Barty Pleydell-Bouverie’s love for Africa is as clear as his ambition. “I am hugely motivated and excited about the prospects for private sector business in Africa – both by the potential for investment and the ability to have impact,” he says.
Through his work with the Princes’ Charities Forum – a group Prince William and Prince Harry set up to develop their philanthropic legacy – Barty, an MBA2017 alum, is determined to put his extensive networks to use both here and in Africa. He’s already made a difference to the lives of thousands, but sees previous accomplishments as just the start.
For one ground-breaking project – the Cycle of Life – Barty led a team of cyclists 5,000 miles across Africa, where they rode and camped rough for four months to raise £250,000 and awareness for both rural African development issues and a London-based youth homelessness charity.
He then worked for the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Uganda, which brought him to London Business School (LBS). He set up a programme that provided consulting skills to private sector local drug companies, showing them how to increase revenues and save more lives by becoming more business proficient. With one eye on returning in the future, he says the MBA is giving him the skills to maximise opportunities like this. “The MBA has given me a great toolkit – both the hard and soft skills that are needed to have an impact, whether in business or development,” he says.
Barty’s first job in Africa saw him consulting directly with government decision-makers in the healthcare arena. Before that he was a neuroscientist in the UK, doing philanthropy consultation on the side. Among his clients was the Princes’ Charities Forum. “When the Cycle of Life caught fire we were able to leverage the Princes’ incredible networks without a huge cost,” says Barty. “I was inspired by that – the power of connections.”
Barty, who received the Huw Jenkins Scholarship, chose LBS for his MBA because he wanted a school where the “quality of the brand would speak for itself”. He says: “I wanted it to pull all the strings of my story together. I have an unconventional background and the assurance that LBS gave me – that my profile was not only worthy of a place, but of a scholarship – that gave me great confidence going in.”
In return for that confidence, Barty brought his impressive list of African connections to the School’s Africa Club. But for him, networking goes beyond simply swapping contact details. “It’s a lot more meaningful than that,” he says. “The Africa Club is at the centre of an incredible network that links the student body to all sorts of inspiring Africa-oriented business people – from entrepreneurs on the continent to London’s group of investors.
“On the back of this network, the club runs a fantastic conference every year – one of the biggest in the world – with more than 400 attendees from the diaspora and other people looking to learn about Africa. I helped organise fundraising for the 2016 conference and I’ll continue to bring further relationships and value in the future.”