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Covington Bien-Aime

Covington Bien-Aime, Business Administration

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“Haiti has been helped by a lot of people from a lot of countries, so I’m glad I had the opportunity to give a hand to South Carolina.”

As a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Covington Bien-Aime knows full well the devastating toll of natural disasters. He lived through the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 fellow Haitians and displaced another 3 million.

So when Bien-Aime, an MBA student in the Manning School of Business, learned about the opportunity this summer to help rebuild homes for flood victims in South Carolina through lecturer Olga Tines’ course Organizational Behavior in Action, he couldn’t say no.

“Haiti has been helped by a lot of people from a lot of countries, so I’m glad I had the opportunity to give a hand to South Carolina. That was meaningful for me,” says Bien-Aime, who along with Manning School undergrads Chelsie Hebert and Rahman Sarwar spent a week repairing homes in Andrews, S.C., a town that was heavily flooded following Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015.

The volunteer work was just the beginning of a busy summer for the 41-year-old Bien-Aime, who also took part in the Manning School’s Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation course.

“Learning from different cultures is very important, especially nowadays,” says Bien-Aime, who worked on a team with members from five different countries during the two-week course. “I learned not only how to build a team, but how to communicate with a team and be efficient. It’s all about communication, cooperation and coordination.”

International work is nothing new for Bien-Aime. After earning his bachelor’s degree in business in Haiti, he spent six years working in the human resources department for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

Bien-Aime, who now lives in Boston with his wife Martha and 3-year-old son Covington, Jr., expects to complete his MBA this fall. He and Martha, who have another child on the way, hope to one day return to Haiti and start their own bakery.

“The reason I want to have a business is I want to create jobs. I want to help others,” Bien-Aime says. “It’s not only for making money because at some point, when you try to help people, you’re going to be happy.”