Marian Bonar traveled to Ghana through the Lassonde Social Entrepreneurship Program.

MBA student goes from Ghana to graduation spotlight

Marian Bonar  (far left) traveled to Ghana through the Lassonde Social Entrepreneurship Program.

Marian Bonar (far left) traveled to Ghana through the Lassonde Social Entrepreneurship Program.

Marian Bonar is one of very few students who can say her MBA education took her from Ghana and back while trying to solve a critical social issue.

Because of her exceptional experience, University of Utah President David Pershing featured Bonar, her project and the new Lassonde Social Entrepreneurship Program during his 2013 commencement speech.

“Being featured at graduation is a huge honor, and it is really special to my family,” says Bonar, who graduated from the full-time MBA program with an emphasis in marketing.

The Lassonde Social Entrepreneur Program is offered through the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and the David Eccles School of Business. It provides exceptional MBA students with a scholarship to spend a year applying their business skills to a social problem.

Working with classmate Whitney Williams, Bonar researched how to provide computers and education to underdeveloped parts of the world in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. Their solution was a business plan for a “computer in a box” that would package all equipment and materials needed for schools to teach computer skills.

Their efforts culminated in a trip to Ghana in February 2013, when they visited schools to see how their ideas would work. Bonar says the experience was transformative.

“The social entrepreneurship program has helped me learn to be a productive team collaborator and has allowed me to apply classroom concepts in a real-world environment,” she says. “These skills have reinforced my entire MBA learning experience.”

Bonar was born and raised in Salt Lake City. She was always interested in business management, since as far back as elementary school.

She entered the David Eccles School of Business MBA program after receiving a bachelor’s degree in economics from Westminster College in Salt Lake City. After her undergraduate education, she spent four years as an energy consultant before enrolling in the MBA program to get the skills she needed to become a leader.

Bonar has always had a love for outdoor sports, and her MBA degree is allowing her to make a career out of her passion. Before graduating, she landed a job as a marketing analytics manager for Horny Toad Activewear in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“My MBA has been a useful experience to me not only for the academic value but for the career skills I’ve learned,” Bonar says.

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