Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about the FMS Program here:

Program Details

1. How does the Frontier Market Scouts Program work?

The program selects, trains and deploys young business and development professionals to serve as a low cost and effective bridge between enterprising people in low-income regions and investors. Frontier Market Scouts live in indigenous communities for 2-6 months, seek out enterprising people, facilitate exchange of ideas, help shape business ideas and plans, and generate potential opportunities for social and commercial investors.

When Frontier Market Scouts are deployed to collaborate with enterprising people, the FMS program steers and facilitates the collaborations to benefit both enterprising locals and the students. The FMS program graduates gain career-enhancing and possibly life-changing learning experience. Enterprising people working with the Frontier Market Scouts discover and unleash the growth potentials of their businesses and themselves. They also broaden their access and increase their appeal to prospective investors.

2. When is the Frontier Markets Scouts training program offered?

The training problem is typically offered two times a year, in January as well as in May/June.

The next training programs will be offered in two locations:

3. What does a Frontier Market Scout do?

A Frontier Market Scout, working with an investment or development organization, immerses her/him self in a low-income community for four to six months and strives to discover and develop projects that can attract social and commercial investments.

She/he does so by fulfilling certain responsibilities that include: appreciating and discovering the local best surviving practices of enterprising people; organizing locals to brainstorm ways to scaling up their business practices; instilling entrepreneurial desire, and discovering local business-minded people; assisting enterprising people to shape business ideas and develop business plans; enabling enterprising people to obtain investment and structure business, and sharing knowledge with fellow Scouts all over the world.

Frontier Scouts contribute to poverty alleviation and wealth creation through entrepreneurship and enterprise development in low-income areas of the world.

4. Can you outline the Frontier Market Scouts Program design?

The program integrates local entrepreneurial development, and transnational development and delivery. The design aims to serve both students and entrepreneurs, and to create a symbiotic relationship between them to achieve enterprise development and human capital development goals.

The students and entrepreneurs must not only learn to manage differences in entrepreneurial and enterprise development across cultures, regions, policy regimes and sectors, but also learn to leverage the differences as sources of innovation. We have designed the Frontier Market Program to involve and incentivize local partners in every aspect of its operation, from education program development to delivery to student placement to organizational development.

5. Are there summer programs available?

The current FMS program is 2-week training plus 6 to 12-month field assignment with specific tasks.  However, there is an option for those in graduate school to participate in the training followed by a 2-month field assignment.

6. What is the difference between the Utah/Amsterdam program and the other Frontier Market Scouts trainings?

The only big difference between all programs is the campus and location you are receiving the training. The curriculum and caliber of instructors is the exact same as the other FMS trainings.  The one key difference for the Utah program compared to others is that it takes a slightly more domestic US market approach and explores key themes around impact investing and social enterprise in the US compared to more emerging markets.

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Admissions Requirements and Information

1. Who is the ideal Frontier Market Scout?

A passionate idealist who believes in justice for all, the ideal Frontier Scout has a solid background in business and management, a superb aptitude for immersive learning, and a strong belief in enterprise and market development as the most important means to sustainable improvement of living standards in developing countries.

2. What are the application requirements? Am I eligible?

If you are an enrolled Monterey Institute student, you may simply fill out the online application.

All other participants submit the online application and upload a resume, recent official or unofficial transcript (or copy of their diploma) within the online application. If you have any trouble uploading documents within your application, please send the documents to  fms@miis.edu or fax these documents to 831-647-6417.

Upper-level undergraduate students, graduate students, career-changers, and current professionals are encouraged to apply.

3. How do I apply?

Apply to the FMS program by filling out the online application.

Summer applications are due by March 7 (Early Admission Deadline: February 7). Winter applications are due by October 1 (Early Admission Deadline: September 1).

4. If I am not a US citizen or Green Card holder, do I need to apply for a student visa?

Yes, all participants in MIIS non-degree training programs have to maintain a visa status that allows for study. Please contact visas@miis.edu to discuss the J-1 and F-1 student visa options. 

