Thursday, October 23, 2014

Four students travel to Asia

Missionaries from Liberty work to represent the School of Business overseas

culture — Ritchie and Hampton enjoyed their time in Asia. Photo provided

Culture — Ritchie and Hampton enjoyed their time in Asia. Photo provided

The School of Business was well-represented this summer as four of its top students divided into two teams and traveled to Asia for four weeks to assist missionaries in the field by helping to develop and improve their businesses.

Daniel Keef, a junior business administration and accounting major, and Kyle Shlarman, an alumnus, said they worked alongside a team of missionaries to develop business plans for two businesses: an English school and an import business.

“We weren’t working with businesses that were already there,” Keef said. “We were helping to create new ones.”

According to Keef, he and Schlarman visited several English schools to observe the education format as well as to perform a cost analysis to determine how much it would cost to run the institution.

Keef said their goal is for American missionaries to be able to take over the businesses within two years.

During their five-hour workdays, Keef said they worked in difficult conditions, including 115 degree weather with little air conditioning. Internet connectivity was also an obstacle while working on their
business plans.

“We had to learn to adapt to any circumstance,” Keef said.

According to Keef, while on a boat ride, he realized how different the region was from what he was accustomed to.

“I’ve never seen anything so dark before,” Keef said. “It really is a spiritually depraved place. This is a country that needs Jesus so much and there are so few people going….Having legitimate platforms is the only legal way (missionaries)can be in the country.”

Amanda Ritchie and Jessica Hampton, both seniors in the School of Business, helped missionaries improve their platform by assisting a wholesale oriental furniture store in rewriting its business plan. Ritchie worked on human resources and accounting, while Hampton conducted financial analyses and did accounting for a trade show.

“It was just one of those internships where you had to apply everything you’ve learned,” Ritchie said.

Their main purpose was to help the missionaries learn how to improve a business and expand in the years to come, according
to Ritchie.

“It was exciting to go and do the business side of it and still know that I’m using accounting, marketing or (human resources) to impact the world for Christ,” Hampton said.

To share Christ’s love, both Ritchie and Hampton mentioned how they set a goal to get one smile from someone wherever they went. If they got a smile, they were successful.

This missions effort seeks to provide students, specifically accounting and finance majors, with hands-on experience by applying skills learned in the classroom in a real world environment, according to Alex Agnoletto, graduate assistant to the dean of the School
of Business.

“I think that (the program) has so much potential to it because it’s very different than anything else offered,” Hampton said. “It’s a very different thing because you’re
actually working.”

The four students were handpicked by the heads of the School of Business based upon their academic success and professionalism, according to Agnoletto. He hopes to see this program expand in the number of participants as well as locations throughout
the world.

Keef said he believes the program has a bright future.
“I know a lot of business students who want to do missions, and I don’t think that there’s a better format,” Keef said.

The School of Business plans on going live with this program sometime this fall, Agnoletto said.

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