AACSB International (AACSB) – the world’s largest business education alliance – has announced its 2021 Class of Influential Leaders, and Alforde Charumbira, a UCT GSB MBA alumnus, is among the 25 business school alumni whose inspiring work serves as a model for the next generation of business leaders.
“I’m thrilled to be acknowledged in this manner,” says Charumbira, who credits his studies at the UCT GSB, where he completed both a postgraduate diploma in business administration and an MBA, with instilling in him an awareness of the importance of good leadership.
This year’s honourees include diversity and inclusion advocates, social entrepreneurs, economic development experts, and healthcare executives – showcasing the variety of career paths supported by business education.
"These honourees are a perfect example of business education in action," said Caryn L Beck-Dudley, AACSB president and CEO. "AACSB-accredited business schools are committed to creating positive societal impact in a variety of ways – and these alumni are demonstrating that business education is indeed a force for good. We are inspired by their efforts and honoured to recognise them."
Charumbira was also recently a finalist for the 2021 MBA Leadership Award from the Association of MBAs and the Business Graduates Association (AMBA-BGA). A former finance professional, business leader and volunteer, he believes strongly that business must work to empower communities and address inequality.
Charumbira is CEO of Ukwaba Distribution Services, a logistics company operating in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and a founding partner at Utando Social Impact Solutions, a consultancy he started with a former classmate-turned-partner at the UCT GSB. Together they have developed a social impact measurement tool to help organisations determine more precisely and effectively what the social impact of their investments have been.
As an entrepreneur himself, Charumbira wants to help other entrepreneurs and startups to be successful, which he is able to do as the UCT GSB Entrepreneur-In-Residence at the Solution Space in Philippi outside Cape Town – a volunteer role where he mentors young businesspeople and interacts with community members on a daily basis. “I care deeply about the role that business plays in society and the community and how we can bring small entrepreneurs into the mainstream economy.”
Charumbira also mentors current postgraduate diploma students at the UCT GSB in order to give them the extra boost they need to be successful. “I believe it is important to give back to the community and play a small part in actually changing society in a very rewarding way,” he says. In that capacity, Charumbira coached and mentored the two founding partners of Estratweni Mobile Foods, a social enterprise that intentionally hires and trains marginalised youth to give them work, hope, and a second chance. The company now has four food trailers and employs five full-time and five part-time staff.
Morea Josias, head of alumni relations and career services at the UCT GSB, says Charumbira exemplifies the spirit of the alumni body. “Alumni play a vital role in encouraging and supporting recent graduates. As a body we encourage alumni to give back, believing that being of service to others is an important part of leadership. The valuable contributions of our extraordinary alumni network will ensure that the UCT GSB can continue to create transformational educational experiences for generations of students and executives, as well as to expand its work in addressing some of the most important challenges of our time.”
Now in its sixth year, AACSB’s Influential Leaders honourees include nearly 250 business school graduates who have created lasting impact in business and society. Each Influential Leader was nominated by their alma mater with inspiring stories, demonstrating how the honourees lead and innovate within their industries, contribute to their communities and encourage future business leaders. Prior honourees include business executives, elected officials, athletes, tech experts, non-profit leaders and academics – showcasing the variety of career paths supported by business education. This year’s class represents AACSB-accredited business schools in 15 countries, and the honourees have impacted many industries including education, healthcare, technology and sustainability. The unique stories of each honouree, and how they are creating meaningful, lasting impact in the world, are available at aacsb.edu/influential-leaders.