All accepted and deposited applicants, will be contacted by the Monterey Institute Office of International Student Services to begin the I-20 application process.

For more information, please see visa information.

5. When is the application deadline and how much is the cost?

Summer 2014 FMS Training

Early Acceptance

  • Application Deadline: February 7, 2014
  • Applicants Notified: February 28, 2014
  • Program Deposit Due Date: March 14, 2014
  • Full Payment Due: May 1, 2014

General Submissions

  • Application Deadline: March 7, 2014
  • Applicants Notified: April 1, 2014
  • Program Deposit Due Date: April 15, 2014
  • Full Payment Due: May 1, 2014

Winter 2015 FMS Training

Early Acceptance

  • Application Deadline: August 8, 2014
  • Applicants Notified: August 29, 2014
  • Program Deposit Due: September 19, 2014
  • Full Payment Due: October 31, 2014

General Submissions

  • Application Deadline: September 5, 2014
  • Applicants Notified: October 3, 2014
  • Deposits Due: October 17, 2014
  • Full Payment Due: October 31, 2014

Fees:

Corporate: $6,000 USD

General: $4,000 USD

Monterey Institute and Middlebury Students: $2,000

Full and partial merit scholarship rates for the training may be available.

Participants may choose to apply for the training program or both the training and field programs. Participants will receive an FMScouts Professional Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing endorsed by the program, Monterey Institute, and training center upon successful completion.

There is no fee for the field program, however, participants are normally responsible for transportation to their site location and room and board and other living costs.

All field assignments include a stipend of at least $200/month.

MIIS students can participate in the program at regular tuition rates (6 units for the training and 6 units for the field program). Te program fee is still applied even when registering for academic credits. 

The $500 program deposit is due two weeks after acceptance. The balance is due by May 1 for summer programs and October 31 for winter programs. 

6. Can I receive academic credit for the FMS training program?

The FMS training program is available for 1-6 credits on a pass/no-pass basis. The FMS field program is available for 6 credits. It is the participant's responsibility to verify whether the credit receiving institution accepts the credits from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Participants seeking academic credits (and who are not enrolled full-time at the Monterey Institute when registering for FMS classes) will pay the standard tuition at $1,665 per unit, or $9,990 for the 6-unit training program. The aforementioned scenario also includes current Monterey Institute students who are not enrolled fulltime during the summer, fall, or spring semesters.

Students enrolled in a fulltime semester credit load (12 units or more) at the Monterey Institute will be charged the comprehensive semester fee of $17,485 (in addition to the $1500 program fee).  Similarly, if a Monterey Institute students wants to take 6 units, they will pay the per credit rate for AY 2013-2014 of $1,665. Merit scholarships can apply. Monterey Institute students should contact a financial aid advisor to review their specific situation.

7. Is there financial aid available for the FMS program?

There are a limited number of merit-based full and partial scholarships for the FMS training and field program. All applicants (current students and non-students) are eligible to apply for scholarships. Please indicate that you would like to be considered for a scholarship in the online application.  

Monterey Institute students may also be eligible to receive financial aid in the form of loans to cover program tuition and living and travel expenses. Merit scholarships for current MIIS students may be applied if the student is eligible.

If you are a Monterey Institute student or a participant taking the program for credit, please see the Monterey Institute Office of Student Financial Planning to learn more about your individual options at (831) 647-4119. Past participants have also received outside scholarships to cover the costs of the program. Some who are currently working for development or business organizations have applied directly to their places of work for reimbursement of tuition or program fees.

8. Do I need to be fluent in a language to be a Scout?

Functional language is key. In some countries English is the widely accepted working
language besides the native language so an additional language would not be
necessary. That's not the case in some other countries. For the latter, the FM
Scouts must have working proficiency in the native language to be able to
conduct their work effectively.

