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.

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...

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