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MBA alumni profile: Kevin Lenahan

19 May 2021
From the Business School to global companies and philanthropy
After completing his MBA at the University, Kevin has now founded a literacy charity in South Sudan and leads a global export management and holding company.

Kevin Lenahan

Kevin Lenahan, alumnus of the first cohort of the full-time MBA, has achieved great heights during and after he studied at the Business School.

Kevin undertook studies after being awarded the MBA Director’s Scholarship, which partially covers tuition fees for the MBA based on academic accomplishment, contribution to community and leadership qualities.

"I looked up the best-ranked business schools globally and was most attracted to the University of Sydney because of its history, reputation, location, and program design," he said. "The program was new and revolves around experiential learning which was especially attractive to me, knowing I wanted to start my own business."

"I started the program with a vague idea of what I wanted to do and finished the program with an NGO, business, and a more expansive personal network."
Kevin Lenahan

Following graduation, Kevin immediately moved into leadership in industry. He co-founded the South Sudan Library Foundation, an NGO which donated the first public library in South Sudan, which currently has over 100 volunteers, employees and participants.

"Taking materials learnt from my MBA, including Professor Guy Ford’s Creativity, Innovation and Business unit, and applying tips from Dr. Kevin Lowe’s Leadership Practice and Development unit, I worked through a plan of action and milestones and was able to establish my NGO," he said.

Kevin Lenahan with volunteers in South Sudan

He also founded and leads 2 Retrievers, an export management and holding company specialising in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumables with four full-time employees and nearly ten contract workers serving three major client companies.

The company recently received FDA approval to import SMHeartCard, a heart attack first aid kit for people with coronary artery disease, into the USA from Canada.

"I did an audit recently on what I had wanted to carry out at the beginning of the program. I was surprised years later that I had completed almost all of those goals now, and it was primarily due to the University of Sydney family, curriculum, and experience."

This program helped me find my vision. We all leveraged our peers’ and instructors’ expertise and learning environment to build our success pathways. I believe the University of Sydney's MBA is great for students wishing to develop their enterprise as entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs.
Kevin Lenahan

While studying at the University, Kevin met multiple heads of state and Fortune 500 CEOs, and attributes his post-graduation success to the innovative strategies of the program.

"Most of our courses invited Australian businesses to bring their issues—related to the course subject—and allowed us to work and apply our teachings to help the client companies.  We’d have the flexibility to walk freely through companies and learn their problems from the ground up. We worked with all sorts of organizations, from non-profits to publicly traded companies, from banks to food – we got to experience it all!"

Kevin Lenahan (right) pictured with former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull AC (left) and Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC (center).

One of the biggest benefits of studying at the University of Sydney for Kevin, especially as an international student from the United States, was the diverse cohort and vibrant city culture.

"With a cap of 50 students, we were forced to interact, befriend, and grow with people we may not have socialized with otherwise. 18 different nationalities and numerous industries were represented in my class; it was truly diverse. There were no more than five people from the same country, virtually eliminating cultural cliques, and we all bonded together," he said. "It’s a family. Every morning you go to class, you are catching up with your friends and staff. It’s the kind of place and time where the weekends and weekdays blend together, in a good way."

"I enjoyed every day I was in Sydney. It was hands-down the happiest, best way to transition out of the military, find my purpose, and develop a pathway to get there. There is always something to do, people to meet, classes to take, nature to see, and experiences to have. I loved it there!"


Applications for the full-time MBA (Leadership and Enterprise) for the August 2021 cohort close on 15 June 2021. See more information and how to apply.

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