George Abe, David Chang and Priya Mohan* 10.1 INTRODUCTION The University of California has a thesis requirement for all students in the ten campus systems who are candidates for a Master’s degree. At the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) the thesis requirement is fulfilled by a mandatory twoquarter field study assignment, which provides two full course credits for the students.1 A field study consists of a team of four to six students, a faculty adviser and a client working together for 20 weeks. Two weeks are typically spent in-country by the students. During this time, students conduct secondary research, making primary research calls in the US and consulting with their adviser. There is no classroom work specific to the field study. The students must fit their field study work into their regular course load. They will have, contemporaneously, two or three additional courses not related to the field study. The objective of a microfinance field study project is to bring together students and microfinance clients together to solve a strategic business problem for the client and render a worthy educational experience for the student. For the academic year 2008–2009, UCLA had 126 field study projects, eight of which were microfinance and another 14 that were not-for-profit. This program requires an administrative office to recruit clients, coordinate team selection, recruit and qualify faculty advisers, match teams with clients and make sure deliverables are on time. Since Professor Muhammad Yunus visited UCLA on 22...
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