Making the Most of the YHP ‘mini-MBA’

This spring AstraZeneca offered an award-winning MBA Essentials Course, developed by Rupert Vernalls, to ten young leaders from the YHP. The 3-module course provided them the opportunity to learn how to become more focused and transformative leaders alongside nineteen of the company’s own young talent from around the world. The course introduced them to some of the cutting-edge thinking and methods taught in the top business schools.

For some YHP young leaders the effect was both immediate and transformative. For Roy Dahildahil, co-founder #MentalHealthPH whose organisation aims to build mentally healthier communities around the Philippines and already has over 100,000 social media followers, the introduction to Porter’s Five Forces was particularly helpful. Whilst the Five Forces are primarily used to measure the competition intensity, attractiveness, and profitability of an industry or market, Roy could see that he could use them not just to increase the financial health of his organisation, but also to encourage people to volunteer or become members. 

Alejandro Daly is national coordinator for El Derecho a No Obedecer, which works to create networks, strengthen mobilisation capacities and provide tools to help citizens to influence policy more effectively in Colombia. For him the MBA Essentials course prompted a fundamental rethink of his approach: ‘the programme activated some major changes in my organisation… including how we work with our suppliers and I even started an organisational restructuring of our team.’

David Henry, Senior Youth Coordinator at St Lucia’s Sacred Sports Foundation, which aims to assist troubled youth by providing them with support and opportunities through football, found that the course gave his skills and confidence a major boost. He felt that his ‘public speaking abilities, communication and listening skills, as well as organisational knowledge increased tremendously.’ This greatly helped him when moderating the Americas and Caribbean Regional Panel discussion at the ECOSOC Youth Forum 10th Anniversary, where he found himself leading the discussions around Covid-19, youth collaboration and solutions to tackle adolescents’ issues with government ministers, civil servants and civil society leaders.

There was also much to gain from learning from and with the other participants both from the YHP and AstraZeneca. As David said, ‘I would never imagine that I could bring forward a suggestion that could be concurred with, and expanded upon, from someone from Singapore or Japan. The discussions were very interactive and fruitful.’

The MBA Essentials course was run virtually with two-hourly sessions each week for three weeks. Upon successful completion of the spring pilot phase, the Mini-MBA will be rolled out to YHP Young Leaders and AstraZeneca employees throughout the year.


The Most memorable moment about the course for me was the ‘Eureka moment’ I had by the end of the first lesson.The organisation I work with was in a stagnant place and our effort to evolve we're not yielding the results that we hoped for especially from the effect that the pandemic came with, given that more than 70% of our programs involved physical meetings.
The Morden Porter's 5 Forces enlightened to me all our weak points and as a leader I was glad to finally see the origin of our problem.
Attendance in the mini-MBA Course has been a pivotal moment to me as a leader because it has equipped me with the essentials skills needed to structure our operations so as to maximize impact and evolve in alignment to the external factors.

Juliana Busasi, Founder and Executive Director, Tanzania Health and Medical Education Foundation (TAHMEF), Tanzania


Using the strategies you talked about I was able to secure a grant funding of about $10k for my organization to invest in key assets.

Dr. Emmanuel Egbroko Executive Director, Inocul8 (Nigeria)