9. Is there an English proficiency requirement?

While test scores are not required, non-native English speaking FMS candidates should be proficient in English to fully benefit from the certificate training. 

Recommended Minimum: TOEFL 

  • Internet-based test: 79
  • Writing sub-score: 23
  • No sub-scores below 19

Recommended Minimum: IELTS

  • 6.5 Overall
  • No Sub-score below 6.0

Please contact Carolyn Meyer at cmeyer@miis.edu if you have questions. 

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Field Placement Details

1. Where will I go? How is this determined?

The placements are determined by FMS partners currents needs and priorities as well as the Scout's language ability, qualifications, and preferences. Currently the program has scouts serving in countries such as Kenya, India, Rwanda, USA*, Indonesia, Tanzania, Peru, etc. However, the program receives partners’ application on a rolling basis, and the offer continues to grow!

*Please note that non-US Citizens are not eligible for US-based placements unless they carry their own status for work within the U.S. International students cannot stay on MIIS documents for the fieldwork placement.

How is this determined?

The field placement review process begins 1-3 weeks before the start of the training. Before this, the program offers an orientation webinar to outline the process in detail. Each candidate should expect 2-4 interviews during the placement process; final offers are made at the discretion of the partner and are not guaranteed. Note that the FMS training is an incredible opportunity to network with practitioners in the field and professional peers. We see huge successes from fellows who are truly adventurous and able to accept ambiguity with a positive attitude, have a heightened sense of awareness in building relationships, and clearly expressing their professional goals.

To learn more about current and past Scouts in the field, please visit our FMS blog community.

Impact of FMS

1. What sustainable value will the Frontier Market Scouts Program deliver?

Our Frontier Market Program delivers sustainable value by delivering immersive experiences, along with original data and insights into the ecosystems and microeconomics of the 'enterprising poor' to the global business, engineering and policy communities.

We are designing breakthrough business models focused on serving people, and laying the groundwork for an influx in resources to grassroots entrepreneurship around the world. We are creating the ecosystems and institutional frameworks necessary to help drive organizational, financial and technological resources to frontier markets, in the form of business consulting to micro-enterprises, new entrepreneurial ventures, new investment, and product/services innovation.

By highlighting the market opportunities at the "bottom of the pyramid" and educating business and engineering leaders on how to capture them, we are incentivizing investments and job creation in low-income areas, as well as facilitating the development of low-cost, high-impact product, process and service innovation for these consumers. Both will serve enterprising people by simultaneously creating wealth and improving quality of life.

We are building technological paths (business models, distribution and adoption strategies) to "bottom of the pyramid" markets through which exponentially powerful, cheap and relevant technologies can be delivered, to provide efficient, scalable and sustainable solutions to the enterprising poor's greatest problems (such as sanitation, energy, and health).

2. What impact do you think Sanghata Institute and the Frontier Market Scouts Program will have?

We believe our approach will reduce poverty by accelerating wealth creation through more entrepreneurial ventures or investment funds aimed at serving capital-weak market; a greater emphasis on market solutions and private sector development in the non-profit and public aid communities; more multinational corporations designing products and services for the enterprising poor; more interest by the engineering and research communities in the design of cheap, high-impact technologies for "bottom of the pyramid" markets; more attention and interest paid by local governments to small businesses and grassroots entrepreneurs as engines of growth, resulting in more financial and regulatory incentives, as well as more investment in relevant public infrastructure and more awareness of market challenges and opportunities at the "bottom of the pyramid" in the worldwide business community.

Our work will boost awareness in the public and private sector on "bottom of the pyramid" ecosystems, business models, and market opportunities, and will help governments and nonprofits understand how market solutions can accelerate wealth creation in poverty stricken regions of the world. Poverty alleviation will become a business development task shared across an ecosystem made of public institutions, nonprofits, large private sector firms and local grassroots entrepreneurs.

Impact Investing & Social Enterprise General Questions

1. I’m new to this field. What are key definitions I should know?

You can find a list of frequently used terms and definitions here.

