In an increasingly global economy, international experience for Indiana University MBA candidates comes from hands-on work in the field as much as the classroom. A group of students, led by Dr. Phil Powell, travel to Peru to help local entrepreneurs tackle business challenges using cutting edge business practices. The Kelley MBA GLOBASE initiative provides a unique social enterprise experience by partnering with Peruvian businesses to make a global impact.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Warm and Fuzzy

When we came back from spring break in Peru, the weather in Indiana was lovely. It felt like a change was in the air, partially from mother nature, and partially from what we had learned throughout the past 10 weeks now. But like our consulting projects, the weather changed before I knew it, and I soon had the opportunity to wear the cozy handmade 100% alpaca wool fashions that I got from my client, OriginAlpaca. As I type this, I am wearing my new scarf. To most of my classmates, it is just a scarf. But when my GLOBASE classmates see me wearing it, they know. The scarf is my love of a company I knew nothing about a few months ago. It's my desire to share the value proposition of a product I so intimately know with the world. It's a connection between me and my other teammates, who understand every detail that goes into the scarf, and the thoughts that go through the consumers' minds when considering purchasing it. It's the sweat and the laughter and the blood and the tears that went into our final presentation. And that makes my scarf extra warm and fuzzy on a cold March day. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where Do We Go From Here?

We are back. The bags are unpacked. I have even done laundry. I am back in my home, with my stuff, near my friends. Why do I feel like I am missing something? What did I forget in Peru? It has taken me a few days, but now I know. I left a part of myself. I had the enviable opportunity to share my culture with others and to, in turn, have them share their culture with me. This for me was too full of positives to list them all here. Rest assured though, loyal readers, it was a part of me that I willingly left and what I received in turn has made me more complete and more fulfilled than I was on the day we all started this journey. Until next time, this is Scott signing off.

Year One Down, Hopefully Many More to Come!

For as long as we have been talking about GLOBASE and Spring Break 2009, it sure did fly by quickly. Now we're back in the States and in Day 3 of classes in my final 7 weeks at Kelley.

I would have written sooner, but it has taken me a few days to process what just happened. We did it... and it was a success!

Our final days in Lima went very fast but they were memorable. After a few long Kelley Case Competition-like days of wrapping up our consulting projects, we made it to the final presentation day. All of the Kelley groups and companies assembled at the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Lima.

We started on Peruvian time - 40 minutes late - but once we got going, I think things really went well. Some of our clients commented on how they learned not only from the presentation created for them but from the presentations given by other groups as well. The Executive Director of AMCHAM had not planned to stay past the introduction but he ended up staying through the first part of the presentations and seemed quite pleased. After all of the presentations were completed, we lingered for a while to share parting comments. (Then my group headed off to our second multi-hour Peruvian lunch with our client!).

So we made it to Peru, did what we said we would do, had some fun and made it home safely. What now?

Hopefully GLOBASE 2009 is the first of many Kelley GLOBASE trips to come. We have learned a lot along the way and there's definitely room for improvement; but I think this was a pretty good start. We launched a new service-oriented program at the Kelley School, gained a hands-on international business experience from the perspective of small businesses operating in developing countries, and found solid in-country partners to help facilitate future projects. I am very thankful for all of the support we received from multiple departments at Kelley and the dedication of our 20 students to the big task.

So this is where I sign off. The end is bittersweet but the memories and take-a-ways will last a long time. I look forward to following the progress of future classes for years to come!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All good things must come to an end

It was a bitter sweet moment when I placed my foot back on American soil. I was happy to be returning home to see family, yet I already missed the food, weather and people I met in Peru.

GLOBASE was an amazing experience to take my MBA skills and apply them to a business in Peru. Working with Mili Blume and her staff was a mutually beneficial experience. I learned about the Peruvian business climate, exportation strategies, and how businesses compete on a local level. Hopefully, Mili benefited from our consulting recommendations in attending trade shows, e-commerce, and inventory management. I cherish my relationship with Mili and hope to remain in touch with her for a very long time.

