MBA alumni friendship expands across continents

April 30, 2019
Two alumni traveled to Peru to visit a third who was volunteering there for the Peace Corps.

Caron Sinnenberg, GB’14, always dreamed of pursuing community service on an international level, but originally put it aside to pursue a Richmond MBA. After participating in an International Residency in Latvia and working on a Capstone Project with a non-profit, inspiration hit. She decided to join the Peace Corps after graduation. 

“Exploring a new country in a business context through the International Residency was a great experience for me,” Sinnenberg said. “It was so eye-opening, and I knew I wanted to pursue my dream of volunteering for economic development internationally.”

In May 2016, Sinnenberg departed for Peru as a community economic development volunteer with the Peace Corps. Her job description had three main focuses: small business development, identifying economic opportunities in the community, and money management through the creation of community banks.

“My goals could not be accomplished without the finance, marketing, economics, strategy, organizational behavior, and operations classes that I took throughout The Richmond MBA. Richmond does a great job teaching graduate students problem solving skills through case studies, so I feel well prepared to go into businesses and help identify their needs and ways that I can help,” Sinnenberg said.

But beyond a degree, The Richmond MBA gave her so much more. While in the program, she met her two best friends, Sam Chin and Adam Tate, GB’14. Since graduating, they have traveled to Spain and Morocco together.

“When I told them I was going to Peru to join the Peace Corps, they immediately promised to visit,” Sinnenberg said. “They’re people I love traveling with, and we all wanted to take advantage of being in Peru.”

Chin remembers when Sinnenberg told him the news and knew he wanted to travel with her and Tate again. He says their visit solidified what he thinks will be a life-long friendship.

“Caron and Adam have both become big parts of my life,” Chin said. “Even though she was in Peru for more than two years, we are still close. I think that really shows the level of talent and community that The Richmond MBA curates.”

The three visited Machu Picchu, went jungle hiking, and spent a few days in Lima. Chin knows none of these experiences would have been possible without The Richmond MBA, which through the International Residency, sparked a passion for travel between the three friends, and created significant professional and personal opportunities after graduation.

“For me, the education has been incredibly invaluable in my career. Being part of the program was a professional decision that has resulted in a lot of success for me over the years,” Chin said. “The community, between the friends I made at school, the contacts I have met through the alumni network, and the program itself supporting me personally through my endeavors, The Richmond MBA has been a great ally in my life since graduation and that means a lot to me. I'm very grateful to be a Spider alumnus.”  

Debbie Fisher, associate director of The Richmond MBA, is so proud of the three alumni for staying connected, and supporting each other’s dreams.

“Caron shared so many neat stories about her adventures in the Peace Corps and the work she did for the communities she worked with,” Fisher said. “But what especially gave me a warm feeling was the fact that even in Peru, Caron stayed in contact with Sam and Adam. Then, they came to visit her and spent 10 days hiking and traveling together.”

Through these experiences, Sinnenberg says their friendship is inseparable, and shares Chin’s gratitude, even though at times they have been continents away from one another.

“We became close friends, and since then we’ve been glued together like a family,” Sinnenberg said. “I am so thankful for University of Richmond and the business school for fostering these relationships.”