Those who think business majors lead dull and boring lives have never met Dean Rosenwald. He is a serial entrepreneur, accomplished kickboxer, aspiring author, and a fluent speaker of three languages.
The latest venture of the 2012 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration aims to correct a terrible legacy of the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. He is the founder and CEO of the new nonprofit An Phuc America, which seeks to raise money for Vietnamese citizens born with birth defects and other adverse health effects due to exposure to Agent Orange.
Agent Orange is a herbicide that was deployed by the U.S. military in Vietnam from 1961 to 1971 for the purpose of killing vegetation in rural areas so that enemy fighters couldn’t hide in the dense foliage. The chemical seeped into the groundwater and poisoned civilians.
“There are three goals for this nonprofit initiative,” Rosenwald says. “The first is to spread awareness of what Agent Orange is and how it has hurt people. The second is to raise money. And the third is to use that money to help the victims.”
Rosenwald, a native of the Philadelphia area, had learned about Agent Orange in high school, but it wasn’t until a visit to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam that he realized the true magnitude of its harmful effects. At the time, he was traveling in Asia for advanced martial arts training. He specializes in Muay Thai and has fought, and won, several international matches. (Watch a video of his 2015 match in Thailand.)
“The combination of learning about the extent of the damage of Agent Orange and the modern impact on families and the terrible effects on victims living with it…it moved me to tears,” Rosenwald says.
According to Rosenwald, the Vietnamese government will only provide treatment to people suffering health effects from Agent Orange if their parents served in the war. By his estimate, about 70 percent of people suffering the effects of Agent Orange do not qualify for this designation. The nature of the Vietnam War resulted in high civilian casualties.
Rosenwald’s nonprofit takes its name from the An Phuc charity house in Vietnam. The organization provides housing to survivors of Agent Orange and equips them with vocational skills.
While Rosenwald considers An Phuc America his most important project, he relies on other entrepreneurial ventures to earn a living. He lives in Santa Monica, Calif. and founded Beach Street Bikes to provide bike rentals via a U-Haul truck to crowded beach areas.
Rosenwald is also a co-founder and chief communications officer of SolarCell LLC. The company, which was a winner of the University of Pittsburgh’s Randall Family Big Idea Competition in 2014, generates renewable, solar-powered energy. Their first project was a bio-shelter in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood, which is growing produce via aquaponics for the community. He says SolarCell LLC is currently in talks for an urban farm in Philadelphia.
The newest project for Rosenwald is a nonfiction book. He is shopping his manuscript to publishers, titled: Get In, Get Out, Get Hired! An Inside Look Into American MBA Programs: How To Get Accepted, Succeed Academically, And Obtain The Job You’ve Always Wanted. He is also considering developing coaching sessions for graduate business schools to support the lessons from his book. Rosenwald is a 2015 graduate of Pitt’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, where he earned his MBA and a Master’s in International Business.
“The whole book is about having an entrepreneurial mindset to graduate school, finding the right people to work with. The whole of an MBA program is a social experience,” Rosenwald says.
Rosenwald says he plans to donate 5 percent of the proceeds from his book sales to An Phuc America.
Looking back at his professional success, Rosenwald credits his Pitt Business academic advisor, Kathy Rafferty, who is part of an advising department ranked No. 1 among U.S. public business schools, for helping him chart an unusual pathway in college.
In addition to earning his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, Rosenwald completed an honors thesis in psychology on the subject of how people diagnosed with depression have a tendency to smile differently when they are depressed. His honors thesis was published in the psychology journal Image and Computer Vision and via the National Institute of Health. (Read the published article here.)
In his junior year, Rosenwald completed a yearlong study abroad program in Spain where he took courses in business and psychology that were taught in Spanish at a Spanish university. He was the only American student in those classes. This lead to him becoming fluent in Spanish, and he later learned Portuguese by completing an extended stay in Brazil through the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLASF), which he received as a Katz student.
“Kathy [his Pitt Business advisor] was a lifesaver a million times over. I would not have had the success I have had without Kathy teaching me and helping me with my unconventional academic path,” Rosenwald says.
With his degree from Pitt Business, Rosenwald has continued on his unconventional path in the business world. It has allowed him to combine his passion for creating new products with a desire to help the less fortunate. He hopes his nonprofit An Phuc America will help alleviate some of the sufferings of Vietnamese citizens exposed to Agent Orange.
“I’m an entrepreneur. I saw as an entrepreneur that there was no accountability for the effects of Agent Orange in the United States. I’m building a platform to allow U.S. citizens to take some accountability,” he says.
To learn more and make a donation, visit An Phuc America. If you would like to get involved with An Phuc America as a volunteer, you can email Dean directly at email@example.com.
Innovation Programs at Pitt Business
- Certificate Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Certificate Program in International Business
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship Resources at Pitt business, including Entrepreneurs in Residence
Year of Global
Pitt Business has developed a robust portfolio of globally relevant programs and initiatives in support of the University of Pittsburgh’s Year of Global initiative in 2018-19. Visit the Pitt Business Year of Global webpage for more information.