Finally, I cannot forget to mention the two highlights of my trip; Machu Pichu and Paragliding. I am forever thankful for the opportunity to see one of the 7 Wonders of the World as well as having my heart beat through my shirt while floating 300 feet above the ground below.

The next time I got to Peru, I will bring my wife and consider buying only a 1 way ticket!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Picture is worth...

I can write for days about my experience here in Peru. In lieu of boring you; take a look at these six thousand words:

Cusco and Machu Picchu... more pictures!

Welcome to the Home Stretch

We submit our final presentation slide deck at 5:00pm today to be printed. Between now and then, you say? Proofread the deck for those idiot typos everyone in the world makes under pressure and practice to make sure the timing works out.

We have plans for a nice dinner, organized by someone other than me. I am not sure but I think the restaurant's name translates into "Witch." One thing I have grow very appreciative of during my time here has been the openness and creativity of Peru and the people. Names for restaurants and other places are sometimes scary, enlightening, sexy, hopeful, and other eye-catching things. It has added a spice to my life that I find ad hoc at best in the US. I will miss it.

Am I feeling bittersweet right now? I think so. I will write more about that later.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Don't Eat the Tomatoes!

My roommate, Liz, and I missed the continental breakfast at our hotel this morning, so we decided to look for something quick to eat in the neighborhood. We asked for a suggestion at the hotel, but the man at the front desk recommended the main square, which was a touristy area that we knew would take more time than we had. Instead, we ran down the street and found a local place that had desayuno (breakfast) for 3 soles ($1). What a deal! We decided it was worth a try, though we were not quite sure what would arrive on our plates. When it arrived, we found a delicious mix of fried meat, potatoes, rice, and a piece of lettuce with two tomatoes. We were both eyeing the vegetables, but knew better. 

Our group has learned the hard way that it's not safe to eat anything that may have possibly touched the water. But even after all of the Cipro our group has gone through, we have a tendency to forget, or maybe to tempt fate. It's just so easy to forget we are not at home, and the patterns we are used to, like using tap water to brush are teeth, do not work. So a few minutes later, I found myself yelling across the table, "Liz, don't eat the tomatoes! And don't even think about the lettuce." I imagine in a few days we will be sitting at a restaurant in the States with tomatoes on our plates and it will hit us - we can finally eat the tomatoes. 

Cramped Buses, Digital Cameras, And The Most Amazing Thing I Have Ever Seen

Today I got up at 6:00am, ate a plain breakfast, and boarded a bus. Shortly thereafter we arrived at a train station where we took a 3 hour train ride with backpackers and tourists through what I can only describe as rain forest. Fallen rocks thwarted our first attempt down the main track so after some fancy reverse train driving we found ourselves underway again on the secondary track. We arrived at this small but populated mountain village where we all immediately boarded a warm bus and began a 30 minute climb up some impressively steep switch backs. Then we arrived at Manchu Picchu and it may in fact have been the most amazing thing I have ever seen.

I don’t want my lack of detail on Manchu Picchu to communicate any dullness of experience. Quite the contrary. I hope that my brevity underscores the sheer power of that amazing place. Seeing it is to remember the wonder and excitement of your first Christmas morning, your first kiss, or your first head-over-heels love. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen and despite the many pictures taken, I need none for the impression will never fade.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

To All the Single Ladies:

Sunday is the best day to find a fiancee. This is according to Selena, our tour guide in Cusco and Machu Picchu. We met a very nice family of locals dressed in local attire. The women, both named Susan, were carrying three babies and had yellow flowers in their hats. As Selena explained, the color of the flowers signifies that they are married. White flowers signify that a woman is single, but not necessarily a virgin. It's like a really big wedding ring, or lack thereof. The locals can go to Machu Picchu for free on Sundays, so they occasionally do. And if they are having a good day, they find a fiancee. All of us GLOBASE-ers had a pretty great day, but I don't think any of us will be switching to the yellow flowers because of our expedition. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Seeing a Clearer Picture

It's amazing how much more you learn when you're on the ground and working directly with the client. I can now appreciate why it's so important for consultants to spend so much time onsite with their clients (and I'll try to keep telling myself that when I'm travelling a bunch next year in my new job).

