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My Summer Internship in Zambia

Internship Area: Marketing Intern

Organization: Alliance Forum Foundation

Location: Lusaka, Zambia

This summer I worked for Alliance Forum Foundation (AFF) in Zambia. It was a really amazing and important experience for my career and life. It is said that Africa will be the most attractive and important market in terms of population and gross domestic product growth rate. I felt the situation on the job.Hiroaki in Africa

AFF has been implementing Base of Pyramid (BOP) business called “Spirulina Project” in Zambia. Spirulina is a blue green alga rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. AFF has been working there to reduce malnutrition among children under 5 years of age through the use of Spirulina. Simultaneously, it has been trying to create new business for BOP by using Spirulina.

At AFF, I supported the project as a fellow. I assisted in the implementation of their marketing survey to analyze the business feasibility of selling Spirulina as raw material as well as processed foods. Specifically, I trained and managed local researchers, and implemented a household survey to investigate the living condition, dietary habits, and nutritional knowledge in Lusaka and Choma, Zambia.

Visiting households and exposure to the local life were very precious opportunity. I visited many households which have various income levels with local researchers. When I visited the households which have Student at Victoria Falls, Africalower income levels, I was really surprised at a lot things which are totally different from the situation in Japan and the U.S. - particularly, the income and the structure of the family. For example, there are many households which have a monthly income of under about $48. In addition, many families have more than 10 children and lose the father, mother, or both due to various causes. Furthermore, it was not easy to execute the survey because of many unpredictable problems such as the large differences of the culture and language and lack of the infrastructure. On the other hand, I loved to meet people who have a gentleness and spiritual richness, and enjoyed a lot of beautiful nature in Zambia.

I am a company sponsored student and have been working for a Japanese pharmaceutical company. After graduation, I aspire to expand our pharmaceutical business sustainably at BOP in Africa where our company isn’t established. I believe that business makes our societies better and solve many problems in the world. I want to create and implement a new business model for BOP in Africa in healthcare. This will be a big challenge, but I will strive to achieve my goals by leveraging the experience I gain at Krannert.

Hiroaki Tanaka
Purdue University, Krannert School of Management
MBA Class of 2015