In today's world, it's common practice for students to live abroad to gain international experience. Mongolia, however, is off the beaten path.
Jon Schmidt and Rachel Bromer, both MBA '13, are spending their summer in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, as Global Fellows for The New Media Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The New Media Group. The New Media Group provides consulting services in new media marketing, IT, and venture capital investment.
Schimdt and Bromer have found the fellowship to be the perfect way to combine their academic interest in international development and shared passion for travel.
Using skills from their first year of the MBA program as well as prior work experience, they are providing guidance for the growth and sustainability of The New Media Group, which is seeking to become the first benefit corporation in Mongolia, a type of corporation that is required by law to create benefit for both shareholders and society.
They are also assisting with sustainable tourism activities, and developing a more rigorous application process for future Global Fellowship recipients.
Bromer, originally from Augusta, Georgia, never had the opportunity to study abroad, so she saw this fellowship as an avenue to enhance her business skill set in a way that a domestic internship could not.
After working as a consultant in both public and private sectors for five years, Bromer chose to study at Kogod because of its location and strong international environment.
Schmidt, a native of Severna Park, Maryland, is particularly interested in emerging markets and is excited by the opportunity to work in places that are seen as "underdogs" in terms of world power.
"I love how the right business, at the right time, in the right place, can have an impact on many lives and contribute to the growth of the country," he said.
A former Peace Corps Advisor, Schmidt came to Kogod because he wanted to be in a community of people who shared his passion for international business and entrepreneurship. He’s enjoyed the MBA coursework at Kogod thus far, particularly Associate Professor Jennifer Oetzel's emerging markets course, which examines perspectives on managing teams across various cultures.
He is currently developing a business idea that combines social networking and travel forums. He wants to create open source guidebooks for visitors to emerging countries.
Beyond the day-to-day work of their fellowships, Schimdt and Bromer have ridden camels, held eagles, and gone on a company staff retreat to the Mongolian countryside.
Schmidt and Bromer will return on August 1, undoubtedly with new perspectives and a few stories to tell.
You can follow Jon’s journey on his blog, unknowntravels.com.