You all know I've been on the prowl for an internship for the summer. And you all know the market is ridiculous right now, and the odds of me finding one are pretty slim. And forget about any kind of paycheck! My whole class is all just trying to find people that will let us do a bunch of their work for free. It begs the question: what do I like doing enough that I would do it for free, just to have the opportunity to do it?
School has helped me to focus my mind and find the answer to this question. I am passionate about microfinance. It is the kind of work that I could be proud to stand behind, a cause that would get me out of bed every morning so I could help it to move forward. Whether or not I actually need an advanced degree to work in this field, my MBA already feels worthwhile because it's helped me to figure this out.
So. AU has a search engine called CareerBeam to help us in our quest. One feature I discovered is that you can look up a company, then connect to LinkedIn (Think Facebook, except for working professionals) and it will tell you the degrees of separation between you and someone who is affiliated with that company. I looked up the microfinance org FINCA International, and learned that I knew someone directly who had worked there before. I hadn't seen him in over a year, but at least I knew someone!
Two days later, I bumped into him at a party. (This guy is married, and this was a singles ward party, which makes the fact that we crossed paths even more amazing.) He was very willing to help me out, and suggested that I talk to a guy named Otso, because he also used to work with a different microfinance bank. Interestingly enough, I had met Otso at Institute two days before.
I sought out Otso the next week, only to learn that he used to be the CEO of Yehu Microfinance, an organization based in Kenya. Not only that, but he was still on the advisory board and still conducted interviews for internships. We talked some more, and through his questions ("Have you ever been to a third world country?" "What were the conditions like - did you stay in nice hotels?") I realized that this wasn't a DC-based office job where I'd be doing good from afar. It would be in Mombasa, Kenya, on the frontlines. There would be some office work, but I would also get to actually be where everything is happening, to meet the people I'd be helping. This is the exact setup I hoped for the chance to try (knowing that this summer would probably be my last window of opportunity) but I did not expect to find it.
Otso asked me to send him my resume, and we'd get together and talk. Even this aspect seems divinely guided, because my resume had just come out of a major overhaul that same morning, where everything my resume said was now intentionally geared toward attracting microfinance-related employment.
Needless to say, after our conversation, I was starry-eyed. This option just made so much sense, and the way everything had fallen into place was just too perfect to be coincidence. I felt so compelled to follow this to the end, and so sure that it was already a done deal. To be honest, after that conversation with Otso, all other internship pursuits dropped off my radar. I figured, why bother? I already found it. Even the way I talked about it was always "when I go to Kenya," not "if." I haven't even considered being concerned about the location because clearly I'm supposed to go there, so I'll be taken care of. And as mom pointed out, I'll be going through the temple just a little over a month before I leave, so I'll be extra-protected.
To make a long story just a little longer, over the next few weeks I met with Otso again, then he directed me to some people in Orem who are in charge of the actual hiring. After completing an application, sending several emails, and making a few phone calls, they confirmed today that I'm in. I'm going to Kenya!
I love when the Lord uses timing to remind us He's aware of us, and to make sure we know we're moving in the right direction. In this case, He seemed to want to make it painstakingly clear. (He probably figured I'd be a little averse to the extra debt and would need the push.)
So now you know the whole story.