Our team has come such a long way in just four days of working with our client. We spent seven weeks trying to prepare for this visit, but we couldn't possibly have provided as valuable and relevant of a recommendation without visiting in person.

After our first day in the Inkasign office with the owner and designers, we ventured out to one of the production facilities on the second day (Wednesday). This was our first trip outside of the nicer areas of Lima. We finally got a chance to see a more realistic side of Peru and see the people whose lives are most affected by Inkasign's ability to grow and create more opportunity.

We also gained a more intimate understanding of how exactly the product is made. I can't say the machines were particularly new, the plant particularly cool or the smell particularly sweet; but the conditions definitely weren't terrible. The owner of Inkasign is good to his employees and seems to pay a fair wage, but the entire area where the goods are made is below a poverty level that we see in the US.

On Thursday, two other members of the our team headed to an even poorer area with dirt roads and a small, enclosed cinder block production room to see a contractor who also makes Inkasign's goods. I stayed behind to work on other project research but wish I would have gone.

So things are really starting to come together. We presented our rough draft to the group today and have decided on our recommendations. Now we just need to polish things off.

Tomorrow it's off to Cusco and Machu Picchu for the weekend!

Little by little one walks far

As I was looking for the words, las palabras, to express my experience thus far in Peru, I began to consider my journey with my teammates aka compaƱeros.

When we began our team assignment, there was a natural enthusiasm yet mild trepidation around our scope and interpretation of our clients' needs.

Yet, as we began to discover more about the client and its main product, baba de caracol, our enthusiasm and curiosity turned into productive actions like research and finally a clear plan on how we would venture to assist our small business.

At times it seemed as though our progress was slow and sometimes inexistent but as the proverb mentioned in the title implies, over time our success was evident. Each nudge toward our answer showed the distance behind us ... The planning and research done prior to coming to Peru served to be a skeleton for the work our client needed from us.

In our picture above, we have just finished listening to the client's 'story'. After the photo was taken, we enjoyed Inca colas and ceviche while getting to know our clients better. Business in Peru is much more relational and personal than my experiences in the U.S. Even though the majority of my teammates do not fully speak or understand Spanish, our communication with the clients could not have been better. Thanks to the help of genuine kindness, smiles and frequent translations from Monica - our team learned more about the client than their business. We learned about their families, origin and history of their country, Peru.

Although no business was accomplished, we accomplished the task of gaining a bit of trust and understanding. Little by little the distance of who we were and why we were there decreased ...

After lunch, we showed our clients our work thus far and were blown away by the genuine appreciation, desire to understand and need to learn more. It was humbling to be able to provide a medical doctor and his team of managers with findings based on our surveys and research. Moreover, it allowed us to see the fruit of all the research and deliberation that went into prior to coming to Peru.

Little by little one walks far ...

Although we are not 100% finished with the project, our sense of purpose is high. We are excited to go forward ...

Sorry for the length ... yet I felt the need to convey this thought fully!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Guess who?

Our hotel hosted a surprise guest for a private party tonight...Marc Anthony, a.k.a. Mr. Jennifer Lopez. Although he was here in our hotel, we had a scheduled event to meet one of our distinguished alum. I must admit, meeting Marc Anthony would have been nice, but we had a great time meeting Alphonso Brazzini, a Kelley School of Business alum from 1969. Mr. Brazzini is the owner of the JW Marrriott here in Lima. Senor Brazzini is an amazing host and shared many of his personal stories with us. His hotel is the best in Lima and has hosted President Bush on several occasions. As a matter of fact, Colin Powell was staying at this hotel on the day of September 11th. Spending the evening with Mr. Brazzini at his beautiful hotel is another example of the great time we are having in Lima, Peru.

