Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Monica Kelsh

<p>Monica Kelsh gets lessons from a honey producer in Nicaragua</p>

Monica Kelsh gets lessons from a honey producer in Nicaragua

September 17, 2013

Program: Dual degree International Policy Studies/ Master of Business Administration
Undergrad: UC Santa Barbara
Fast Fact:  Monica spent her summer interning for Spark Ventures in Nicaragua.

What brought you to the Monterey Institute?

MIIS distinguishes itself from other graduate schools because it emphasizes the incorporation of practical work or immersive experiences in the field into students’ coursework. I wanted to gain more experience in development work in Central and South America, so I found it extremely attractive that MIIS wove this into their programs. It was also very important to me that I build up my fluency in Spanish while in Monterey, which the MIIS program also requires for all of their degree tracks.

What do you like about your dual-degree program?

The flexibility in the Policy track has allowed me to take classes both on theory and on practical tools; I've been able to take courses in my fields of interest - international development, community social change, migration, and human security – with courses that give me real skills, such as data analysis, GIS, program evaluation, and grant writing.

What were your main work responsibilities during your summer internship?

I spent this past summer working with a team of MIIS students and Spark Ventures, researching the investment climate and the top business sectors in Nicaragua. I utilized my time in León interviewing key stakeholders, business owners, agriculture experts, micro-finance scouts, and farmers to investigate the many stages of starting up an agribusiness that would support Spark’s new partner organization, Asociación Las Tías.

How did your internship influence your direction in life?

Working with an organization with a philanthropic social venture model has been an eye-opening experience for me. The internship has helped me narrow down my educational track and my career focus. I’m taking finance and economics classes to tie into my security and policy background, and I hope to work within the scope of social entrepreneurship and economic development in Latin America.