, which was very relevant when my co-founders and I decided to launch Titagya Schools. Next, it exposed me to a variety of business issues in Ghana that helped me think about the impact I wanted to have during my career. Also, working on the Continent increased my dedication to focusing on educational and business opportunities there for the rest of my career.
How has Haverford influenced your professional career?
Haverford helped me develop critical-thinking, research, and communication skills that have served me well so far in my career. I also met a number of people who became good friends and mentors, and supported me when I launched Titagya. In addition, we're delighted to recruit the bulk of our interns from the Bi-Co and to have strong partnerships with the Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program and CPGC. On a deeper level, my Haverford experience influenced my thinking about the meaning of life and played a role in the decision to focus my career on reducing extreme poverty.