Mutende Musonda, an MBA graduate from Maastricht School of Management (MSM), is working to modernize agriculture and boost food security in his native Zambia. A former official in the Ministry of Agriculture, he’s set to design commercially-viable business models for farmer training centers, to be rolled out the country.
When Mutende started out his professional career, Zambia was in economic crisis; a wage freeze and an employment freeze meant it was difficult to find jobs. Mutende experienced a variety of different roles in different industries—from nonprofits to banking—before becoming an agricultural specialist and then a district coordinator for the Zambian government.
Like many of his MBA colleagues at MSM, Mutende wanted to use his MBA experience to gain the knowledge and the network needed to help drive development back home—his MBA research project focused on how European Union (EU) and World Trade Organization policies affect developing countries.
Since completing his MBA in 2015, Mutende’s been busy. He founded two social enterprises in the Netherlands; a waste management startup and an urban agriculture project producing locally-sourced food in the inner city. Now, he’s ready to return home and make a difference.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Maastricht School of Management?
My career path was moving from the technical into management, and that required me to get more managerial skills. I knew an MBA would enable me to fulfil that.
Looking at different options, I came across MSM and what I really liked—which I did not see at other schools—was the combination of an MBA specialization in corporate strategy and economic policy. Normally, an MBA is linked more to the private sector—the corporate world—and the public sector less so. MSM had both, and the economic policy course was especially relevant for developing countries.
Coming from a developing country on the edge of globalization, I saw MSM as a global school which was going to connect me with different players in the global arena.
What makes Maastricht a popular location for MBA students?
Maastricht is a hub for new ideas, new business, and new innovations. When you talk about innovation in Europe, you automatically think about Maastricht—even the very idea of the EU began with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty.
What stands out from your MBA experience?
MSM’s MBA program is very specially designed, so students can tackle any kind of issue they want to focus on. The MBA combines public and private sector focus; it combines business and engineering; it allows you to connect with other universities across the MSM network as well.
An MBA gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of where you can work and in which areas you can build your career. Coming from a developing country, my goal at first was to come to a new country and try to get a job. But when I came to MSM for the MBA, I saw that I could do anything.
The MBA at Maastricht School of Management gave me the confidence to start my own company. If I hadn’t done it, I don’t think I would have achieved what I have today.
What are your plans for the future?
My goal now is to contribute to modernizing agriculture in Zambia. I’m looking at working with private and public sector partnerships. I’ll also be contributing to promoting agro-forestry; focusing on finding alternative energy sources and reducing emissions from deforestation.
I want to remain linked with my colleagues and the network I’ve created along the way. Now, even in Zambia, I see the world at my disposal.