ABE Endorsed KidsMBA: report from Umubano Academy, Rwanda

Umubano Academy completed the ABE Endorsed KidsMBA in October 2019 with 49 students.  The course was delivered two modules at a time over eight consecutive days.  With the final shark tank event presented as part of the school’s closing day celebration to an audience of the KidsMBA participants and 80 parents. This was a new experience for the students, none of whom had studied a short course before.  

Feedback from participants

The students were curious and interested to know more about the programme. Some of them had heard of an MBA and wondered how this related to what they would be doing. They asked many questions during the pre-course introduction and were keen to learn more. This suggests the programme is aptly named, generating interest from students, and parents.

When the course started the students were all focused and engaged with the content. They understood the concepts and were able to access all the activities and games. Some of the youngest students were actually the most engaged.

In Rwanda, where mixed age classes are common due to children starting school late or repeating years, the recommendation to use mixed ability (age) groups is a good one. Students gave contributions at different levels, sharing their opinions and engaging in group and class discussions and demonstrations – all students were active during the sessions and said they enjoyed the programme.

Next to the slides in their handouts, they had a space to write any comments or definitions for new vocabulary. A brief daily walk around the class showed that all of the children were using this space to make notes and clearly had things they wanted to write down, in addition to the slides. They kept their handouts carefully and were proud of their notes.

The students were also motivated by the competitive element of the course, knowing that a shark tank activity would come at the end. They were excited about getting a certificate and were interested in the potential for there being further competitions.

The group activities, games and sketches helped the students to express their ideas. Teachers were impressed to see that students could put something meaningful together in just a few minutes as part of each session. The role play activities allowed them to ‘experience’ how it felt to be young entrepreneurs, which translated into confident performances when they pitched their ideas during the shark tank event.

Students thought the course was meaningful and they liked the emphasis on entrepreneurship and business skills. Out of the 31 students who completed post-course feedback sheets, 81% students felt the course had inspired them to run their own business. One student said, “Kids MBA proves that even young people can have business ideas. The course helped us develop these ideas and made us feel valued, like our ideas matter”.  Another suggested that the course could help “avoid unemployment in the country”.