As I started my internship the day after our return from Guimaras, I have only now been able to reflect and fully consolidate my thoughts and emotions. While I can say without doubt that this course has helped me become a better person in general, pinpointing those changes exactly is a little difficult.
I have realized that the clichéd idea that universities are unable to produce professionals with the capacity to take charge definitely holds some truth. Although I can understand HKU’s focus on teaching theory, it is also one of the reasons I felt a little hopeless in the first week as I was unsure of what direction to take or which area of the business to concentrate on. My vacillation was entirely unhelpful so I started asking questions from Mr. Gamarcha; questions that were a little over the place initially but gradually gained specificity as we understood the business’ challenges.
Once Joyee and I had the information we needed, coming up with a proposal for our objectives wasn’t very demanding. The implementation of the afore-mentioned proposal was where neither of us had any prior experience. What was at stake was much more than just a course grade; Z-Network is the sole source of income for both the two partners and their families. Our work wasn’t something to be presented once and to be then buried in some forgotten subfolder. This experience actually allowed me to truly understand what business consulting is. It is essentially the ability to empathize with the business owner and to treat his challenges as one’s own. Only then can the interests of the consultant and client be considered to be united in the pursuit of success.
Our work forced us to do things we would normally never do. Joyee and I visited schools, government offices and private businesses and asked questions but what made the experience exciting as well as challenging was our active marketing of Z-Network and its’ services. Obviously, there wasn’t any lack of cold shoulders but we pushed through. I am proud of what we did because it allowed us to develop a plan that Mr. Gamarcha can follow in the future.
Initiating a project and seeing it to its completion also helped me renew my trust in my abilities. In the last few semesters, I had started questioning the worth of my education at the university but those misgivings have been dispelled now. I feel that I am capable of setting goals for myself and, more importantly, have the strength to realize them. This course has made me a stronger person in every sense of the word.
Before I conclude, I will talk about the people who were kind enough to share everything that they had with me. I am talking about our host family who took care of all of my needs in the three weeks that I was there (and beyond as well by sending me off with the manamit local mangos). At the beginning, I was slightly guarded during my interactions but it only took a few jokes and pieces of shared gossip to break the ice. Holding back in such an environment is never helpful and any students who undertake such a course in the future should try to become comfortable with their families quickly. I will forever be grateful to Hazel, my host mom, and Granny Lola because of the love and affection they showered me with. My time in Guimaras would never have been as memorable without my family.