November 27, 2012 - 12:00am
At 59, Steve Hoberg had built his own successful manufacturing company and seen his three children through college. After turning management of the company over to his partner, he felt he was ready for a new chapter in his career and the Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) program at the Monterey Institute seemed like the perfect fit.
“It was a little hard to return to school after so many years,” Steve says of his FMS training, adding with a laugh that he was the one of few students to bring a paper notebook to the first class. Upon returning from his assignment with Kinara Capital in Bangalore, India, Steve has no doubt that he made the right decision: “It was a tremendous experience for me!”
“People with business experience can help look at problems a little differently than people closer to their academic roots,” Steve says, somewhat modestly describing the depth of knowledge and experience he brought to the program. For Steve, working with Kinara in Bangalore was a lot like working for a start-up and very “fulfilling to be brought in on a broader picture – to get to take a peek at the vision of the founders and be a part of making that happen.”
Steve and his wife Kim lived in Bangalore for four months while he worked with Kinara and “scouted” promising entrepreneurs among the enterprising poor. “We made friends that we will be in contact with for the rest of our lives,” says Steve, “and the experience of living there gave us a greater understanding than we could ever gain through travel of what it is like to live in a developing country.”
The best part about the program, according to Steve, is the excuse it gives participants to talk to anybody and learn about their life, ideas and dreams. He and his wife are both continuing the work they started in India. “I think the program is exceptional and has the potential to be a game changer,” Steve says. “You walk away with a breadth of experience that you cannot get anywhere else.” He is looking forward to follow the game-changing careers of fellow Frontier Market Scouts. You can read more about his experience in Bangalore on Steve’s blog.