May 3, 2016 Toronto – While many of their classmates spent last summer in traditional internships with firms in Canada and the United States, seven students from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management spent time abroad working with Cuso International on projects ranging from microfinance to entrepreneurship in Myanmar and Nigeria.

These students were part of a Rotman School initiative called Global Consulting Projects; students in the Full-time MBA program earn credit for applying what they’ve learned in the program to assist clients around the world. In addition to the students who took on placements with Cuso International, another 14 students were part of the Global Consulting Projects Initiative.

Now in its second year, the collaboration with Cuso International supported the organization and its partners in their mission to mobilize resources to ultimately reduce poverty and inequality. At the same time, the participating Rotman MBA students gained professional experience working with an international development agency and benefited from working in an international setting and learning about opportunities and challenges of international development. Recruitment is underway for this year’s Cuso International-Rotman cohort who will be placed in Colombia, Nigeria and Myanmar.

“This partnership between Rotman and Cuso International is an example of how institutions can collaborate to mobilize resources, both human and financial, and contribute effectively to the economic growth and social well-being of communities impacted by poverty and inequality,” says Tiff Macklem, Dean of the Rotman School. “It also provides an opportunity to prepare our students to work in the global economy and to make an impact on society.”

The Rotman students completed the necessary steps to become a Cuso International volunteer and in turn, receive extensive training and support from the organization to tackle their assignment overseas. A third partner in the initiative was The Boston Consulting Group, which provided mentorship to the Rotman students on the projects..

“Going to Myanmar and working with young entrepreneurs and watching them build their dreams was transformational for me. As a JD/MBA student, I always saw my career in the corporate world but this experience has made me think more about pursuing entrepreneurship,” says Cuso International alumni Shuhe Li , JD/MBA’17. To gain a thorough understanding of the business environment and identify the gaps in knowledge, Shuhe and her team interviewed local business owners. They developed a curriculum based on these interviews and taught a session every week for four weeks. Between each session, they updated the curriculum based on what they had learned through ongoing interviews.

“The opportunity to go to a developing region for two or three months to learn about working in a completely different world and culture is rare.” says Cuso International alumni Alys Richards, MBA’16.  “The knowledge and skills I’ve gained from going to Nigeria have without a doubt helped me develop personally and professionally. I believe that this experience was a contributing factor to landing a post-MBA position. While interviewing, it was something that every company was curious about.”

“This partnership between Cuso International and the Rotman School has been a win-win,” says Evelyne Guindon, CEO of Cuso International. “We were provided with top-notch support for our work from the Rotman students and the students received real world experience in a very different work environment from what they may be used to.”

The Rotman School of Management is located in the heart of Canada’s commercial and cultural capital and is part of the University of Toronto, one of the world’s top 20 research universities. The Rotman School fosters a new way to think that enables our graduates to tackle today’s global business challenges.  For more information, visit

Read more about Shuhe and her work in Myanmar.

Watch a video about how this program gives Rotman students real world experience while supporting Cuso International’s mission.