// . //  The Alumni Network //  Andrew Youn

Andrew, an alumnus of Oliver Wyman, founded One Acre Fund in 2006. This non-profit organization is dedicated to fighting extreme poverty in Africa. After earning his MBA from the Kellog School of Management and spending four years as a consultant, Andrew has spent the last decade living in rural East Africa.

Consulting is a great background and career preparation for social enterprise
Andrew Youn, Oliver Wyman Alumni

How did Oliver Wyman prepare you for One Acre Fund?

Oliver Wyman was a great preparation for a leadership career in social enterprise. In the first years, I built up my analytical and communication abilities. In later years, I developed hard management and soft leadership skills. Throughout my journey at the firm, I distinctly remember how flexible Oliver Wyman was in helping me pursue my passion for non-profit work. For example, creating a staffing environment that enabled me to be in Boston on Mondays to continuously volunteer at the same homeless children’s shelter.

Where did the idea for One Acre Fund come from?

The concept for One Acre Fund started when I met two farmers while randomly traveling in rural Kenya. One farmer was yielding two tons of maize on an acre, and her family was thriving. Another farmer in the same village yielded four times less food, and she had lost a child. I was inspired to find out why this difference existed. I was shocked that the answer was incredibly simple: the successful farmer used a little bit of seed, fertilizer, and correct planting practice. Six months later, I was back and tried an ultra-simple support package that provided seed, fertilizer, and training to 40 farm families. An idea was born.

Do you have any words of advice for consultants?

Consulting is a great background and career preparation for social enterprise. There is an enormous need for the skills of former consultants here in the non-profit world, but a transition takes courage and a healthy dose of humility. I would encourage people considering international work to find great organizations. The organizations funded by the Skoll Foundation are generally pretty good. Get as close to the field as possible and accept that you might start in a lower role for the first few years. Indeed, my organization has a lot of roles where we would start consultants a little lower than they currently are, but we would work hard to develop them into top leadership roles quickly.  

This page was originally published on November 16, 2016.