Alyse Daunis, Global Social & Sustainable Enterprise MBA
“The whole wheel came off of the axle and turned sideways, and we thought the car was totaled,” said Alyse Daunis.
She and her Global Social & Sustainable Enterprise MBA research team were traveling across rural Uganda during the dry season in an old car with a leaky fuel tank. The four College of Business students were trying to identify and address the power needs of people living off the grid, and they had just run over a large rock.
There were times during the trip where anxiety would creep in, on dusty roads far from towns and cities, or when traveling by canoe or motorbike, but Alyse had been here before and trusted their driver, Hashim Mutanje.
Stepping out of their damaged vehicle they were approached by a group of roughly 20 people from a nearby village who had come to lend a hand. Surrounding the car they heaved it off the ground and moved it from the road where it would sit until Hashim could contact a local shop to have it repaired.
But the College of Business students came prepared to problem solve, and weren’t dissuaded by the temporary setback. They visited dozens of small business and connected with large solar providers, interviewing people across East Africa and sharing their own ideas that they hoped could bring more power to micro-entrepreneurs and the communities they served.
“We talk with people every day who are hoping that their next big investment yields the fruits they’ve planned in their heads,” the group wrote in one of their field blogs, “But oftentimes the products they buy are ill suited to the environment in which they’ll be used.”
Their goal was to find the gaps left by other companies and deliver a product that could help where others failed.
“I’d never done in-depth interviews like that, and it was really cool sitting down and hearing their stories and challenges,” Alyse said, “I really love that person-to-person contact.”
The experience further strengthened her desire to continue working in business and conduct field-based market research. Now back in the U.S., Alyse and her group are preparing for the new semester when they will work to develop a sustainable business plan, employing the knowledge they gained by taking the time to get to know their customers and better understand their needs.
Lucas Edwards, Early Career MBA
It’s 90 degrees at noon and Lucas Edwards is filming octogenarians throwing javelins. The Early Career MBA student has spent the summer interning with the Rocky Mountain Senior Games, helping to shape their marketing strategy and produce content for use across their website and social media.
“As a graduate student they really look to me to not just kind of learn from them, but to really help to benefit the program,” said Lucas, “I saw the ECMBA as an opportunity to really broaden my horizons if you will and not pigeon hole myself to one specific category, and so far it’s been a great learning experience.”
Addie Arnold, Business Administration
Addie Arnold dreams of someday owning her own business, a coffee shop, or maybe a cafe. When she came to CSU she wasn’t sure exactly what her passions were, but knew she’d find a place to develop them under the College of Business’s wide umbrella of programs.
“Business in general is such a broad major that it can be applied to anything you go into after graduating, and that was a big selling point for me,” Addie said.
This summer, heading into her senior year, she decided to pursue an internship in finance and tackle head on one of the more challenging subjects she studied.
After attending a meet and greet with FirstBank employees, organized by the college’s Career Management Center, she applied and was accepted into the bank’s summer program, along with three fellow business students.
Put up in a hotel near the company’s Lakewood headquarters on a “mini vacation,” Addie trained with other interns on simulated teller lines and learned how to complete transactions.
Soon, Addie was standing behind her own teller station greeting real customers as they came into the Fort Collins branch where she worked.
It was hard at first, but she soon got the hang of it.
“I learned a lot. You just have to be open to asking questions,” said Addie, who cycles through a variety of positions in the bank to experience how they each operate.
“I’m getting more of a real life view of what finances look like.”
Outside the office, FirstBank’s team took volunteer trips to paint over graffiti and had the chance to watch a Rockies game from the company’s box seats.
“Having different internships and learning about different paths you can take is really beneficial,” Addie said, and she’s confident the insight and skills she’s developed will help if she decides to launch her own company in the future.