BTW, you can check out the JW Marriott in Lima here:

Something New, Something Old

Something new. Meet the team. Liz, KP, Denise, and myself.
Something old. In the background is one the most famous pyramids in Lima. As I was told, it is pre-Mayan. As I observed, it is awe inspiring.

Is The World Smaller, Bigger, or Just Better?

I don't really know where to start.

Today we were onsite with our client. What an amazing experience. This company went way out of their way to ensure we could get all our questions answered. They also gave us a tour of their manufacturing facility. My team is focusing on delivering a great set of recommendations in the hopes of adding value to our client and their business. Despite this focus, I find that I am continually pondering the many nonbusiness things that make their culture different from mine and likewise those things that make it similar. Humor to make people comfortable, kissing on the cheek as a ordinary greeting, a love of sharing favorite dishes over lunch, office politics, helpful co-workers, self-conscienceness, arrogance, and on and on. I don't think I will comment on which of the above are cultural similarities and which are differences because that is not really the point. These thing represent us. As people. We have common ground and unfamiliar ground but we all are standing on it.

I don't really know what my point is here. I guess that I just feel that the world is smaller than I previously thought. There are differences but so many similarities as well. I will resist the urge to say something as silly as "I feel more connected to those around me," but I do think I will end the day with a drink downstairs and strike up a conversation with a stranger not knowing where the topic will go but knowing we can share.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My first time...

Today was a day of firsts. We traveled to lunch with our client, Mili Blume, and dined at an upscale traditional Peruvian restaurant. Marcos ordered a very exotic dish complete with cow stomach, cow heart, chicken heart and assorted other meats. Mike Seeger opted for the swordfish and Lucia Chen had fried porkchops.

Now it's time to guess what I ate? Okay, okay, I admit; I did not have anything too exotic (a variation of steak), but I did try the swordfish and chicken hearts! The chicken hearts were not too bad-they actually tasted like sausage.

The second first I had was venturing to a custom tailor. My roommate Eric and I purchased 2 custom dress shirts each. The feeling of getting measured by a tailor for perfectly made-to-fit shirts was awesome. I may end up going back for a custom suit...who knows?

Clash of Cultures (A Time Perspective)

The culture of Peru is one that is relaxed with respect to punctuality. Not all that bad really except that is is very much against my nature.

My team was late for our meeting this morning. When in Rome, do as the Romans. "Another coffee and how about that pastry there? Muchas gracias."

We're not that different

As I sat around the table of the Inkasign office on the second floor of an apartment building in the San Isidro area of Lima, I was wishing that I had taken Spanish growing up. My head had started to hurt a little bit from focusing so hard on trying to understand what everyone was saying.

Then I looked across the table at my teammate from Brazil who was having a great conversation with our client. He was much better as Spanish than he let on and seemed to be really enjoying himself. Everyone was having a bit of a hard time hearing because there was a good breeze coming through the open windows and the sounds of traffic on the street below were pretty loud.

I returned to the conversation because another teammate had just turned to me to translate the last few minutes. They had been joking about something and when I heard it in English, I started laughing too.

After our meeting, the owner of the company hosted us for lunch at a nearby restaurant. Our team of four was joined by he and the three women working in his small office. One of the women spoke English pretty well and another one was trying to learn.

Over our 2+ hour lunch, we talked about our families, culture, music, religion, political views, food preferences and plans for going dancing one night while we're here. I'm not sure if it was the pisco sours we were drinking or just my growing comfort with understanding a little Spanish, but I no longer had a headache and I wasn't worried about the language barrier. We were all enjoying each other's company and I realized that even across another continent, we're not that different.

So we had a great first day with our client. Not only did we get a clearer picture of their business issues but we got to put faces and personalities to the names, despite a language barrier.

