Erica Rose, University of Michigan, US
I spent the summer of 2014 doing an incredible internship at the Aravind Eye Care System in Madurai, India. It was an experience that will, I’m certain, help shape my future on both professional and personal levels. In fact, since returning to Ann Arbor, Michigan where I am a dual degree student (MBA/MPH) at the University of Michigan, I have frequently discussed the work I did throughout the summer and talked to students, professors and community members about the incredible work being done to eliminate needless blindness. My internship not only helped me learn and advance within my education and career, but also furthered and strengthened the special bond that exists between the University of Michigan and the Aravind Eye Care System. Throughout the months of June and July, I worked with LAICO, the education and consulting branch of Aravind. My main project involved investigating the “hidden costs” associated with Aravind’s vision centers. Aravind opened its first vision center in 2004 and since then, their main Madurai hospital has expanded its reach so that it now serves as the base for 18 vision centers. Aravind has around 50 vision centers throughout the states of Tamil Nadu& Pondicherry, but my work focused on those surrounding the city of Madurai. I learned a great deal about Aravind, eye care and the operation of an enormous hospital system, but my internship experience also taught me a great deal about the truly unique and special Aravind culture. I have always known that in order to do my best work, I need to believe in my organization’s cause. I am mission-driven and goal-oriented and when I graduate from the University of Michigan, I hope to be on a path toward a career that utilizes my passion, skills and energy. I chose to intern with Aravind because I wanted to gain experience in a setting that would expose me to the variety of ways in which business and public health intersect on a global scale. I wanted to start to identify a way in which I might ultimately combine my two degrees (MPH and MBA). Most importantly, I wanted to work within an organization that demonstrates compassion and exists as a vehicle through which people can make a positive difference on a global scale.