2. What is the return on investment for Village Capital?

Vilcap works with investors who have different preferences in terms of financial
returns and social impact. Vilcap's objective is to leverage the financial
capitals from these investors to scale sustainable enterprise development in
regions that need it the most.

3. Is Village Capital a non-profit?

Yes, Village Capital is a U.S. 501(c)3 corporation.

4. Where can I learn more about this field and like-minded organizations?

To learn more about impact investment organizations and articles about the field visit here.

5. Are we talking about aid? Don't we already spend enough on foreign aid?

No, we are not talking about aid. Regarding development aid, the past 20 years have produced very uneven results, leading to an increasing frustration in the global development community. Despite trillions of dollars in aid, many countries remain mired in poverty.

Top-down aid delivered to governments has often been siphoned off by corrupt or inefficient administration. Bottom-up aid, often delivered by non- governmental organizations, has crowded out market forces by providing free but unsustainable products and services, which not only disrupt entrepreneurship and wealth creation but also create dependency. By operating through government bureaucracies, foreign aid establishment often impedes the growth of a robust business sector, which lies at the heart of wealth creation.

6. What has changed in the development sector?

In the last ten years the development paradigm has evolved from the aid model to the disciplined investment model that demands both financial and social returns. This paradigm shift coincides with the change in views about people in low-income regions and the relationship between charity and global poverty. People want dignity, not dependence. They need market-based approaches to sustain growth and break the poverty cycle that depends on charity dollars.

We believe that international aid is a powerful and relevant tool in certain situations, but that in the long run market-based solutions and private sector development will more significantly contribute to poverty alleviation while opening the door to more business opportunities than in the past decades.

7. Why would business corporations invest in the 'enterprising poor'?

In August 2004, University of Michigan Management Professor C.K. Prahalad published a book, "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid", dedicated to a single powerful idea: the 4 billion people living on less than $2 per day represent the biggest latent market for multinational corporations.

Turning the entire poverty reduction paradigm on its head, Professor Prahalad showed that those we frequently see as an undifferentiated mass of despair are not only active and value-conscious consumers, but also often extremely savvy business people forming a powerful grid through which multinational corporations can access a market of nearly $13 trillion while creating economic opportunities for enterprising people struggling to make a living.

8. You refer to the global wealth pyramid. What are the crucial issues?

There are two crucial issues. At the top, large corporations struggle to redefine their social purpose while sinking vast financial and technological resources toward small market share increases or the development of products (such as the iPad we all love) that have a minor impact on the lives of relatively few. At the bottom, hundreds of millions of entrepreneurs are lifting themselves out of poverty in developing countries by delivering high-impact products and services (health, nutrition, education, connectivity) to local markets. These are the foot soldiers of poverty reduction throughout the world.

To us, this double paradigm increasingly sounds like the two halves of the same problem: driving global resources to the "bottom of the pyramid" to accelerate opportunity and wealth creation while tapping into the world's largest latent market.

9. Why have multinational corporations not dedicated their attention to the "bottom of the pyramid" markets?

Many multinationals are still ruled by their "dominant logic" which dictates that there cost structure and business models cannot serve those who live on a few dollars per day (their products are too expensive); that the poor do not have use for products/ services sold in developed countries (their output is irrelevant); those only developed countries appreciate and are able to afford innovation; that developing countries markets are not critical for the long-term growth or vitality of the business, and that their need to "streamline" and focus on core businesses makes "fringe" markets or product lines irrelevant or dangerous to their own bottom line.

In sum, with notable exceptions, the global business community seems, at times, to lack the capacity to understand these markets, the frameworks and incentives to shift their attention away from traditional business models, and often the tools to capture opportunities. Too often, multinational corporations develop only a limited awareness of complex ecosystems, thus relegating 'Bottom of the Pyramid' markets to the realm of corporate social responsibility initiatives.