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Meet Rohit Dhake, Young Professional and Young Ambassador

By Allison Kooser

This fall, we are celebrating education by highlighting incredible students and teachers around the world - including our friends right here at home. This week, I chatted with Rohit Dhake, a Young Ambassador in Chicago and a current MBA candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Rohit served as our YAO-Chicago co-chair and is a great guy to know! 

Rohit, please introduce yourself! Tell us a bit more about who you are, what you do and what you like to do in your free time. 

My name is Rohit Dhake and after working for a few years in finance, I left to attend the full-time MBA program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In my spare time I enjoy rooting for the Chicago Bulls, collecting hot sauces, and cooking. 

Why did you decide to go back to school? Why is education important to you? 

While I thought my existing education provided a solid base of training for my field, I knew that there was more to learn. There will always be more to learn. This has led me to continue pursuing education throughout my life, both formal and informal. While people generally have a good sense of what they know, they usually don't have a good sense of what they don't know. Education helps close that gap. 

What is one big dream you have for the future and how do you think your education will help you get there? 

Impoverished communities have myriad prerequisites to creating sustainable, growing, local economies. Microfinance does a great job of providing a foundation for one of those needs - capital markets. However, there are other needs that need to be met such as (to name just a few) a working infrastructure, an educated populace, and an effective government. I hope to eventually start an organization that will help fulfill some of these other prerequisites so that communities can continue to flourish. Education helps me identify what those prerequisites are and objectively asses how best to go about fulfilling them.

What is one thing that you have been learning recently? It can be from the classroom, a book, a life experience - anything!

This summer I am working at a firm that buys companies in order improve and grow them over time. One thing I learned during the experience is how much having the right people in the right places matter. You can have a wonderful business and a great thesis for growing it, but unless you have the right people in place, you won't be able to execute. You can also have a subpar business, but with the right people you can see miraculous growth.  I think this is a concept that holds true across fields. The right people make all the difference.

Why do you believe in and support Opportunity International and YAO?

Relative to many organizations that try to enact social good, I believe Opportunity is much more sustainable and effective. Rather than simply giving handouts that have to be repeated, OI helps people lift themselves up and become independent over the long-term. People are smart, driven, and resourceful. We give them an opportunity to take advantage of that.  When describing OI, I like to hearken back to the adage "If you give a man a fish, he can eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he can eat for a lifetime." OI takes that one step further and not only teaches the man to fish, but also gives him a loan to buy a fishing boat so that he  can build a lasting fishing business to support his family for generations. 

Thanks, Rohit!


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