Global Innovation Immersion Program
The Global Innovation Immersion Program is a semester course and an 8-day internship placement, during spring break, which the students selected will be assisting family-owned, small businesses in Inle Lake, Myanmar to improve the success and sustainability of the business. Students will also partake in cultural immersion trips to the capital of Myanmar, Yangon and the historic city of Bagan during the program.
We are seeking students who have a passion for service and are dedicated to Social Entrepreneurship. These students will provide business consulting and strategic investment to support small businesses by applying their knowledge in entrepreneurship, accounting, marketing, economics, operations and more to prepare and present workshops for the business-owners.
Students admitted to the program will enroll in a 1-unit course in Spring 2020, BAEP 497 Field Project in Entrepreneurship, Section# 14388D.
Students will be assigned in teams of 2-4 persons to work with a small, family owned business in the Inle Lake region of Myanmar. Students will work on the project in the weeks leading up to departure, and then when in country, meet with the family business, and help implement their strategy. Internship coordination and housing/transportation arrangements will be organized for the students by USC Marshall.
Admission into the program will be highly competitive. Students with interest in Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation are highly encouraged to apply.
Myanmar (formerly Burma) was closed off to the rest of the world for decades, but since “opening” less than 6 years ago, has rapidly become one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia (real GDP growth is estimated to be 7.1% for FY2017/2018, mainly driven by economic reforms, public consumption, and loosening of private investment laws. Myanmar is currently in a democratic transition, with the new government launching reforms in economics, social and health policy, education, and rural development. There has been an openness to helping encourage entrepreneurship and small-business growth throughout the country.
Situated between India, Bangladesh, Thailand and China, it is at a crossroads of two of the largest countries and economies in the world, and the cultural diversity within the country reflects the geographic location.
Inle Lake is a 13.5 mile long by 7 mile wide lake that hosts stilt-house villages, Budapest temples rising above the water, and surrounded by marshes and floating gardens. Fishermen are always noticeable on the water propelling their boats via a special technique known as leg-rowing, and travel amongst the region is primarily via boat.
The people of this region are known as the Intha, which 70,000 of them live in the villages surrounding the lake. Surrounding the lake are the hills home to the minorities: Shan, Pa-O, Taung Yo, Danu, Kayah and Danaw. They descend from their villages for the markets and go around the towns of the region on five-day cycles.
Being Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon is composed of stunning lakes, beautiful parks, and vibrant tropical trees. Yangon is notably “The Garden City of the East.” Beyond the scenery, the city is a diverse cultural hub since it hosts the country’s main seaport, main entrance, and business hubs. Yagnon balances tradition with culture and modernity, making it a destination that depicts a different side of Asia.
The capital of the first Myanmar Empire, Bagan is a marvelous archeological site in southeast Asia along the eastern bank of the Ayeyawaddy River. It’s stunning scenery of 2000 pagodas and temples has made it a major tourist spot in Myanmar for the past 1000 years. Bagan has been a pilgrimage centre for millennia, despite an earthquake in 1975 destroying more than half of the structures beyond repair.
The program is open to USC Business and Accounting Majors or Minors ONLY, who will have completed 48 units by January 1, 2020 (16 of those units MUST have been completed at USC). All applicants must have a minimum 3.00 GPA (overall and within your major) GPA. There is no language requirement.
In addition, all students will need to submit a letter of recommendation from either an academic source (preferred) or professional source. Letters MUST be on letterhead, and can either be uploaded as part of the application (scanned and uploaded) or submitted in person (in a sealed envelope) to JFF 201 (Mail Code 3362), mailed (GEIP Program, 610 Child’s Way, JFF 201, Los Angeles, CA 90089-3362), Faxed (213 740-2116 attn: GEIP), or emailed as an attachment (firstname.lastname@example.org). Letters NOT uploaded as part of the application are due by December 7th. If you will upload your letter as part of the application, it is due when you submit the application.
Please complete the online application by 11:59 PM on December 6th. Late or incomplete applications will NOT be accepted.
Students selected to participate in the program will have their expenses paid by the program, which will be used to cover their air ticket, housing, and local transportation. Students will be responsible for USC International Insurance, meals, personal expenses, and visa fees.