Impact Entrepreneurs Replication School: Business Process Design & Improvement in Cambodia – Introduction
PSU’s Impact entrepreneurs, in partnership with Digital Divide Data and The Rockefeller Foundation, has been delivering Impact Sourcing Training to social entrepreneurs hand selected by Rockefeller. The training, hosted by digital Divide Data, is preparing these entrepreneurs from Africa and South Asia to launch or expand their own social enterprise initiatives in the Business Process Outsourcing space in their countries.
By Joel Barranger, MBA Candidate at Portland State University
Here I am in Asia. Yet another trip that takes me halfway around the world. I’ve almost circled it now. I never imagined this would happen before I started my MBA program. And to think, if I’d never started this program, who knows if and when I’d take these kinds of travels. More specifically, would I ever even reach out to assist with social programs without having been in a program that was particularly involved in social efforts at home and abroad?
It feels familiar now. No, I haven’t been to Cambodia before. However, there is that certain “je ne sais que” about travelling internationally. I felt it as soon as we left the airport in Phnom Penh (it never feels real until you get off the plane and out of the airport). There was something in the air, the sounds, and the feel of it all. And it wasn’t even light out yet.
Insert chuckle here. This is only the 2nd time I’ve been anywhere outside the western world. Yes, I will soon have almost a month under my belt, but it’s nothing compared to the people I work with and meet in my travels. I spoke with a woman on the flight from Seoul, Korea to Phnom Penh. She’s been to Cambodia 10 times in 8 years with her Christian organization to help with various projects involving the Cambodian people’s development. There are innumerable ex-patriots and tourists that seem so at home here in Cambodia. Just last night our colleague Kathleen gave us a rundown of all the places she’s been and I’m having a hard time counting.
But the people are part of what makes it so special. It doesn’t matter what country they happen to be from, they all make up part of the international experience. Even the ridiculously angry American tourist who just can’t quite get their pizza right in Asia to the Cambodian military police officer that drives tourists around part time in order to pay for his children to go to college. It’s the children begging behind a wire fence at Cheung Ek or the monks drifting in and out of shops and schools. They all help you develop a sense of how magnificent and frightening the world can be all at once.
I am very lucky that I get to partake in this particular experience. I get to spend my time with people from around the world. I will be teaching to managers and entrepreneurs from 6 different countries. How amazing is that?! I can’t wait to see the changes in them and myself.
Without the people around you, it is so difficult to help establish who you are in the greater world around you. Of course I’m being vague here, because you can’t know it until you experience it and open yourself up to it. I challenge you all to do it, but make sure you are accepting of a little challenge and be ready to open your mind. It will come to you as well, the “je ne sais que”.