Thursday, July 17, 2008

Google translate = best thing ever

I finally got to play with numbers at my job today. Granted, it wasn't anything mind boggling, but I did get to become acquainted with an excel add-on for MFIs (microfinance institutions) called microfin. Of course it doesn't have a mac version, but that's why I have 2 laptops, the one I love and the one I use for Netflix, Rosetta Stone, and now Microfin. My team is working on finishing a business plan for one of our new affiliates (coming soon to an Asian country near you) so everyone is going a bit loco. Compound that with the fact that my teammates seem to lack higher than an elementary understanding of word and excel and that lands clean up jobs on my plate. While it can sometimes be annoying it also makes me quite popular with very little effort. Like today, when I linked the table of contents to the content of the paper. PRESTO! Everyone was very happy.

Back to my subject: google translate. I'm doing donor research on the French development agency and modern technology has removed any immediate need to learn French. It made life so much easier.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dead Goats

Part of my department at FINCA just got back from Jordan for a donor massaging/ networking trip. FINCA Jordan is one of our newest offices and we are lucky that Her Majesty, Queen Rania is one of our board members. Queen Rania is known as "HMQ" around here- it's like "POTUS" for "President of the United States." I guess it's a fairly common way to refer to someone very important quickly without losing too much respect! Anyways, out of the trip emerged several stories that illustrate what microfinance organizations are up against.
The microfinance industry in Jordan has great support from donors and influential leaders such as HMQ. However, Jordan's microfinance institutions (MFIs) have apparently been squabbling a lot and the country is therefore struggling to come up with regulations and best practices because people just don't get along. These types of non-profit management problems seem to be somewhat universal! Exhibit A: The DC charter school movement. The major players are surviving and thriving despite not working together on anything, but so much more could be accomplished if they worked together.
Another story was about the very first FINCA Jordan client, who the entourage of VIP potential donors and board members visited during the trip. She used her loan to buy 5 goats. Then where she lived in Jordan had a freak snow storm (is a snow storm anywhere in Jordan a freak occurence??) and 3 goats died. Luckily HMQ heard the story and replaced the dead goats but many MF clients aren't so lucky. The industry is moving to offering more comprehensive financial services now, and some FINCA affiliates offer insurance and savings products. When the client heard that all these dignitaries were going to be visiting her she was about to slaughter a goat in celebration and had to be stopped! So she still has 5 goats.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Back from the Forte Conference

Well I am back into work after a whirlwind trip to NYC for the Forte Conference. I arrived in NYC Thursday afternoon, dropped my luggage off at my friend's apartment, and caught the subway downtown for a Forte dinner. I then met up with some Georgetown MSB friends while they ate dinner and I had a few drinks. Mojitos, yum. Friday morning I went to the "The Hard Truth About Soft Skills" workshop, lunch, a career fair, took a hardcore nap, then went to yoga with my friend. I met up with Georgetown friends at Stanton Social for dinner, then the bf for a drink. (Stanton Social = VERY good.) Saturday morning I had an excellent bagel delivered to W 4th by my friends, then I spoke as part of the "Surviving your first semester" panel.
That's just the outline of my weekend. By Saturday lunch I was exhausted. I bailed from the conference after my panel and went back to my friend's to start my training prep materials for being a Kaplan GMAT instructor! As previously mentioned in my blog, I have been pursuing several employment opportunities for the fall. This was number 1- a success! I auditioned, interviewed and started training in 5 days. Kind of crazy. I also interviewed for a job assisting with the running of a managerial journal. Which I also got woo hoo! However, they lowballed me on the salary so those negotiations are still open.
Now to fill in a few details of the Forte weekend... I was very happy to not only see a few of my 2009 MSB classmates, but a few 2010 and one 2008 grad as well. Go Georgetown! I also met one of my favorite bloggers- July Dream. Out of a room of 200+ women, we sat down at the same table for lunch on Friday! It was really fun to meet one of my fellow bloggers in real life and to recapture some of the excitement I felt right before I started at Georgetown. Sometimes I fall into the jaded zone of existence, but then I remind myself of all the fantastic electives and opportunities of the upcoming year. JulyDream's excitement was a perfect reminder!
Speaking of next year... I will be in the UK for 3+ weeks in August. I decided to work remotely (Dear Bosses, You're great. Best, Hairtwirler) for the close of my internship and stay with the bf. Although August is major vacation time, I hope to set up a few informational interviews to get a head start on my job search for Fall 2009.
Well, time for some GMAT prep... never thought I'd be saying that phrase again!