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IMBA Graduate Awarded Mita Fellowship to Promote Social Change

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

HitachimainEmma Leggat wanted to earn an International MBA at a school that emphasized social responsibility and entrepreneurship. She found one at the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration, where courses like “Peace through Commerce” are an integral part of the curriculum.

Now, Leggat’s efforts to become a socially responsible business leader are being rewarded. Following a highly competitive search of students from business schools across the country, she recently was chosen as the 2010 Mita Business in Society Fellow by the Hitachi Foundation.

Earlier this month Leggat began her 11-month fellowship at the foundation’s offices in Washington, D.C. to help support its mission of using the tools of business to promote economic opportunity and social change. She will be closely involved in programs such as the Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs Program, which was created to uncover and shine a spotlight on the most innovative social entrepreneurs in America.

“The economic turmoil of the last year demonstrated how the actions of just a few businesses can reverberate across all tiers of society,” Leggat said. “I am excited to be working with the Hitachi Foundation to uncover, support and advance strategies to ensure that impact is a positive one.”

The Mita Fellowship was made possible by a gift from the family of the late Katsushige Mita, who served as chairman of Hitachi, Ltd., the global electronics company.

Leggat earned her IMBA last January, after focusing on entrepreneurship and business strategies to better serve the poor. Most recently, she worked with the San Diego Public Library Foundation to forge public-private partnerships for mutual gain and lasting community benefit. In addition to her professional experience, Leggat has committed to making a positive impact in the community by volunteering with the nonprofit micro-lender ACCION San Diego and San Diego Hospice.

“Before I completed the IMBA program at USD, I was interested in the role of business in society, but I was not convinced there were viable career paths in this field,” Leggat said. “I am so glad that I delved a little deeper and tapped into the resources of USD to uncover the ways this personal interest can be translated into a meaningful career.”

Denise Dimon, USD professor of economics and director of the Ahlers Center for International Business, said Leggat’s selection is a tribute to her as well as the strength of the business school’s program and students. The marketplace is recognizing that “our MBA programs are fostering business leaders and entrepreneurs dedicated to designing new business models that incorporate social and environmental considerations.”

— Liz Harman

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