Unexpected events that rocked the lives of members of the Georgia Tech College of Management community in recent years led to the establishment of the business school's Community Fund to help those in need. The full-time MBA students behind the fund's creation were recently honored for their efforts with the Responsible Leadership Award at the 2012 Graduate Business Conference (GBC).
They are 2011-2012 student leaders Angela Behnken, president of Graduate Students in Management; Shilpa Arya, vice president; Carter Posey, treasurer; and Chris Chandler, honor code representative. They received the award in Rochester, New York, at the GBC, which brings together student leaders from the world's top business schools to share best practices, discuss solutions to common issues, and promote networking.
College of Management Dean Steve Salbu praised the winning students for their efforts at supporting the business-school community. "The Community Fund, including the values and passion behind it, is one of the many examples why the Georgia Tech MBA Program is so special."
The fund's stated vision is to "enable Graduate Students in Management with the ability to provide support for our community and react quickly and systematically to the needs of our MBA community, including students, alumni, faculty and staff in life-changing situations."
The creation of the fund stemmed from challenges faced by Tech community members in 2010-2011: a professor who began a successful battle with cancer, and an international student who went temporarily into a coma after a blood vessel ruptured in his brain. For the professor, students collected donations for gifts of books and DVDs to lift his spirits during chemotherapy. And they raised $5,000 to help fund housing for the ill student's family, who had to travel to Atlanta from overseas during his lengthy recovery.
Plans for the Community Fund formalized last fall after the death of a professor's wife due to complications related to her chronic illness after routine surgery. MBA students raised funds, coordinated bringing meals to the professor at the hospital, and ultimately donated $1,000 to the United Mitochondrial Disease Fund in her memory.
Other funds raised from students, faculty, staff, and alumni enabled the formal establishment of the Community Fund. "During times when MBA Programs have been criticized for producing leaders that lack compassion, the Community Fund is an innovative way to influence empathy and compassion to be at the core of the Georgia Tech MBA," says team member Angela Behnken.