I'm looking forward to visits to the plant and store today after we work from the hotel in the morning. I'll report more later.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Photos as promised

Various photos from our travels thus far:

Thankful for Cafes and Sun

My team and I have spent most of the day working in the cafe on the first floor of our hotel. Might I recommend the chocolate brownie. We have ostensibly taken over the glassed in patio area and have been cranking away on data research. The afternoon has been punctuated with cheers at finding good resources and frowns brought on by finding the perfect research report that costs $3500.00. The sun has been nice.

I have included a video from my web cam. Three things become immediately apparent. (1) We are in an amazing city. (2) The team is diligently working away. (3) I have no business operating a camera.

Why we are here

Although this is spring break, the real reason we are here is for our GLOBASE project. GLOBASE is a course that matches up a small Peruvian company with MBA students from Kelley. Yesterday we met with Apomipe, which is a non profit agency that serves rural companies in Peru. We had a presentation from Inter Cooperation which is a division of Apomipe which specifically works with natural resources in Peru. You can see more about them here:

My team is working with a silver jewelry manufacturer, Mili Blume. I will fill in the details about her shop later today. For now, check out her website at:

After Apomipe, we decided to go back to the hotel to change clothes and then depart for dinner. Several members of our group found several restaurant choices about 1/2 mile away. The weather was great, so we decided to walk instead of taking a taxi. After watching a beautiful sunset over the Pacific we decided to eat at Magoe's restaurant. The restaurant was situated high on a cliff overlooking the ocean. We couldn't ask for a better location.

The group all ordered the local drink favorite-a Pisco. I am not sure what is was made of, however it was quite tasty. Dinner was a variety of ceviche, calamari, and kabobs. The food was by far the freshest you could imagine. I also became aquanted with Cusquenos, the local beer-similar to Bud Light.

After dinner, we decided to make a "quick" stop at the casino. The interesting part about the casino is that they do not accept soles (the local currency), they only accepted American dollars. It really didn't matter because I only ended up donating my $25 to the Peruvian economy.

Next up...the details from Mili Blume. Buenos tardes!

Getting Settled

Day 1 flew by quickly. We got settled in Lima, touched base as a large group on our in-country work plans and visited a future potential NGO partner.

We also had a chance to get acclimated to Lima and get a taste of the Peruvian culture! Lima is a much cleaner city than other big cities I've visited in developing countries. We enjoyed great weather, walking through the Mirafloures area and a fun group dinner overlooking the ocean (I have great seafood paella!).

Tomorrow, we're off to our client site for the first day. We'll review our pre-trip research that we sent to our primary contact over the weekend and get a tour of the office.

I'll report back on how it goes!

Good Luck And Goodnight

Tomorrow we drive in deep with our company and our research. My team is pumped, we are excited about finding new information, and we think our client will find good value in what we are doing.

Now if I can just stop worrying about "wowing" them and get to sleep,

Stark Perspective

We were hosted by APOMIPE today. I was humbled and inspired by what I heard. The folks there have difficulties with funding of their own. Despite this issue, the people we met were passionate and dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed in reaching their dreams.

Congratulations and thanks again to everyone at APOMIPE. Today, and everyday, you have been awesome.

Monday, March 9, 2009

No Matter Where, No Matter When

I have a meeting in town in a few minutes but I wanted to comfort everyone regarding one fact. I now am feeling more confident in my ability to find the basic necessities of life wherever I go. Not 2 blocks from our hotel I have found a indoor/outdoor rock climbing gym. Water, food, shelter, rock climbing. At least I will be ok. The proprietor was very friendly and he had a lovable dog named Gringa. I will return.

The Morning Sun

I awoke from the morning sun shining down on my face. Trust me, thsi is not how I planned to wake up, its just that my roommate Eric and I forgot to close the curtains! From our hotel room on the 16th floor, we can see the Pacific Ocean, downtown Miraflores, and what looks to be the highlands of the Andes Mountains. This hotel is nice.

