A Summer Off the Beaten Path - Part I

by Nora Hansanugrum, MBA ‘13 (9/13/12)

Nora Hansanugrum, MBA ‘13

My off the beaten path adventure involved 4 weeks off the coast of South America, and 8 weeks in South East Asia—two very different regions of the world working on two very different projects.

My off the beaten path adventure involved 4 weeks off the coast of South America, and 8 weeks in South East Asia—two very different regions of the world. For my internship, I knew I wanted an experience that could not be replicated outside of the MBA environment—opportunities that are best capitalized on as a student. I honestly could not have envisioned a more ideal summer. My experiences allowed me to confirm my interests to work in development and also offered me the opportunity to reassess what was truly important to me when it came to my career choices—passion.

I was preparing myself to be a sponge, to learn from my new, unfamiliar surroundings, the new people I would be working with, and the culture I would become immersed in. Through a combination of luck and being in the right place at the right time, I was able to secure two opportunities that allowed me to spend the three full months outside of the United States. My two-part summer started in early May—many weeks before my peers—and ended in mid-August. Although I worked on two very different projects, both spoke directly to two fields I sought more understanding in: Sustainable Agriculture and International Development.

Part I: May – June 2012
Sustainable Agriculture Research Project
Sponsoring Organization/Institution: Cornell University, SMART Program (Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Team)
Location: Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador

As part of the multidisciplinary team, which made up the SMART Project, I had the opportunity to work with students and professors from varying backgrounds, fields of study, and experiences. This alone open many new perspectives for me with regards to evaluating the agriculture industry, and its intersection with economic development, and conservation.

Our team spent a month on the island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos, studying the state of the agriculture industry. Unique in its environmental make-up and its culture, the Galapagos Islands faces many challenges within the agriculture space. Working with the local government, agriculture agencies, conservation organizations, local farmers, local food purveyors, tour operators, and other key stakeholders, our team compiled a report on our findings about the challenges in cultivating, maintaining, and growing a sustainable agriculture market.   

A hike through the protected area in the Galapagos Highlands, Santa Cruz Island

Tortuga Bay
 Tortuga Bay, a secluded beach park, Santa Cruz Island
Giant Tortoise

Gentle, giant tortoise live in various locations throughout the Galapagos Islands.

A photo book accessible online through Scribd provides a high-level depiction of our research on the island and serves as a visual story depicting a portion of the study we conducted.

Coming soon: Part II - EGBOK Mission in Siem Reap, Cambodia