How is it already June?

It seems like just yesterday I was writing my last blog post, just getting into the swing of things and figuring out what exactly I might be spending my time on here. It’s been a very short almost two weeks, as my days seem to fly by. Having been thrown into a project right before an executive presentation, my work days up until the presentation yesterday have been quite full, but I find the busier you are the faster the work goes by. 

One of the Jana buildings where we do most of our work

One of the Jana buildings where we do most of our work

The project I chose to primarily work on was a business enterprise survey for a specific ward of Bangalore, which looked into the economic makeup of the area. Coming in on the tail end, I was mainly a part of the statistical analysis of the data, and was able to apply much of what I’ve learned at school. Getting to work with the team and discuss the data beyond the numbers really gave me an idea of what the overall goal of what the survey was. Despite the more general and broad focus, in the end what we really wanted was actionable data. Our meeting with the Chairman, Ramesh Ramanathan—an extremely passionate and inspiring gentleman, who from my brief meeting could tell is a constant driving force for progress, made this clear. 


While we had a number of results, correlations, and conclusions, we needed something which we could use to either help the microfinance side with business development or separately, something that might be used to influence policy. Right now my focus has shifted to comparing the discrepancies between our data and the economic census data taken by the government, with the hypothesis that smaller enterprises may be underrepresented by the economic census.  

Outside of work, experiencing and exploring Bangalore has been quite fun as well. From witnessing (and being very impressed) how a 5 way intersection can function without any traffic implements, to slowly (very slowly) gaining more of a tolerance for all the spicy food, it’s been a time of constantly experiencing new things. That’s not to say we haven’t found comfort in what’s familiar though. Just today we decided we had to see what the Indian McDonald’s menu was like—no Big Mac to be found— and earlier this week some of our coworkers took us to Pizza Hut for lunch, claiming they had to ease us into true Indian food. Even the Western chains all have very different menus and distinct differences in taste though, catering to the Indian spice palette and vegetarian needs. Maybe one day I’ll find something that’s truly the same both here and at home, but I’ve had a hard time so far. 

Someone everyone got where they wanted to go

Somehow everyone got where they wanted to go

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About jacobvanhouten

Class of 2017, majoring in Mathematical Economics. Intern at Jana Urban Foundation in Bangalore, Karnataka in summer 2015.