In 2008, 21 UM students spread out across the world for WDI-sponsored internships in a number of fields.
The students’ work assignments varied from Asia and Africa, Central and South America, and the United States. The interns’ responsibilities ranged from writing business plans to gathering data to assessing the impact of various projects.
The summer internships are broken up into two categories – self-generated and initiative driven.
Students who chose to do a self-generated internship identified and contacted an organization in an emerging market that is doing innovative work. The student, along with the organization, co-defined an opportunity, received a commitment from the organization, and submitted a proposal to WDI.
Students who chose a WDI initiative driven internship partnered with an organization identified by the Institute that is doing work related to one of its three research initiatives: social enterprise, base of the pyramid, and globalization of services.
Initiative Driven Internships
Emily Friedberg worked in Tanzania and Uganda for the Acumen Fund, a global non-profit venture fund serving the four billion people living on less than $4 a day. Acumen aims to create a blueprint for building financially sustainable and scalable organizations that deliver affordable, critical goods and services that elevate the lives of the poor. Friedberg will follow up on the Acumen Fund/WDI MAP project in Tanzania, leveraging the agricultural market assessment done by the MAP team and using this knowledge to source new deals in Tanzania.
Victoria Ravin worked for Agora Partnerships in Nicaragua and Washington, D.C. Agora provides consulting and investment to entrepreneurs in the developing world capable of creating successful, socially responsible businesses. Ravin developed a scale strategy for the organization to expand its operations into several new countries in Central America.
Daniel Duckworth worked with the Byrraju Foundation in India. The foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing about a tangible improvement in the quality of lives of the rural underprivileged. Duckworth studied the existing model of health care delivery (both direct care and telemedicine) of the foundation, and explored the feasibility of virtual delivery of primary care.
Juan Pablo Undurraga worked in Chile for Fundación Trascender, the only professional volunteer network in Chile. Undurraga evaluated the feasibility of a number of social enterprise ideas, developed a business plan for the idea found to be most feasible, and assisted with the development of impact indicators.
Rahul Pal worked in India for Genpact, a leader in global business process outsourcing. Pal developed mini case studies on how Web 2.0 is impacting select industries and how early adopters are leveraging it to create business value; identified its impact on information technology, business process and knowledge process outsourcing (and offshoring) industry; and designed a strategy for the company to leverage this opportunity.
Heidi McGowan worked in Washington, D.C. and Tanzania for the International Finance Corp.’s Grassroots Business Initiative. The GBI supports innovative businesses that create sustainable economic opportunities for poor people in developing countries. McGowan developed a Base of the Pyramid impact assessment framework for a Tanzanian microleasing firm.
Shannon Ross worked in Georgia and Michigan for Habitat for Humanity International and its largest corporate partner, Whirlpool. Habitat is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world. Ross will help define the strategies of Global Operations, Relationships with Stakeholders, Engagement of Employees/Volunteers, Public Policy/Advocacy, and Awareness.
Ian Swedish worked in Brazil for Instituto Crescer and Microsoft. The institute is the NGO that Microsoft partners with to provide expertise in project management and consulting services to its Community Affairs group. Swedish developed a guide or framework for efficient and successful NGO leadership succession processes and provided a final presentation to both organizations, among other things.
Fran Loosen worked in Michigan with the Kellogg Foundation, which focuses its resources on funding innovative strategies to support social and economic development. Loosen conducted research and prepared an evaluation of current and future trends in the field of social enterprise.
Ashok Chowdhry worked in India for NextServices, which maximizes the potential of specialist physicians in the U.S. by getting them accurate reimbursements from insurance companies. Chowdhry studied existing operational processes and laid out quality-oriented standards and methodologies to accommodate for scale; identified and built alliances with a wide variety of industry groups; and explored future growth options and created the groundwork for the same.
Timothy Johnson-Aramaki worked in India for Scojo Foundation which creates jobs and sustains livelihoods through the sale of affordable reading glasses. Johnson-Aramaki analyzed Scojo Foundation’s current data on Vision Entrepreneurs and consumers in order to evaluate economic and social impacts; analyzed impact assessment work conducted previously; and implemented a third, most robust survey utilizing lessons learned.
Paul Gruber worked in Mexico for The Water Initiative, an enterprise dedicated to creating market-driven, locally embedded, affordable, point-of-use (POU) potable water solutions for BOP markets. Gruber, along with others, outlined near-term and longer-term business opportunities, as well as recommended courses of action, for serving these and other BoP communities sustainably; wrote a report detailing the set of business ideas and models co-developed with the local communities through the BoP-Protocol process; and developed a report that provides in-depth documentation of the team’s activities and key learnings in implementing the Protocol.
Mladen Nikolov worked in California for Vital Wave Consulting, the leading global research and consulting firm focusing on information and communication technologies in emerging markets. Nikolov supported the Vital Wave Consulting team in its ongoing research and analysis of the telecommunications and IT sectors in emerging markets worldwide.
Erica Allen worked in Washington, D.C. for Women for Women International, which mobilizes women to change their lives by bringing a holistic approach to addressing the unique needs of women in conflict and post-conflict environments. Allen developed a framework through which the organization can assess potential partnerships, and provided assistance with the strategic planning process.
David Vadillo worked in California and India for 24/7 Customer, a rapidly growing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firm servicing the insurance, consumer and IT business segments. Vadillo partnered with company finance and account management professionals to develop the core analytics for a worldwide indicative pricing tool and then worked with sales and finance to document roles and responsibilities in the use of the tool.
Zara Ahmed worked for Peacework in Cameroon. Peacework is a U.S.-based, non-profit NGO which aims to help alleviate conditions of poverty and promote peace and prosperity through economic development partnerships and service around the world. Ahmed focused on community clinic revitalization and strategic planning for the rural health clinics in Cameroon.
Kenneth Cheung worked on the China Water Initiative – a continuation of a MAP project located in Guangzhou, China. The project made tangible headway in developing a system to monitor wastewater discharge compliance across China and help organizations share valuable information about water management.
Timothy Polkowski worked for ChildFund Alliance in Vietnam which strives to eradicate the root causes and the effects of poverty on children by implementing sustainable solutions resulting in positive futures. Polkowski identified appropriate systems and standards which can be used to benchmark the expected quality of the alliance’s operations, developed and aligned an appropriate quality assurance mechanism which they can use across all departments.
Zenia Ann Lewis worked for the Malawi Rural Finance Company (MRFC) in Lilongwe, Malawi, an innovative company seeking to aid poor farmers by providing new kinds of access to savings and credit. Lewis gathered data on the individuals who are opening accounts and record information on wellbeing measures like income, nutrition, health and child education, and analyzed it to identify the positive effects of the MRFC’s work.
Tresa Kappil worked for Youth Venture in Mumbai, India, a social entrepreneurship nonprofit focused on youth empowerment, that seeks to transform young people’s role in Indian society. Kappil focused on capacity building, marketing, and outreach.
Tony Gross and Jeffrey LeBrun worked on their Mozergy project, a business that will produce and sell jatropha oil to biodiesel refiners in Mozambique. The two worked with agronomists to identify parcels of land for the initial operations, outlined the process for leasing land in Mozambique and prepared a market analysis for purchasing 50,000 hectares of land; and refined the existing cost model to include microfinance and a greater emphasis on local transportation costs.