Frieda Luna Schlör
New York University Abu Dhabi
I applied for the internship at King’s College because I am very interested in economic development, microfinance and social entrepreneurship. My main goal for the internship was to build practical skills, in particular to apply my data analytical skills to real-life projects. I also wanted to learn more about microfinance because after reading a lot about it I wanted to see how MFIs actually operate in practice.
The first few weeks were a little rough. Although I had visited Nepal before, I found it quite difficult to navigate Kathmandu because the experience of living in a country differs fundamentally from visiting it as a tourist. Thankfully, King’s College helped me to navigate the city, recommended different modes of transportation and provided me and the other interns with “buddies” who would help us with any questions regarding the college or Nepal in general.
King’s also connected me to several Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and I was able to meet the CEOs of these institutions. Unfortunately, working with MFIs proved to be rather difficult due to a lack of available data, the language barrier and the MFIs’ capacity to actually have an intern or researcher work with them at the time. Nevertheless, I really appreciated the opportunity to talk with the CEOs even just for one meeting because I could pose all my questions about microfinance and thus I came to understand a lot better how MFIs operate practically.
Since working in the field of microfinance was not possible, I shifted my focus to work with Nanda Sir and the Yunus Social Business Center (YSBC). My main task was to analyze data from the National Social Business Challenge (NSBC) 2019 and to gain insights about the demographic background of social entrepreneurs in Nepal, the main determinants of their business ideas and the challenges they face. I feel very humbled to have been entrusted with this task seen as the results will be presented to the UNDP at the 2019 Youth Colab. Working with the NSBC data truly pushed my data analytical skills and my knowledge about data analytical software including Excel, Stata and R to the next level.
Besides this, I have worked on a couple of side projects with the Yunus Social Business Center and the Center for Research and Development (CERAD) at King’s College. As such, I have visited a mothers’ group in Bhaktapur and written a newspaper article about the visit. I have also cleaned marketing data for the soon-to-be-established MakerSpace at King’s College and I am working with Nanda Sir to develop an impact evaluation scheme for bootcamps organized through the YSBC.
What I appreciated about working at King’s was that I had a lot of flexibility to experience Nepal. As such, I could shift my working hours to be able to attend a Nepali wedding and to go to Pokhara for a pro-longed weekend. Thus, besides gaining professional experience, I could also get to know more about Nepal, its culture and its people.