Tafadzwa Samushonga
Home Region

Harare, Zimbabwe

Undergrad Education

University of Cape Town, Business Science, 2009

Previous Experience

African Leadership Academy; ThoughtWorks; Life Healthcare; Deloitte

“I felt that if I truly wanted to make an impact, I would need to move beyond 'advising' toward 'doing.'”

Tafadzwa first witnessed the positive impact that a community can have on its members’ lives at home. Her mother, a single parent, leaned on the support of family and friends to juggle raising three children while working and furthering her studies. “It truly took a village to raise me, and my mother demonstrated how to use that support responsibly,” Tafadzwa explains. “Remaining anchored in our community, she taught me to boldly pursue independence, so that I, too, would become better positioned to help others.”

While Tafadzwa’s upbringing influenced her strong desire to make a difference in people’s lives, she initially kept this separate from her professional ambitions. In university, Tafadzwa the community service leader, lived a parallel and independent life from Tafadzwa the actuarial student.

Tafadzwa finally realized how to integrate her values with her work when she began to investigate market-based approaches to eradicating poverty during her career at the Monitor Group (later acquired by Deloitte). “I did not join Monitor with social enterprise in mind, but as we used the tools and analytical approaches of business to address socioeconomic challenges in sectors ranging from agriculture to financial services, my perspective shifted.”

As she progressed along this path, she also began to complement her experience as a strategy advisor with new skills in operational management. “I felt that if I truly wanted to make an impact, I would need to move beyond ‘advising’ toward ‘doing’.” Through a project management role at Life Healthcare, she drove strategic initiatives while working closely with the teams responsible for execution. And at ThoughtWorks, she provided technical assistance to the Operations Team, most notably, leading the turnaround of the Recruiting function.

Learning how to use business to drive development

For Tafadzwa, an MBA provided an opportunity to accelerate her journey toward harnessing the power of business to drive sustainable socioeconomic development. HBS’ leadership in advancing the field of social enterprise coupled with its emphasis on action-oriented learning resonated with her. “Through the case method, I am constantly challenged to think about what I would do. As a result, I have gained deeper insights into the dynamics of managing a social enterprise.”

Having spent her career in Africa, Tafadzwa has embraced the opportunities that HBS has provided for her to engage with new markets. “I am particularly excited about how other developing economies are using technology to tackle similar problems to those we are facing back home.” As part of the first-year curriculum, Tafadzwa travelled to Malaysia to work with a local bank to improve their digital services. And she will be spending her summer internship working for an e-commerce company in the Philippines.

Even while Tafadzwa explores other countries, she remains excited about business opportunities in Africa. She uses her platform as the Africa Business Club’s Vice President for Careers to help students considering a permanent or temporary move to the continent. This was a natural role for Tafadzwa, as she ultimately intends to go back home. “I want to be counted among the inspiring African leaders who are combining their intimate understanding of local problems and global awareness to develop innovative solutions to the continent’s most pressing problems.”