My Summer Internship Experience in South Africa
Before I came to the U.S., I worked at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Government of Japan, learning how to tackle big challenges faced by both private and public sectors. As a student at the Rady School, I’ve been able to integrate my MBA experience with my working experience at the Japanese government. Furthermore, I’ve had access to collaborate and learn from opportunities not only at Rady, but also throughout the larger UC San Diego community.
One day, Rosilynn, our career advisor, kindly let me know that a representative of Emzingo Group, LCC would be at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, just hundreds feet away from Rady. I joined the information session and was thrilled to learn how Emzingo has tackled social challenges all over the globe. By keeping in touch with them, I secured an internship offer at a social enterprise in South Africa, a place furthest from both Japan and America.
As “Impact Consultant Fellow,” I tried to create a strategy for “enke: Make Your Mark,” a youth development organization that inspires and supports young South Africans who are taking actions on the most urgent social issues to become a hybrid social enterprise. As enke grows, it is placing more emphasis on developing as a financially sustainable organization, with diverse income streams beyond donor funding. With this in mind, I conducted research, interviews and analysis to identify 1) social enterprise models in the African and South African contexts, 2) how to integrate profit generated into non-profit financial systems, and 3) the general legal and tax considerations that need to be made for a hybrid social enterprise.
The lessons I learned at Rady played important roles throughout the project. For example, to review enke’s current business model, my team started with the Business Model Canvas, which I became familiar with throughout Lab to Market, the signature course series of the Rady MBA program. Lessons from Financial Accounting and Finance enabled me to analyze how the legal and tax considerations would affect enke’s finance. In addition, Topics in Finance – Financial Innovations for Economic Development gave me lots of insight to this field, which perfectly prepared me to work at a social enterprise in South Africa.
My takeaways from this internship are not limited to learning what social business is like. More importantly, I got to know the people: what kind of people work there, how passionate and kind they are and what the culture is like.
My Great Journey Across America
After my internship, I had one more month until the fall quarter began. Since I had been outside America until then, I decided to devote the remaining four weeks to get to know America more. I rented a car and went on a road trip across the USA. My trip highlights include, but are not limited to:
– Meeting many friends around the USA. For example, I visited one of my best friends at his Wells Fargo’s office in Minneapolis. The office was so cool!
– Visiting corporate headquarters and major facilities: CNN, Coca-Cola, Detroit’s Big Three, McDonald’s #1 store, Milwaukee’s local breweries, Rio Tinto Bingham Canyon Mine, Glen Canyon Power Plant, to name a few.
– Talking with a retired missileer at the underground front line of the Cold War, Minuteman Missile site.
– Hiking and camping at more than fifteen National Parks.
At Chippewa Square, Savannah, Georgia, I wondered how much like a box of chocolates life is. Then, somewhere near Monument Valley, I felt “I’m pretty tired” although I didn’t run for as long as 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours (but drove 10,000 miles!), and went home to San Diego.
In retrospect, I was very lucky to have such a summer. I spent two months working as an intern in South Africa and another month traveling around America. I would like to thank everyone who helped me to do this. This was definitely the best summer ever!
Yoshiaki Ichinowatari (’16) is a full-time MBA candidate and a student ambassador at the Rady School of Management. Originally from Gotemba, Japan with a bachelor degree of Law from the University of Tokyo, he has worked at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Government of Japan. He aims to make a social impact through business and public policy.