Christian Rodriguez ’17 Productive Business Background

Rodriguez ’17

I would first like to take this opportunity to thank the Lilly Endowment for its generous support and investment in my education. The first week of the Liberal Art Bridge to Business (LABB) program has just been completed and my fellow LABB interns and I have already taken part in engaging exercises and activities to help us develop a better understanding for business and entrepreneurship. Some of these exercises included Power-Point presentations with the goal of improving our speaking skills and confidence in front of a live group of listeners. For example, our first task consisted of making a 5-minute presentation over a topic of our choice, with a wide variety of topics ranging from “Why Chipotle is the best restaurant in existence” to favorite sports teams and movie series’ on television. Keep in mind that after 5 minutes of presenting, many colleagues were encouraged to give positive feedback on how we each presented. Dean Oprisko was also present to provide helpful tips on how to give a more effective and convincing presentation. Tips ranged from body language and time management to voice intonation. I would like to thank Dean Oprisko for donating his time and efforts to the LABB program.


Alejandro Reyna ’17 gives his 5-minute presentation in front of his fellow LABB interns

I felt it was very effective watching others being critiqued as well because I was able to learn from their presentations and polish my own. Preparation for the presentations included creating a personalized Power-Point with valid information and practice presenting to others on our own time. Practice was necessary until we could we could comfortably present our Power-Points within 10 seconds of the 5 minute mark. The significance of the 5-minute mark was to teach us how to provide valid information to business associates without taking up too much of their time because in the real world, time is money. Also, practice in front of others was necessary to make us more comfortable in presenting. This whole exercise was very helpful in getting me out of my comfort zone and communicating in front of large groups effectively and persuasively which is an essential ability in the business world. I look forward to the following weeks of the LABB Program and learning more about business and entrepreneurship!

Day 1 – A Brave New World

bilalblogBilal Jawed ’17 – It didn’t hit me when I first got the news in the spring. It didn’t hit me the weeks leading up to the flight. It didn’t even hit me when I stepped onto Ugandan soil for the first time and rode to my apartment in the late hours of the night after a long two-day journey. But this morning, precisely at sunrise, that’s when it hit me. That is when I realized I would be spending my entire summer in Kampala, Uganda. I awoke to a certain cocktail of sounds that affirmed that I was 7700 miles from Crawfordsville. The Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer at sunrise could be heard from a nearby mosque, monkeys howling from treetops, a baby crying in the next door complex, and the fan blowing against the mosquito netting covering my bed that protects from Malaria.

It was certainly daunting and awe inspiring at the same time. will certainly be challenges in adjusting to life in Kampala, both big and small. Its always tough knowing your family and friends are just going to bed as you are waking up or knowing fast internet speeds are a luxury of the past (I definitely will never complain to the Wabash IT department ever again). The package includes no air conditioning, lots of traffic, and frequent power outages, and a myriad of other adjustments, but anything can be seen as an adventure in an appropriate light. The ground is red, the people are very friendly, and I am ready to get to work. More to come about working day to day with HIV patients in Mulago Hospital!