The Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development offers undergraduate students interested in global poverty and development the opportunity to work on faculty-led projects and gain fieldwork experience through the Summer Undergraduate Field Research Assistant Program.
Selected students spend up to 12 weeks in a low- or middle-income country conducting research for a Stanford faculty member or affiliate. Each research assistant receives a stipend to cover travel and living expenses. The minimum time commitment is 8 weeks, and the maximum is 12 weeks. Stipends will be pro-rated depending on the total time commitment.
Research assistants will have the opportunity to discuss their work at an event organized by the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development.
Research Project Description:
The majority of micro entrepreneurs in developing countries do not maintain records of their business performance, and therefore lack the metrics and analytics (business intelligence) needed to understand their business contexts and make strategic decisions to overcome challenges or take hold of opportunities. We have found from prior research that many entrepreneurs simply do not know what to record (the metrics) and, once recorded, they do not know how to organize the information (the analytics) in a way that allows them to make effective business decisions. To address this issue, we have designed an easy-to-use business information tool that uses mobile phone technology to increase an entrepreneur’s ability to track, access and take action on business intelligence. For most developing country entrepreneurs, having access to this type of business intelligence represents a novel capability and, thus, could lead to lasting improvements in formal record keeping and raise awareness of important business metrics and benchmarks. This research project is using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) study design to measure the impact on business performance of the novel information technology tool that increases access to business information for a sample of growth-oriented entrepreneurs in Rwanda. We will examine whether providing entrepreneurs with information and analytics on their own business performance and activities enables them to make more strategic business decisions that lead to higher profitability, increased employment and growth.
Faculty supervisor: Stephen Anderson, Graduate School of Business
Dates: Summer of 2019 with flexible dates ranging from 8-12 weeks
Location(s): Kigali, Rwanda (with possible travel to Muhanga and Musanze provinces)
The Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development will cover:
- Round-trip, economy class airfare (based on fares to and from San Francisco)
- In-country accommodation
- A nominal stipend, sufficient to cover food and basic living costs including in-country transportation necessary for research
- Students receiving financial aid will have supplementary money added to the stipend depending on the level of aid.
Students are financially responsible for:
- pre-departure immunizations
- travel medicine consultation
- health insurance
- visa costs
- all other incidental expenses including personal travel
- Conduct exploratory interviews with entrepreneurs participating in the project
- Assist with the development and piloting of the follow-up survey
- Stanford undergraduates in good academic standing are eligible to apply.
- All majors are welcome.
- Students must be currently enrolled at Stanford as well as during the spring and fall quarters of 2019.
- Knowledge of French or Kinyarwanda would be helpful but is not a must.
- Coursework in management, marketing and/or economics is a plus.
- Per Stanford International Travel Policy, this opportunity is conditional on the security level in the country remaining at level 1 or 2. See the U.S. Department of State for more information.
- International students must check with the Bechtel International Center regarding whether their immigration status will allow them to travel over the summer.
- Students will be required to attend or complete in spring quarter:
- An Office of International Affairs (OIA) international travel preparation course on Canvas;
- A Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development orientation session regarding compliance with Stanford University policies;
- A field research information session; and
- A Vaden Travel Health information session and/or a travel clinic appointment.
- Please note that these will be held in spring quarter and are mandatory.
- This opportunity is made possible by VPUE funding. Students may not accept more than $9,000 and may not accept more than one of the following opportunities in a single academic year: UAR Major Grant, UAR Chappell Lougee Scholarship, Haas Summer Fellowship, Department Grant-supported summer research position, Faculty Grant-supported summer research position, Other full-time summer fellowship or internship. Please see VPUE guidelines under “Funding Caps” here for details.
Along with the application, applicants are asked to submit a c.v. and an official Stanford transcript, and one letter of recommendation from faculty or from a supervisor in relevant work.
Completed applications will be reviewed by a committee and finalists will be invited for an in-person interview with the faculty member who will be managing the selection process. Please email CorinneThomas@stanford.edu when you submit your application.
Candidates will be selected based on overall fit with the program, especially enthusiasm for the research focus, and the ability to work both on a team and independently.