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Friday, May 27, 2011

MUBS Graduation & Entrepreneurship in Uganda

Our early morning began in a scurry to finish our samosas, hard-boiled eggs, and warm milk tea. Coaxed by our elegantly dressed professors, we made our way to Makerere University Business School’s 6th graduation ceremony. The ceremony began promptly at 10am “Ugandan time,” although all of the Drake students noted it started almost an hour behind schedule. Drake University was personally recognized and welcomed at the beginning of the ceremony by the Master of Ceremony and by the Chancellor. We again saw the hospitality and sincere welcome we received when we visited the Secondary School. The graduation procession was lead by the MUBS choir, dancers, drummer, Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, faculty, and our very own Drake professors.

In total, 1078 students graduated today, including 32 from Luzira prison. Among those graduating, 579 were female, and 499 were male. This ratio says something about the minimization of the gender bias and inequality women faced not too long ago. MUBS has over 20 undergraduate programs, 10 masters programs, and doctoral programs. MUBS is in the lead in business and management education and in its quality of students, programs, and other activities. The staff, students, and facilities have had substantial growth since its start in 1997, and MUBS has plans to maintain the quality of education they currently provide long into the future.

I thought it was interesting that at the graduation ceremony they did not announce the names of the graduates as diplomas were presented. Other differences I noted, as compared to Drake specifically, was that prayer was incorporated, there was no student speaker, and students do not officially graduate for at least 6 months after their last semester.

In the afternoon, we raced the rainy, Iowa-resembling weather to the Movit Manufacturing plant just outside of Kampala. There, we learned about the history of the company, the mission, vision, and different marketing and advertising strategies used. Movit Products Ltd. began work in 1999 selling cosmetic products, and has become the number one ranked business in the cosmetic industry in Uganda in just 10 years. Movit sells 57 different hair and body products for men, women, and babies. The company sells to individual customers as well as businesses in both the rural and urban areas. Movit’s original vision was to become the leading cosmetic manufacturer in the Great Lakes Region. This goal must now be updated because Movit has already dominated the market share in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan, and the Congo.

A majority of the conversation today, led by the director for marketing and sales, Bruce Mpamizo, was on the disparate marketing strategies used. Movit uses an integrated marketing mix approach, which is a combination of many different marketing styles that change depending on the target group. Many Ugandans in rural areas do not have internet or television, so they rely on other promotional tools, such as visiting schools and churches to get the message out. Bruce Mpamizo coupled what Patrick Bitature said last week in that to be a successful entrepreneur you must have integrity, honesty, a hard work ethic, and the willingness to take risks.

Education and entrepreneurship are arguably the two most important facets to a thriving and sustaining economic environment, and are closely interlinked. A proper education, especially from MUBS, allows students to identify an opportunity and act quickly, making successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs create jobs, pass down knowledge to future generations, and demonstrate the value of social responsibility. Although as many speakers we have heard made clear, it is not just about academic work, but about learning to be a good citizen. These values have been instilled in the graduating MUBS students, and we wish them the best of luck in their future aspirations. Uganda has been taking the right steps in ensuring a sustainable future by attempting to make school more affordable and more practical option for kids and families. As said in the previous blogs, with education, students are able to sustain themselves in the future as well as educate their future children.

Now it is time to put on our Movit cosmetic products and have a good night!


  1. I think it was interesting that they call their products "cosmetics" when they are really health products, like hair products and lotions. I think this is a cultural difference that we commonly find in Uganda.

    Another interesting difference about the graduation compared to ones in the US was that here they use tribal dances as a way of entertainment, and a way of keeping tradition alive. I think this shows how much pride they take in their history, and witnessing this it was easy to see how much everyone enjoys their tribal dancing.

  2. I thought it was really interesting that such a big deal was made about the prisoners graduating. It felt like they were justifying why they allowed the prisoners to be associated with MUBS, when no justification was needed. I believe that it was great that MUBS is extending its education services to those in jail, because as they said "life does not end in prison". After prison, many criminals go back to prison for repeat offenses, and with a proper education this can be avoided since they will have other options to support themselves besides crime.

  3. I thought the graduation ceremony was very interesting. It also seemed to be a political event. I think it gave MUBS a chance to show off what they have in hopes of getting more government funding. This made me feel lucky because in the U.S. we have a lot more government funding of education.

    I thought that the Movit presentation was very educational. I am not a business major, so I did not know very much about marketing before this presentation. I learned a lot about how a company can use different brands as a great way to market their product. I also thought it was very clever of them to use the radio as a means of marketing because more Ugandans have access to a radio than the Internet.

  4. I thought that we were honored my being placed in the front of the ceremony, a place of prominence right in the front of everything. The one thing that was not so decent were the security guards who checked us in to the ceremony. They were anything but warm and welcoming and were actually rather insulting. They shoved me forcefully in the back, searched one of the students to unnecessary extremes and when they searched a few girls personal purses and found some personal items she replied "gross, go stand next to YOUR people". Other than that, I agree, the people were welcoming and their words about us in the beginning were endearing. I agree that education and entrepreneurship are the most important facets to sustainable development, as they create opportunities for people, which in turn elevates the status of the entire country.