After viewing the sites from the room, we ventured down for breakfast. WOW, was my first impression. Freshly squeezed guava, orange, and pineapple juice was just the beginning. Made to order omelettes, french toast, silver-dollar pancakes, fruit, pastries-everything you could wish for; and all served buffett style. If I haven't said it already, this hotel is very nice.

After breakfast, off to explore the rest of the hotel-a tour of the shops and common areas took me to the gimnasia y piscina (gym and pool). Of course I had to get my workout in and then jump into the heated pool-complete with waterfall. Wait until you see my pictures...

Did I mention, this hotel is awseome? Until I upload my photos, check out these two links:

Off to get ready to start the day...Buenos Dias!

Oh how sweet it is ...

Well, we finally made it to Lima! Our hotel, Casa Andina, is pictersque.

So of course a few of us just could not get a good night sleep w/o checking out the town ...

We found a 24 market and decided to purchase water, juice and some fruit ...
A Brazilian friend of mine suggested we try golden passion fruit also know as maracuya. The aroma of this fruit alone was inticing but the taste ... Oh how sweet it is ... the taste was perfect - a blend of the bitter, in the seeds, and the sweet in the juice--

... Until tomorrow

And Goodnight

We just checked into our hotel. Many thanks to Mike for arranging such a great place to stay. Chris and I ventured into town to find a store and to stock up on water and some snacks. I am intrigued by the mixing of the culture I identify with and that of Peru. On the shelf right next to each other was Famous Amos Cookies (certainly a favorite of mine) and Glope, a chocolate wafer treat. Coca-Cola next to Inca Cola.

Everyone has been really great and very helpful. Special thanks to Ralph, our guide from the airport. He has already shown such pride in his country, I am humbled by the prospect of getting to experience it myself tomorrow.

Exploring and sharing starts to tomorrow but right now, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

Lo siento...

"Lo siento, digame in ingles por favor." These were my first words when we landed in Peru. I was apologizing to someone for my lack of understanding because they were speaking too fast in spanish. Stepping foot onto the South American continent for the first time was great. After a 6 1/2 hour flight, I am happy to be off the airplane.

After spending 40 minutes in immigration, we loaded a bus ride to our hotel. Our tour guide, Ralph, shared a few intersting facts along the way; Lima is home to 9 million people (that's 1/3 of the entire population of Peru), it never rains in Lima, and Lima is directly on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Travling through Lima I noticed several familiar signs including KFC, Papa John's, Citibank, and Starbuck's (are they everywhere?)

The hotel is great-free WIFI, nice stores, and a great bar/lounge. I am thankful to be on this trip and I look forward to the next 9 days...until next time, Adios!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Credit Where Credit Is Due

I just witnessed something that has compelled me to launch a campaign to redefine the word "awesome."

A small group of people have set up a table and are collecting donations here at the airport to help fund cancer and other tragic disease research. I small boy, no taller than my belt, very proudly and with a grim, determined look of satisfaction, put a handful of change in the donation bucket. It made me smile in that way that makes you hopeful in general.

I would like to give that young man a high-five. No longer in my mind is being awesome having the right friends, the best car, the right clothes. Awesome is reaching outside yourself. Giving. Helping when you don't even know the end result of your contribution. It is a little boy trading a few minutes at the arcade to help someone else he will never meet.

Have you been awesome today?

Welcome To The Lone Star State

We just finished eating lunch in Texas. I have never been to Texas before. According to various sources on the internet, Texas is famous for the Texas Longhorns, Big Bend National Park, The Alamo, oil, fantastic food erroneously called Mexican food, and is an under rated gem in the winery scene. The state also happens to be the home of a truly mediocre chicken sandwich found in concourse E.

Next stop, Lima Peru.

Baba de Caracol ... Who knew?

One of the many reasons why Kelley has been a good choice for me ...

The opportunity came quickly in the year ...

Should I spend my spring break doing the normal stuff students do or will I join a group of students who wanted to positively change the world?

