Getting my MBA at BGI helped solidify my decision in a career change toward business / global development. After graduating, I quit my job of 5.5 years in the travel and tourism industry and went in search of my new career. Since October 2011, I’ve been working in India as a microfinance clean energy fellow for MicroEnergy Credits (based in Seattle) implementing clean energy programs at a microfinance institution in Kerala and a Regional Rural Bank (RRB) in Uttar Pradesh. We are helping MFIs and RRBs provide loans to help make clean energy products affordable to rural populations while also generating carbon revenues which are reinvested into the clean energy programs to further benefit clients and scale up program operations. My experience in India so far has been rich, challenging, and fun. From business and financial modeling to coordinating and designing data collection to conducting focus groups in rural villages to building relationships with local suppliers and MFI partners, this is truly the on-the-ground global development experience I was looking for. It has been a true test of my skills, resilience, and patience. In addition to learning about the microfinance industry, clean energy products, and the carbon markets, I have learned a lot about myself and the Indian culture in the process. It is an experience that cannot be rivaled with by sitting behind a desk back home.
Upon my return to Seattle in December 2012, I would like to combine my international experiences with my passion for supporting small businesses and startups. I want to explore opportunities on how I might best utilize my skills and experiences to help build strong local economies through businesses and help develop economic self-sufficiency for individuals and families. My passion for supporting small businesses and startups stems from my family who immigrated to the United States in the 70′s and started their businesses as a necessary tool for survival. The opportunities I have been given today have come from the hard work, struggles, and joys my family has provided me through the development of their small businesses. Supporting small businesses and startups means to me supporting a local community’s livelihood, a family’s means of survival, a child’s education, and a person’s passions and dreams.
Jennifer Tam earned her MBA in Sustainable Business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.