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Kevin McKague (PhD ’12), a graduate of the Schulich School of Business, is this year’s recipient of a gold Governor General’s Academic Medal. He is dedicated to finding a way to alleviate global poverty and increase sustainability.
In his PhD thesis, Making Markets Work for the Poor, McKague investigated how low-income countries can maximize the objectives of all individuals in value chains, including improving the social and financial benefits for low-income participants and private sector organizations. His research site examined the work to strengthen the dairy value chain by CARE Bangladesh. It focused on improving incomes among 35,000 small and landless dairy producers in northwest Bangladesh.
McKague credits his family and growing up on a farm as being important in his focus on entrepreneurship, sustainability and alleviation of poverty. “My family have always be interested in public service,” says McKague. “I travelled to India and Africa in my early 20s to work in international development. I did my Masters of Business Administration at the Schulich School of Business and ever since then I have been putting entrepreneurship together with development.”
When he thinks about advice for future graduates, McKague is quick to quote the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. “Where your talents and the needs of the world cross; there lies your vocation,” says McKague, “I think it is important to combine what it is that is needed with what it is you can do to overlap your skills and passion with the needs of he world.”
The Governor General’s gold medal is awarded for outstanding academic achievement at the graduate level of study. It is the most prestigious award that can be bestowed on a Canadian graduate student. McKague will be presented with the medal on behalf of the Governor General by York University. Accompanying the medal is a personalized certificate that is signed by Governor General David Johnston.
While at York University, McKague was active as an adjunct professor at the Schulich School of Business. He was a senior research fellow with the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability. He was also a research fellow with the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. He was a member of the Board of Governors at York University and was the founding board member and president of the Foundation for Sustainable Enterprise and Development.
McKague has more than 10 years of experience as a leader in managing innovative research, education and consulting projects involving sustainable enterprise and international development. Most recently, he worked on major projects with the International Finance Corporation, the United Nations Development Program’s Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative, the International Development Research Centre and the Canadian International Development Agency on issues of sustainable business approaches and pro-poor private sector development.
The co-author of Creating Sustainable Enterprise Networks and author of a number of award-winning MBA teaching cases as well as author or supervisor for the development of more than 70 case studies of inclusive and sustainable business models.
McKague has an undergraduate degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, which focused on international development, and an MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business, with a specialization in Business and Sustainability. He has worked in Africa, including Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and South Africa, as well as in India and Bangladesh.
Now a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Strategy Department in the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, McKague is continuing his research and teaching with an emphasis on issues at the intersection of poverty alleviation, entrepreneurship, sustainability and international business.