Making an Impact Through Business Education and Mission

Milwaukee Lutheran 2013 alum, Oswald Bwechwa Jr, completed the hands-on class experience through Marquette business school’s Applied Global Business Learning program. Over winter break, he traveled to Tanzania with his classmates to work with Nkoaranga Lutheran Hospital, located in Arusha, Tanzania. Their job was to use their education to help improve business operation of the hospital.

Some of the problems they were facing was employee overhaul from previous corruption, being six months behind in salaries, losing patients every month, inefficient daily operations, and barely breaking even month to month. While this hospital was labeled a top orthopedic facility of the area, it did not even have an X-ray machine.

The students began by interviewing the staff about how the hospital was run. They reviewed financial statements and were even allowed to see personal data. Oswald, knowing the language, lead the marketing research to determine the public opinion of the hospital. After gathering information from the nearby residents, they determined that while the hospital was better for specialized treatment, the main issue was its unaffordability. Then after working in the hospital for a week, they were able to offer some suggestions.

They were uninformed on government policies that assist hospitals. They have the ability to purchase an X-ray machine or even a computer for digital records through accessible loans. Then they came up with a more efficient way of tracking their expenses by using QuickBooks, which is a program designed to manage payroll, inventory, sales, and other business expenses. It even includes marketing tools and training solutions. This really helped with medication orders, which were previously done semi-annually. That led to shortages, and unnecessary reorders after expiration dates were reached. Ordering quarterly instead was their solution to this problem.

To increase communication in the hospital, they recommended having regular, scheduled meetings with staff and department heads. There were no meetings in the previous system. Follow up plans to increase the patient load would be to create a web page, and target community outreach.

The hospital staff was so grateful for their assistance, they requested the group to come back again next year to assess their progress. In the several months since, they are already improving with salaries, and have managed to get funding for an X-ray machine.

Another special part of this trip was being able to visit his grandmother. While there, he saw how much he has taken for granted in Milwaukee, like running water, electricity, clean toilets that can be used comfortably, and not having to set up a mosquito net every night before bed. It was a humbling reminder of who he is. The work he did was also a worthwhile experience to preview what he would do for a career.

Oswald has been on many mission trips to underprivileged countries such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic through his church Brookfield Lutheran, but this trip was different. He was responsible for making decisions with people that would impact a city in his family’s country.

Oswald will be attending Marquette Law School next year. He does not know if he will be able to return to Arusha through that program, but was grateful to have been a part of that experience. We praise God for the amazing work He continues to do through our alumni!