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MIT Technology Review

Kaidra Mitchell, MBA '02

Corporate career detours to Tajikistan

November 14, 2006

Kaidra Mitchell, MBA ‘02, expected to go into corporate consulting soon after graduation, but a summer internship with Endeavor, a nonprofit focused on entrepreneurship in developing countries, changed that plan before she even finished her degree. “I spent my summer consulting to a startup in Brazil,” she says. “This experience, especially, showed how much more impact I could have in developing countries, rather than just sophisticated multinational corporations.”

Kaidra Mitchell’s travels took her to an ancient Hissar fort, near Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Back at the Sloan School, Mitchell took courses in global entrepreneurship and decided to join the MBA Enterprise Corps, a volunteer consortium founded by leading U.S. business schools.

After graduation, Mitchell entered the 15-month program that included Russian language training and a position as a consultant to enterprises in Tajikistan. When the program ended, she started working with another company as a consultant to the financial services industry, first in Azerbaijan, and then returned to Tajikistan until July of 2005. She was abroad for three years.

The high point was providing consulting services to a small agribusiness startup in a village in Tajikistan. “After uncountable hours working to develop a solid business plan–in English, Russian, Tajik, and Uzbek–they were able to submit their completed plan to an international financing organization and receive financing to open a new line of business,” Mitchell says. “They were able to provide 37 jobs to people in a region suffering from almost 50 percent unemployment.”

As a consultant in the Data Management Group at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mitchell is now back on her original track. She lives in San Francisco with her Tajik husband, whom she met and married in Tajikistan, and says the Bay Area has lots of alums. “I have maintained some incredibly strong friendships from my time at Sloan,” she says, “and I sometimes say, only half joking, that those friendships alone are worth the tuition I paid.”

Mitchell, who says she’s of “mixed African, European, and Native American descent,” has traveled to 25 countries on five continents, and she’s called six countries home. She describes scuba diving as a passion and has had the same group of best friends for more than 20 years.