Thirty-four hours ago we were saying goodbye to friends on campus. We are now in Yangon ready to set out on our first journey into the city to build our in-country proficiency: where is the best place to get SIM cards, what kind of undiscovered snacks are in our future, what’s the best way to exchange money. On our way here, we traveled through Phoenix, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Singapore, and Yangon.

We spent the past week on the Thunderbird campus preparing our in-country project plan, developing our pre-departure presentation, and soaking in Charles and Professor Finney’s consulting wisdom. Two major themes we discussed during preparation were institutional voids and labor cost arbitrage. We expect that we’ll be focusing on these themes in future posts, as well as giving you a glimpse of the tastes, sounds, people, and day-to-day life in Myanmar.

Join us as we explore Asia’s Last Frontier.

(That’s right. You can use it as “hello,” “goodbye,” “good day,” and “thank you.” Perfect for us Burmese beginners.)

Above: First meal of traditional Burmese food with our most-kind host, Alice.

By the numbers

  • 34 hours spent traveling from Glendale to Yangon
  • 5 times Rahul went through security checks (for the rest of us, it’s four)
  • 22 hours of sleep Ann got on the flight
  • 4 hours of sleep Brad got on the flight
  • coffees Lacey consumed during trip
  • 4 currencies now in our wallets (US dollars, yen, Singapore dollars, and kyat)
  • times group visited bank to get crisp bills before departing


  • Loudest laughter on flight while watching a movie – Patrick
  • Best Bathroom – Singapore airport, of course
  • Best snack procurement officer – Taka for his mochi purchase, which he described the flavor as “mochi…sweet mochi.”
  • Greatest airline service moment – Free snacks on Singapore Airlines between fabulous Japanese-inspired meals
  • Biggest security perpetrator – Rahul for taking photos of other team members during takeoff