The choice was easy ...

I am so excited to be traveling to Peru with 20 other Kelley students ... Myself and team members (Monica, Matt and Kunal) will be consulting a small Peruvian company, Galeon Suppy, on an engagement. They sell an ingredient for skin care called, Baba de Caracol.

Theres so much to tell but now I have to board my flight or I will be left ...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Checklist...

I remember the days when my mother and father sent me off to summer camp in upstate New York. "Do you have your toothbrush, socks, enough money, etc?" They made me write out a checklist so I wouldn't forget anything. Well, these are the final hours before our trip to Peru and I think I packed all of the essentials:

  • Passport
  • Suit
  • Socks, t-shirts, and boxers
  • tooshbrush and deodorant
  • charging cords for various gadgets (ipod, laptop, etc.)
  • UNO cards

I even set up a Skype account so I can communicate with my family while I am gone. Mom and Dad would be proud of me; by the way, I need to call them and ask to borrow some money!

All Packed

Have all my stuff ready to go. Nice shirts, a couple of suits, a toothbrush, and a couple of other things that ultimately contributed to my check baggage possibly weighing more than my car.

Our bus to the airport boards at 6:15am which means my alarm goes off at 5:00am. My dad calls this "fishing-early," because only people who are out on a boat throwing hooks in the water are awake.

We are all excited. It is an adventure and one that will change for the better how we live in our world. But before all that, I just hope Starbucks is open early.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why Did I Show Up?

As I stand here and pack my last pair of socks, I find myself reflecting on just what brought me to this point. Why did I show up? Here. Globase.

I think it was because I wanted to decide what the best practices are from all over the world, not just from the US. I decided that my need to learn about people and their culture is never satisfied. I decided that the world can in fact be made better by reaching out and helping others for no better reason than to help. I decided that I feel like a better global citizen when I make myself a part of that globe, not just exist in my corner of it. I decided I have a lot to learn from our amazing Peruvian counterparts (and hope I have a lot to give). I decided to throw myself into the unknown, knowing that I would be made richer for it and in exchange hopefully enrich someone else's life.

A famous person once said, "decisions are made by those who show up." So why did I show up? I wanted to decide.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Peru At Last!

I still can't believe that we're actually going. March arrived before I knew it ever could, but it seems like a long time since last August when I decided to join the GLOBASE planning team.

My desire to do a project like this dates back much further than August. Back in 2005, I spent some time teaching English in Africa. As with any trip like that, you go into it thinking that your life will probably be changed in some way. My family likely feared that I'd stay over there and I worried that I might not want to go back into business when I returned. Interestingly, neither of those changes occurred with me.

One of my main take-a-ways from the experience was that my personal volunteer efforts couldn't actually make that much of an impact. The areas of Kenya and Ghana where I lived needed better education and economic development on a broad scale before the situation could be improved. I knew that I would be a much better use once I could offer more sustainable aid...

Fast forward almost four years...

After Africa, I returned to my job at a software company. I really enjoyed my job and was privileged to coach high school basketball on the side too, which helped satisfy my desire to include social service in my life.

My first year of business school was so busy that I barely had a chance to realize I missed coaching and something was missing in my life. By the spring of that year (last year), I started to look for that next opportunity to get involved in a challenging service project. I looked into the idea of taking MBA's to Ghana but just ran out of time to plan it.

I then heard that Tania and Monica were creating a new program focused on providing service to entrepreneurs in developing countries... I was immediately interested.

As soon as we returned from our summer internships in the fall, Tania and Monica began to recruit additional people for the leadership team. I quickly expressed interest and joined the team.

Since then, the leadership team has been creating and adapting a social enterprise focused program with the goal of helping entrepreneurs in developing countries. We are joined by 15 very talented first-years, 1 PhD student, a faculty advisor and a videographer. The last 6 months have been eventful, but we're finally here.

I look forward to sharing my side of the experience...