“I’m going to bring revolutionary changes to society as far as healthcare is concerned,” says Md Shamsul Alam Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi military veteran turned social entrepreneur who completed his MBA from the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB) in summer this year.
Shamsul joined the Bangladeshi army in 1986. Over 26 years, he worked his way up from second lieutenant to general, monitoring UN peacekeeping missions in Liberia and the Balkans, and directing the Bangladeshi prime minister’s office in Dhaka.
Then, he relocated to the US, taking up a diplomatic role at the Bangladeshi embassy in Washington DC. At 48 years of age, Shamsul enrolled in GWSB’s part-time MBA program, taking classes in the evenings after work.
“I wanted to learn something different,” he explains. “GWSB is a great school - one of the best in the world - and a great academic platform to get to know how to manage the internal and external aspects of a business, make strategic decisions, and make entrepreneurial success.”
Halfway through the MBA, Shamsul founded his “brainchild,” NanoTech Solutions and Consultancy Limited. The Bangladesh-based software developing firm is working on management software for online games, security and healthcare.
It’s the healthcare project he’s most excited about. Working on a global scale, he’s exploring the potential for an “e-hospital”; a 24/7 telemedicine service connecting doctors online and combating lack of access to healthcare by offering standardized, high quality healthcare worldwide.
“Technology has made us flat,” says Shamsul (pictured right). “It’s given us so much opportunity to elevate everybody. [And] with the software you can take a hospital anywhere in the world.
“Think about Ebola. It broke out in Africa and doctors had to risk their lives to go there. We can develop the software so people don’t have to travel there.”
Shamsul recieved positive feedback after a presentation to the World Bank, and while the specifics of the software are still under wraps, a pilot project is already underway in Bangladesh. The firm's aim is to maximize the use of technology, launch e-branches in schools and community centers, and provide a quality healthcare service globally by 2030.
Shamsul has high ambitions, but he comes from humble beginnings. Prior to his MBA, his experience of business was limited. In the army, he learnt about leadership, sacrifice and working on an international scale.
With an MBA at GWSB, he combined his military experience with a Western business education, as well as the skills and network necessary to make the transition into business and the leap into entrepreneurship.
“The alumni that we have are fantastic,” he says. “On the part-time MBA, they include state department officers, nuclear scientists, businessmen, engineers and doctors. So it’s a fantastic platform to learn many things and to share ideas.”
How has the experience benefited his career so far? “An MBA from GWSB is elevating me academically and in terms of my position in society,” he says. “It’s made me more entrepreneurial, more confident, and more ambitious.”