Charlie, Nabe, Shige, and I joined the Yale Africa Startup Review this year, where our team, the "Otaku Four," collaborated with Developers In Vogue (DIV). DIV is a Ghanaian NGO that provides African women with IT education, such as programming to boost the social advancement of African women.
I joined this program because I was interested in start-up companies and collaborative work with the African people, which I never had an opportunity to do before.
Selected as Finalist
After six fruitful weeks of effort, we were selected as a finalist. However, the time of the presentation, including the Q&A session, was 10 minutes, so we focused on improving our slides by creating an optimal presentation structure to give a dense but persuasive pitch on the final presentation day.
Final Presentation Day
The presentation, as most school-led events this year, was held online. Due to the time differences (between Japan, the U.S., and Ghana), our team made our presentation very late at night (JST). However, we were very happy to see many of our classmates and professors participating in the session to support us. Thanks to their encouraging feedback and our rehearsals, we were able to do our best in the final presentation. Though we couldn't finish in the top three, we are proud that we achieved the best result as a team.
Looking back on the Yale Africa Startup Review
First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to YASR, Hitotsubashi ICS, and DIV for giving us such a great opportunity; professors and classmates who gave me many warm messages; and especially my teammates: Charlie, Nabe, and Shige. YASR was the first time I participated in such a problem-solving project, and I am very glad I joined. It allowed me to learn a lot from my teammates, such as how to proceed with a project, identify issues, and plan solutions. Although it was conducted over a relatively short period of time, it became an irreplaceable asset for me and my MBA experience. I am happy to have had such an experience at Hitotsubashi ICS. Even after graduating with my MBA, every time I see our team T-shirt with the DIV logo printed on it, I will remember this precious time. I am proud that I participated in YASR, and that we were selected as a finalist team. For the coming months, I want to enjoy the rest of my student life at Hitotsubashi ICS while looking forward to the day when we can visit Ghana to meet the DIV team in person; hopefully someday soon!
Yale Africa Startup Review (YASR) is a six-week-long program led by graduates and students of Yale University. MBA students around the world teamed up with African start-up companies to solve problems that the companies are facing. This year, 150 teams applied to the program, and only 30 teams were selected and invited to participate in the program. Just six out of the 30 teams were selected as finalists and given opportunities to give a final presentation to investors.