This Summer I worked on something new, extraordinary and exemplary! I had the privilege of being the first Marshall MBA to start a legacy of internships with New Ventures Mexico, in Mexico City. The Society and Business Lab provided me the subsidy which allowed me the opportunity to work on a business plan aimed at the urban poor of Mexico. I was tasked with strategizing the action plan that would congregate urban poor micro-entrepreneurs into a franchise that would provide them economies of scale, health insurance, efficiency business training, and sustainable profits. The best part about the business model was that it was a new frontier in social development. I found that there was some research on “micro-franchising” but not too much evidence of action. This was an amazing opportunity to move the “micro-credit” movement into its logical evolution: Micro-franchising.
New Ventures Mexico was an incredible place to work. They had created a young and fun culture that promoted creativity and innovation in business. They had three main business functions: Las Paginas Verdes, a “green” phone directory, a green social enterprise accelerator, and green consulting. My area was in new projects and development, where new market-based solutions that came from the company could be incubated, not necessarily green.
My experience was unparalleled. The people I worked with welcomed my inquisitive nature and provided me with a series of meetings with top executives that worked with the “bottom of the pyramid” sector. I met with heads of microfinance banks, social housing projects, other accelerators, and government officials. Everyone I interviewed was genuinely interested in our progress and was very enthusiastic about USC’s partnership/interest in Mexico. I found a great sense of community in Mexico City; from the World Bank to the other grad students I interacted with, the network I brought back with me was priceless.
While in Mexico City, I mingled with MBA’s and master’s students from Stanford, John Hopkins, University of Chicago, and Yale. I was so proud to be the person to bring Marshall’s name to the competitive arena of international social enterprise. By sending an MBA every year to intern at New Ventures Mexico and work on a market-based social solution, Marshall is making a name in international social development.