Global Online Immersion Elective (GOIE) Nepal and Tanzania

04 January, 2021 Monday 1:55 AM

Objectives and Introduction
The key objectives of the GOIE are to expose Rice University MBA students to Nepal/ South Asia and Tanzania/ East Africa in general and help them better understand how these countries/ regions are coping with and innovating in the context of COVID pandemic. This will be achieved through a series of virtual presentations, discussion and engagements with experts, practitioners, business leaders and social entrepreneurs in these countries. Four important sectors critical for the growth and development of these countries will be the focus of the GOIE 2020: health, tourism, agriculture and technology. Students will also be able to compare the challenges and opportunities in these two countries/ regions. The overall thrust of the program will be not simply on discussing the challenges but also on learning about the opportunities and innovations being spearheaded by entrepreneurs, civil society leaders and Governments in these sectors/ countries. From this perspective, we expect these sessions to be as inspirational as they would be informative for the students. When the global pandemic subsides, we are confident that these live digital global engagements will peak your interest, providing incentive to travel and engage in pursuit of deeper global insights and new business opportunities in these fast growth, complex and exciting countries.

In total there will be between 60-70 Rice Business MBA students and about 10 top MBA students from Nepal and Tanzania attending the GOIE.

Outcomes 

Four direct outcomes are expected from the GOIE elective: (a) students learn from global and national experts about the impact of COVID-19 generally as well as its impact on businesses and critical sectors of the economy in Nepal and Tanzania; (b) students get a chance to network and develop long lasting relationships with ‘movers and shakers’ in these countries; (c) students get a chance to network with students from Nepal and Tanzania; and (d) benefits to the ‘host’ countries – not only will those who engage with the students receive feedback and learn from their global perspectives; but also, in the long term, we expect the students transformative experience to encourage them to return to these countries in the future for holiday trips or to work and/ or invest.

Context

Nepal is an idyllic country steeped in long history with highly evolved socio-cultural and religious traditions, and terrain extending from the plains to the highest mountains in the world. Nepal is beset with numerous development challenges; aggravated by the Gorkha earthquake of April 2015 and the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Tanzania is another picturesque country in East Africa with similar development challenges as well as its beautiful terrain, world renowned nature reserves, beaches and heritage sites.

Program Description

This unique immersion program focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on these burgeoning countries and provides an international perspective to Rice MBA students who are currently unable to travel due to the global pandemic. The sessions will explore themes in these countries centered around how businesses and social entrepreneurs are adapting and responding to the crisis in sectors such as health, tourism, agriculture and technology. These are sectors of great importance for growth and development of both Nepal and Tanzania. Tourism is a major revenue earner and health, agriculture and technology are critical foundational sectors for these countries’ development. The program will provide students a ‘realistic’ picture of the impact of COVID-19, veering neither too pessimistic nor optimistic in its content. The program will take a deep dive into and provide students a high-quality experience as close as possible to visiting these countries.

The program will include the following segments:

  1. Three days of about 2.5 hours exchanges on live zoom sessions with global experts on the impact of COVID-19 on the economies and businesses globally and regionally in South Asia and East Africa. All registered students will join these sessions.
  2. Seven days of live streaming zoom sessions for 2.5 hours every day in either Nepal OR Tanzania. The focus of these sessions will be to expose students to (a) national and sub-national level COVID-19 and other development challenges and responses. The program will include live zoom exchanges with experts and practitioners, discussions and engagements with business leaders and entrepreneurs and social innovators; and (during the weekend) live streaming cultural and nature tours will be conducted – both countries boast renowned world heritage sites.
  3. Two days of 2.5 hours exchanges to share experiences between the two national groups and present final student group assignments. Students will listen to and interact with globally renowned business leaders from Nepal and Tanzania during a panel discussion. Students will deepen their understanding of the development challenges by comparing across sectors in these developing countries situated in two different continents.

Technology Partners

HD quality Zoom will be used for this program. In the future, LAN will consider integrating VR experience for students. Vacant Light (https://www.vacant-light.com/) whose producers have experience filming in both Nepal and Tanzania will provide video production services for the GOIE. In addition, Vacant Light will provide technical consulting and support during the live sessions in both countries, in close collaboration with Rasello, https://www.rasello.com/, a technology innovator operating out of Tanzania, Nepal, and Singapore. Rasello will help to provide pre-production, sourcing local producers & cinematographers in Tanzania.