Gaetan KashalaProfessional Evening MBA Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
“There’s been great applicability and alignment between my international coursework and where I see myself down the line. Ultimately, I want to recapitalize the consultant firm and continue the lobbying work I was doing in the past for African governments.”
Gaetan Kashala has worked all over the world, but it wasn’t until he got his MBA that he felt fully global. After graduating from Tufts University with a degree in political science, he moved to Washington, DC to work in a law firm for a few years. The plan was to be an attorney. But his plan soon evolved. “Quickly disabused of the notion that I was going to be an attorney, I started a government relations firm for a couple of years,” he says. This venture brought him back and forth to and from West Africa, a place with very little resources, where he pursued lobbying work with African governments.
After discovering his passion for international relations, upon returning to Massachusetts, Gaetan got involved in international education and worked to create institutional partnerships between US universities and foreign universities, specifically in China.
Now, as Director of Global Partnerships with Fullbridge, Inc., his work is about “getting good with the government,” he says, “and leveraging that to the fullest.” A recent trip brought him abroad, to Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, with some investors interested in agricultural opportunities in the country. “These investors really have a chance to make a difference. We need to align their corporate interests with the government’s goal. We are in the middle to manage those relationships.”
Looking back on his academic career, Gaetan realized that it had been very policy oriented. “Having been out on my own, I realized I’d benefit from getting some proper business frameworks to inform my decisions down the line.”
Through his Greater Boston network, Gaetan had many friends who had pursued the PEMBA program at Questrom. In addition to their reviews, Gaetan decided to pursue his MBA with Questrom’s PEMBA program because of the school’s mission to go global even beyond the coursework.
Gaetan chose to pursue PEMBA through the cohort track, and that choice has worked out well for him and his needs. “Having people in a similar place to where you are, whether it’s professional or personal life, and being able to transition through the first courses, you establish relationships both inside and outside of the classroom. I’ve been able to meet a lot of impressive colleagues in the program. It’s extended the black book.”
Gaetan’s highlights of the program include the career journeys that have been shared with him and the network he’s gained. “Many of the events that we have here are really inspirational,” he says. “To go and hear CEO’s and high execs discuss how they got to where they are? Those are key lessons to hold onto as you move across your professional career.”
In addition to the network he’s obtained, Gaetan is thankful for the coursework he dove into during his time in the program. “I've been able to focus on classes that explore topics in places where I’ve had direct exposure. It aligns with what I’ve done in the past and where I see myself in the future, across multiple disciplines."
Specifically, he the impact of the operations classes he’s taken, “They’ve been really illuminating in helping me to understand the importance of efficiency. That’s made me more detail oriented.”
He’s also found success in the strategy classes he’s taken at Questrom. “They’ve allowed me to have a framework for assessing the competitive environment and conducting competitive analysis. There are many marketing aspects I’ve put to use. It’s been very good to have that marketing framework.”
Through PEMBA, he’s been able to refine his abilities and apply them in a real-world work environment straight away. “There’s been great applicability and alignment between my international coursework and where I see myself down the line,” he says. “Ultimately, I want to recapitalize the consultant firm and continue the lobbying work I was doing in the past for African governments.”