By: Matt McConaty, Guest Writer
Our 2015 Nepal TEM Lab was a fantastic, challenging, and stimulating experience. Travis Richardson, Varun Sharma, and I spent five weeks in Kathmandu doing consulting work for USAID and the country’s top business school. We were charged with performing an entrepreneurial ecosystem Gap Analysis as well as writing an Operations Manual for the new business incubator at the Kathmandu University School of Management. After countless hours of labor, we delivered two 30-page papers and presented to the faculty heads of the school as well as our sponsors.
From the outset, the people of Nepal were incredibly hospitable and the culture was captivating. The amazing spices and food as well as cheap prices are sorely missed. Thunderbird’s quiet campus is a far cry from the commotion, street stalls, and countless motorcycles of Kathmandu, and it has been a slow transition back into life in the States. Although we worked our tails off over the course of the project, we also found time to venture into the mountains and jungles of Nepal and northern India. The three of us were able to visit Pokhara, Chitwan province, Delhi, and Amritsar for some hiking, sightseeing, canoeing, bungee jumping, and the like during our time.
Our group was intent on upholding the TEM Lab tradition and maintaining its high standards of excellence. This enriching, capstone course has become a cherished part of the Thunderbird experience for good reason. The six credits received on paper do not fully speak to the wisdom, perspective, and relationships that the TEM Lab furnishes. Furthermore, the services and guidance that the participants’ provide to our partner organizations epitomize the Thunderbird mission. The program is anchored in hard work and is capable of offering immense personal growth in addition to what it accomplishes. These truths and the Thunderbird commitment to the emerging markets were on full display at the lively, TEMBA club party at the Old Pub this past weekend.
It is difficult to recount the myriad of unique memories that have comprised my T-Bird experience, and the same can be said for this TEM Lab. Suffice it to say, we had a fantastic time. We were able to make an impactful contribution to the startup and entrepreneurial scene in Nepal and honorably carry the banner for the TEM Lab program. We surely miss the stunning views, hospitable people, and bustling culture of Nepal, but our work and recollections are not soon to fade. Travis, Varun and I will be embarking upon new challenges post-gradation, and we will do so further empowered thanks to this TEM Lab experience. The project was a privilege and a pleasure, and we are excited that a second T-Bird team is headed back to Nepal this summer. Long live the TEM Lab program!