Make-A-Wish Foundation CEO Snubs Traditional Business School For LSE’s ‘Alternative MBA’

Camila Triana-Ramirez heads up the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Colombia. London School of Economics’ Executive Global Masters in Management (EGMiM) has helped her achieve her career dreams

When speaking with Camila Triana-Ramirez, it’s clear you’re speaking with someone obsessed with social impact.

The Executive Global Master’s in Management (EGMiM) student at the London School of Economics (LSE) has a lifelong background in business—her father was an entrepreneur and actively encouraged her to pursue a career in line with her passions. Financial gain was ancillary and instead it was social profit that would become the driver of her career ambitions.

Since her undergraduate days, Camila set herself a social responsibility project, which she worked on part-time whenever she had a free moment. It then became an NGO. “I think as a person who has had access to education I had an obligation to also be responsible in my country, and in particular work with vulnerable communities,” she explains.

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This was in 2014, and was influenced by the social state in Colombia, Camila says. Pockets of the country had, and continue to have, a high infant mortality rate and people lacking basic needs. Camila’s goal was to “manage an organization with an idealistic mission, whose only purpose was to improve the quality of life of children facing life threatening diseases.” 

Her focus on health was pertinent because, she says, it’s a part of life often taken for granted until it deteriorates. When that’s the case, “everything changes, and your priorities change,” Camila adds. “Health allows us to achieve anything in life, and sometimes it is undervalued.”

Camila holds an undergraduate degree in International Marketing and Logistics Management. Her passion for management and leadership, and the regard in which she holds the power of education to impact the lives of others, led her to pursue the Executive Global Master’s in Management at LSE—positioned to applicants as an alternative to an MBA.

“I was always interested in doing a master’s,” she says, “and what I liked most about the EGMiM was that it wasn’t your traditional master’s program. I liked the opportunity to keep working too, as I was at a very important moment of my professional career.”

Camila was in the process of taking her NGO to the next level. After working for two years, Camila started negotiations with the Make-A-Wish Foundation—an internationally renowned organization that arranges life experiences for children faced with life-threatening illnesses—to inaugurate her NGO as a full affiliate of the organization, in Colombia.

The Latin American region, Camila explains, has been calling out for an organization like Make-A-Wish. “What engaged me to become Make-A-Wish Colombia is that social organizations are not owned by anyone,” she says, “they are created for the benefit of a community, and in this case, I am happy I am able to leave a legacy for my country. From now, millions of Colombian children will benefit from this decision.”

On the EGMiM, Camila has seen the potential for business to make a social impact in other emerging economies. International modules take students to India and China. Previous cohorts have travelled to Singapore and Turkey.

“When I arrived at LSE, they changed how I think,” Camila adds. “They teach you that everything in life depends on how you approach it, and that opened my mind completely.”

The global aspect of the program also challenges Executive Global Master’s in Management (EGMiM) students to think about how to tackle the changing landscape of world business. London, India, and China, although geographically distant are intertwined by the same factors disrupting business everywhere.

Technological advancement, for example.

“The EGMiM opened my mind to the importance of technology,” Camila explains. “In a non-profit you’re not thinking that much about tech but if you want to be sustainable in the future you need to invest more in technology.

“Now, you can raise funds anywhere, but if you haven’t invested in technology you’re not able to do that.”

On the Executive Global Master’s in Management Camila has made professional and personal friends upon whom she can draw for management perspectives from around the globe.

“Anybody can study management and that’s what we see on the EGMiM,” she says. “Management is the basis of everything you need in life.

“Everyone brings something to the table,” she adds. “You gain skills because the cultural differences make you see things differently, and it challenges to change the way you think. That’s how you develop—by not stopping and opening your mind to different perspectives.”