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It is the day before departure and Team Myanmar is packed and ready for deployment (well mostly).

As a group we feel the sense of cohesion that the pre-departure training week has instilled in us and we are grateful for the efforts of Professor Finney and Charles in providing us a jumping off point to begin our adventure with a better understanding of the uncertainties we may expect to encounter.

The last few days have delivered an invaluable introduction to consulting (Consulting 101), an introduction to TEM Lab methodology and a chance to dissect the information provided by past teams and our learned program heads has given us new insight into just how sophisticated and encompassing our analysis is expected to be.

We eagerly anticipate putting our boots on the ground in Yangon and meeting the clients in order to determine just how much our research efforts correspond to the realities and expectations of the groups we will be working with : Winrock, the USAID Asia Farmer-to-Farmer Program, and Federations in the Livestock Sector of Myanmar.

Stay tuned in the coming month as we strive to provide a running account of the intricacies of life in Yangon and the hurdles we clear and stumble upon in our quest to provide business acumen and organizational development to the multiple Livestock associations we will be working with.

All aboard!!

About the Team

MARISSA BURKETT

MBA IN GLOBAL MANAGEMENT, DECEMBER 2015

Marissa Burkett is a second-year MBA student with a concentration in management consulting and a focus on social entrepreneurship and nonprofit organizational development. Marissa served in the Americorps for two years developing a regional agricultural branding initiative and working in a small business incubator. She has a BBA from the University of North Florida in International Business and Marketing and interned for the UN World Food Programme as the coordinator for a cross-functional team focused on capacity building in African nations. Her main areas of academic interest are lean business models, social impact and the effect of small business on economic vitality.

At Thunderbird, Marissa serves on the Thunderbird Student Government as the Sustainability Chair, is the President of the Thunderbird Emerging Market Business Association,  Marketing Chair of the Thunderbird Management Consulting Association and  Audio/Visual Editor at the DasTor Student newspaper. Marissa is proficient in Mandarin and Portuguese and is a native English speaker.

 

ROBERT CALKINS

MBA IN GLOBAL MANAGEMENT, MAY 2016

Robert is a second-year MBA student at the Thunderbird School of Global Management and is specializing in Global Development within the Global Management concentration.  Robert has over 25 years of experience in international trade and supply chain/logistics with a focus on agri-business and commodities.  He has well honed business development and stakeholder relationship skills having managed the value chain from source country to end consumer and has traveled extensively throughout South America and Asia developing and sourcing products for the North American wholesale & retail market.  

At Thunderbird, Robert is a contributing member of a number of clubs including: Net Impact, Supply Chain, Marketing Association, Finance, Emerging Markets Business Association and Private Equity Venture Capital.  Robert speaks fluent English and intermediate French and Spanish.

DARREN WATKINS

MBA IN GLOBAL MANAGEMENT, DECEMBER 2015

Darren is a second-year MBA student at the Thunderbird School of Global Management.  After graduating from Portland State University, he joined the Peace Corps and served for three and a half years in Senegal.   He spent his first two years in a rural community extending forestry and agriculture techniques and then his remaining service managing programs from the Dakar office.  In this role, Darren worked with agricultural cooperatives, government representatives, and non-governmental organizations on food security and forestry projects.  This experience exposed him to best practices in agriculture and the realities of organizational management in development.

Darren chose Thunderbird to continue his education because of the international focus of their MBA program and the diverse composition of the student body.  He is focusing on project management and is studying for his PMP to augment his Thunderbird degree.  Darren is a native English speaker, fluent in Fulani, and conversational in French.