Landing on a dusty airstrip, nestled less than 400 metres away from the town's hospital, Diego is a world apart from the bustling culture-capital of Milan, where he would regually stroll to the Universita' Commerciale Luigi Bocconi Milano campus. The heat of Italy, predicted to be a 31C average for the rest of the business week, is a distant memory. Out of the mediterranean sunshine, and into the thunderstorms of North Africa. The region of Gulu, Diego's closest city, is a refreshing 24C, albiet one laced with the onsluaght of clasing thunder and lightning.
Some 4000 miles away, over ten years ago, the soon-to-be business administration Master began his journey to Uganda as a graduate of Ampleforth College, the independent public boarding school in the green of North Yorkshire, England. Before Bocconi in Milan came Paris, at the Sorbonne University, before a Business Management degree at Kings College London, in a city with a population of over 8 million. Kalongo, where Diego will spend the next two months on a summer consulting project, has a minimal 15,000 residents.
"Once on the ground, I am warmly greeted by the Chief Accounting Officer of the Ambrosoli Memorial Hospital; he is my reference point for the next two months of my SDA Bocconi MBA Summer Consulting project for the Ambrosoli Foundation", Diego continues, writing in reference to the small Northern Ugandan hospital, founded by an Italian missionary, Doctor Giuseppe Amrosoli, whence Diego now studies business.
But before an MBA in Milan came a two-year career at JP Morgan, the leading financial services firm, as an Analyst based in London. In 2009, Diego worked as a junior Client Advisor for UBS Wealth Management, the global investment banking giants. But he has swapped the flash of Knightsbridge for the humbling hospital to which over 221 permanent staff operate in the most important medical centre in the region. The cloest hospital to Diego's former JP Morgan offices, Bupa Cromwell, in London, has over 400 consultants treating paitents from 130 different countries. It is some contrast.
"The airstrip is less than 400m from the main hospital. My arrival also raises the curiosity of tens of children of the near-by schools who also come and warmly greet me," Diego continues. "The Ambrosoli Memorial Hospital is located in North Uganda and was founded in 1957 by the surgeon Doctor Giuseppe Ambrosoli, an Italian missionary from the Comboni order. The Hospital is now the most important medical centre in region and currently hosts over 300 beds and 221 permanent staff.
"Besides the hospital there is also the St.Mary's Midwifery School, which is one of the best facilities in medical specialist training, and three schools. The Ambrosoli Foundation is the one of the largest donors to the Hospital and is currently headed by Giovanna Ambrosoli, the nephew of the founder.
"The Hospital currently has the following departments: Maternity, Pediatrics, General Medicine & TB, Surgery , AIDS Clinic, Antenatal Clinic – an outpatients clinic, an analysis and radiology laboratory and 2 operating theatres."
The MBA program at SDA Bocconi offers its students the opportunity to run their own consultancy projects across the globe. The projects are run by small groups of MBA students for between four and twelve weeks. Diego, whom hopes to help the small hospital of Kalongo stay sustainable, has chosen to stay in the developing country for up to eight weeks.
His aim? to volunteer at the Ambrosoli Foundation and improve their financial standing. "The aim of the next months as volunteer to the Ambrosoli Foundation will be to help improve financial, management and supply chain processes of the hospital (sic)," Diego writes. "This projects ultimate goal is to help the Hospital’s sustainable growth so it can continue the great job it is currently doing."
The Bocconi MBA, writing on an extremely tempremental internet connection, is also vice-president of the SDA Bocconi Finance Club and encourages other MBAs to sign up and share in his experiences. Diego adds: "So far it has been an amazing experience; everyone here is charming and I feel that I am applying a lot of the stuff I learned so far in my MBA! Most importantly, I believe I am making a difference."