Giving back
IE in Ethiopia
What we do

What We Do

So what is IE doing in Ethiopia?

Frontier Experiences for MBAs

A group of IE MBA candidates goes to Ethiopia each summer with two objectives: to volunteer in an English summer camp; and to learn firsthand what it is like to do business at the base of the pyramid. Students stay for two weeks in a local mission and spend mornings teaching and afternoons researching. The experience, they all agree, is a life-changer.

Investing at the BoP

Entrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid have inspiration but lack capital. IE students search for good investment opportunities during their visits to Ethiopia, to either mentor small entrepreneurs or provide them with capital, or both, to help them grow their businesses.

Boosting Development

Countries cannot develop without a strong foundation of health and education services and a basic infrastructure. During the volunteer experiences, Dr. Allard and the students are alert to opportunities to donate or seek capital for projects that would strengthen this foundation for the local community. The IE Foundation and other private institutions cooperate in funding projects with the greatest poverty alleviation impact.

Our Story

How IE in Ethiopia went from an idea to a reality.

  • 2012

    An Idea is Born

    The IE´s involvement with Ethiopia began in 2012, when new IMBA student Benedict Faber approached Economics professor and Africa expert Gayle Allard with a proposal: to take a group of IMBA students as volunteers to Ethiopia. Ben explained that he had volunteered there as a university student, it had changed his life, and he wanted to share the experience with others. Dr. Allard jumped at the chance.

  • 2013

    The First Volunteers

    In August 2013, the first group of IE volunteers traveled to Dilla, in southern Ethiopia, to help teach English to girls in the summer program run by the Salesian sisters in that town. The volunteers, who lived in the convent and spent half of their time working on a research project besides the volunteering, agreed that the experience had been one of, if not the best, experience of their MBA studies.

  • 2014 - Present

    The Idea Grows

    In August 2014, a second group traveled to Zway, Ethiopia for a similar project. They also taught English, living at the Convent. And while that project is alive and well, a new branch is evolving. In the summer of 2015 the group will travel to Adwa to start a summer English program there and to select a local company for an investment.

  • Like what
    we do?
    Join us!

Our Team

The IE in Ethiopia project was founded and continues to be maintained by:

Gayle Allard

Professor of Economics at IE University

Gayle Allard is a PhD economist (UC Davis) who has taught MBAs Managerial Economics and African studies at the IE since 2002. Though a native of California, she has lived and worked in Europe most of her adult life. She is a regular commentator on international economic events in the global media, and she has a passion for Africa and its development.

Benedict Faber

Lead Marketer

Benedict founded Limitless during his MBA at IE Business School. He has been involved with organizing field work in Ethiopia since 2009. His vision is to bring more know-how and FDI into developing regions like Ethiopia by utilizing his MBA network.

This project could not have happened without them.


If you would like to volunteer for the IE in Ethiopia project, email us!