Saturday, May 2, 2009

Business Class Success!

My first series of business classes came and gone. Thus far, this marks the most concrete and rewarding project I have completed during my service. Since it was the first time for me, it was immensely helpful having Nura, who have taught the class many times, teaching it with me. She guided me through logistics and tips about managing the class.

I am very pleased with both the turnout of the students and the motivation demonstrated. We taught at the makeshift community center in town and students came from not only Batie, but also neighboring villages. Teaching the class has helped gaining confidence both in my French, and my ability to manage projects and working closely with villagers. Students are very patient with my French and would help me explain concepts or find the words I am searching for. After all, I am (supposedly) the expert in business knowledge, not French.

Through this class, I've also put on my business advising hat and giving some ideas about better improving business/projects, or even at the most basic level, determining whether an idea can work. I studied finance and economics in university, and when I left last May, I didn't think I would ever create financial models again on Excel for a very long time. But surprisingly, I found myself downloading the final exam from my financial modeling course and creating models for village entrepreneurs to determine their break-even points. Now, this may sound pretty simple, but quite the contrary. In school, no one taught me how to determine the expected growth rate or such other factors; they were always given! Also, MACRS depreciation schedule doesn't quite apply au village. Changes are thus adapted to these models. If nothing else, I am glad I am finding a way to apply knowledge from that very expensive and overpriced university education to help some villages in the middle of nowhere Africa.

Overall, quite the success with first series of business class and I look forward to hosting many more and seeking many more motivated individuals to work with!

PS-I shall post pictures in the near future on our "graduation". The students organize a little party with food and everything. Naturally, I had to get my picture taken with every single student and their certificates. They love those certificates!!

No comments: