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One of the highlights of the Global MBA programs is the Consulting Abroad Project (CAP). As a first year student, all GMBAs are required to participate in one of several CAPs that place our classmates around the globe and utilize the business skills they spent their first year developing. CAP is an incredible way to finish off your studies while traveling with your friends across the world!
For my CAP project I traveled to Kigali, Rwanda. Having never been to Africa before, or south of the equator for that matter, working in Rwanda forced me to challenge myself and pursue opportunities outside my comfort zone. Coming from a corporate background, doing business in Rwanda meant shedding many of the preconceived notions of business practices I had developed in my professional experiences and replacing those with a more entrepreneurial outlook.
In Rwanda I worked directly with a small-business owner looking to introduce “coffee-tourism” to his already operating coffee plantation. Having survived the 1994 genocide, our client’s goal was to revitalize his community through opportunities at the coffee plantation.
Our team was able to analyze his business plan, forecast his costs and revenues through financial modeling, and develop a brand marketing strategy plan for our client that brought the story of his coffee plantation to life. The highlight of our trip to Rwanda was undoubtedly the relationship we built with our client; from hiking the fields of the plantation to discussing strategy over cups of delicious coffee, we were extremely proud of the final product we were able to deliver to our client and struggled to say goodbye! Thankfully, our client made sure we returned to D.C. with some of his amazing coffee to share with our classmates.
Consulting internationally in Rwanda was a defining moment in my business school career. Not only did the experience introduce me to a part of the world I had never visited previously, it also taught me how to think on my feet and use my business skills to their full potential. And while CAP is an academic experience, we had a lot of fun too; from day-trips to Lake Kivu to a weekend safari, Rwanda allowed me to meet some of the most amazing people, try the tastiest passion fruit, and even get chased by elephants!
There is never a dull moment in the MBA. The past two weeks have been filled with travels. Many of us went to Atlanta where we attended the 2014 National Black MBA Association Career Conference and later Philadelphia where the 2014 National Society of Hispanic MBAs Conference was held. These conferences, which become a staple of any MBA, provide you with the opportunity to network and potentially interview for both internships and full time offers with top Fortune 500 companies including Samsung, General Electric, ExxonMobil, Microsoft, Accenture, Johnson & Johnson, Delta Airlines, GlaxoSmithKline, and many more!
For many of my colleagues, it was their first experience, which was a bit overwhelming. Picture this, a large convention center filled with dozens of booths and several hundred people walking around, waiting in line, talking to recruiters, and hoping to secure some interviews. Sounds like a lot right? At first it could be a bit unnerving, especially when you have to compete with students from other MBAs. Yet, you will have to deal with those types of situations in the business world, so getting practice early in the year is an advantage. It is also a great educational experience that provides perspective on the amount of opportunities there are for people with business degrees and the immensity of companies that are interested in MBA talent. One of the most valuable outcomes of these career fairs is the networking component. You get to meet a diverse group of people and hear about their careers and experiences. You also have the opportunity to share your story and connect with people that may end up providing you with a great opportunity in the future. In the very least, it’s an excuse to travel to a new city!
Aside from the fairs, you have the opportunity to explore the city itself. I had never been to Atlanta or Philadelphia before, but I was able to explore the city with friends. It was a nice way to take a break from the hustle of Washington, D.C. and also a great opportunity to explore other job markets and see whether these cities may potentially be your residence for the summer or for the post-MBA years. There are a couple of other fairs coming up such as the Net Impact Fair in Minneapolis and the National Asian MBA Association in Boston. Now that we are back in D.C., it is time for us to catch up on work and follow up on those career leads. Although I am a bit exhausted, I look forward to the prospect of interviewing with some of the companies I spoke to and see what job offers I end up getting. Stay tuned
What a year! I never expected that my first year of business school at GW would have given me so many experiences. The wealth of knowledge that I gained was immense, and although there were some intimidating times (especially during data analysis and accounting), I welcomed a good challenge. I am not going to lie, I was unsure of myself at first, especially when being surrounded by such smart and intellectual individuals but then I realized that we were all a little unsure of ourselves. Yet, as long as you have a good support network of professors and friends (which all of us had), you will do great. So after a crazy and exhausting 1st year, we welcomed summer with open arms.
What’s the best way to kick-off your summer as an MBA? By going abroad and getting an extraordinary internship of course! The GMBAs had the once in a lifetime opportunity to travel the globe and put their business skills to the test in places such as China, Turkey, India, Rwanda, and Argentina for the Consulting Abroad Projects. Seeing all that hard work pay off and having the experience of spending two weeks in a foreign country with some of your best friends is quite an experience. Throughout the summer my friends and colleagues, had incredible internships in various industries including consulting, finance, marketing, sports, human resources, strategy, and much more. We got to apply the skills we learned in class, solve real-world business problems, make lasting connections, and learn what our ultimate careers would look like. I interned with a federal human capital consulting firm where I got to work on a variety of projects for agencies of the US government including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.
Looking back at the summer, many of us put our experiences into perspective and realized what an MBA really means. It isn’t just about learning how to manage a business but how to make an impact in a global context and finding your role in the greater scheme of things. Now we look forward to our 2nd years with much enthusiasm and wonder what GW has in store for us. Stay tuned to find out more!
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