On our first day, as we ascended the wide steps of the historic and heritage colonial building that houses the High Court of Bombay, the big thought that occupied my mind was how the audacity of our goal, to change a 150 year old institution that prides itself on conserving its tradition, did feel like a BHAG indeed. Our introductory tour was focused entirely on the pride in the historical relevance of the High Court -- where Mahatma Gandhi practiced as a lawyer when he came back from South Africa; also where Bal Gangadhar Tilak was tried and declared guilty of being a traitor; and most importantly where the English Judges delivered judgment after judgment against the British Empire in favour of the common Indian Man. The Rule of Law -- the most fundamental ingredient in the fabric that holds together the world's largest democracy -- is upheld and espoused by the very judges and administrative personnel we were here to assist. What role did management jargon of efficiency, optimisation and queuing theories have in these higher corridors of justice delivery? Turns out, quite a bit.
I am spending this summer at Accion's Venture Lab in Washington, D.C. Accion is a global nonprofit that has been one of the leading institutions in microfinance over the last forty years. Accion invests in microfinance institutions (MFI's), using an approach that combines management, investment, and governance. Typically, Accion will invest in a microfinance institution, bring in experienced staff to serve as general branch or line managers, and also take a board seat. One of these investments have been particularly successful: Compartamos, was in fact the subject of a case in fall quarter. As a result, Accion has made a significant amount of money on exit of its investments, and because of its nonprofit status, needs to invest that money in a manner consistent with its mission of promoting financial inclusion around the world.
Today I met with a 76-year old woman who recently had hip replacement surgery. She will recover from the surgery, but she won't beat the bone cancer that triggered her to fall and to ultimately need the surgery. My meeting with her was to discuss how she would get care when she leaves the hospital next week, and I was at her bedside representing UrbanCaring, an early-stage, mission-driven company with whom I am spending my SMIF internship.
Internationally, we may be known for our stinginess and general fiscal conservatism, but still, not even the Dutch managed to escape the consequences of the global financial crisis.
This summer, I'm working to build a new, independent non-profit high school from scratch. The Grammaticus intends to place students at the intersection of Philosophy and Innovation so that they're rooted in purpose but empowered to change the world. For this summer, I will help them pilot their two summer school courses: When "I" Became A Grammatical Fiction (Gr. 11 English), and The Rise and Fall of Human Nature (Gr. 12 Philosophy). I will also act as the prinicpal for the school, working toward being authorized by the Ministry of Education to grant Ontario Secondary School Credits.
About a year ago a partner and I had an idea to solve the educational resource gap between dense urban centers and rural areas in developing economies. Our thought was that expecting each rural village to afford to raise the funds to build their own facilities was impractical. Taking a cue from the Magic School Bus, we thought, "What if villages didn't have to build their own school? What if we could build a single school and take it to several villages?" And with this thought our classroom-inside-a-bus concept was born. We call it TOTO Express. (It's a long story on how we got that name; I can get to that later).
Picture yourself walking up to a set of heavy, ornate doors, pulling one open to pass through and emerging into an expansive dazzling foyer. You note a rich, plush carpet beneath your feet as your gaze slowly lifts upwards, tracing a grand sweeping staircase, to a decadent chandelier.
There are a few things I am known for, both amongst my good friends and anyone who talks to me for more than 30 seconds: 1) the volume of my voice; 2) extreme enthusiasm; and 3) my obsession with healthy food. It is the latter that I am known for, or who I am, and what drove me to attend the GSB.
This summer, I am working at the Innovation Center at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (a.k.a. CMMI) in Baltimore, Maryland. The Innovation Center was established under the Affordable Care Act in 2010 with the authority and directive to "test innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures, while preserving or enhancing the quality of care for those who receive Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP benefits." The Innovation Center serves as a place where CMS can model ways to transform our fragmented fee for service healthcare system into a system that provides seamless, coordinated care for beneficiaries that will ultimately improve quality and reduce costs.
“Really?! Where is Bhutan? And what do you do there again?” This is the most frequent reaction that I receive this summer when I mention my internship with Mountain Hazelnuts to my friends. I am spending my 2 months in Lingmethang, a small village in Eastern Bhutan, following steps of many other GSBers.