Friday, May 16, 2014

My Academic Training Experience

The Fulbright scholarship was a life changing experience for me, from the academic angle, to the personal angle, leading to a long-lasting career. Many students talk about their academic experience, and while this was amazing for me, I will tell you more about how my training guided me to start my own business and to embark on the path I had envisaged for myself. 

I applied for a Fulbright scholarship so I would be able to one day start my own business. I have always wanted to own a restaurant and to use food as a vehicle to bring people together and bridge gaps between cultures. Since America is the land of opportunities and San Francisco in particular is known for its business innovations and start-ups, I used my last semester to research business entrepreneurship in the Bay Area. I came across a new law that was passed in January 2013 called the California Homemade Food Act. This act allows individuals to legally apply for a license to cook and prepare 'low risk foods' for public consumption. The timing of this law was perfect for me, as I was almost done with my MBA and preparing to follow my childhood dream, I could not think of a better way to take all that academic knowledge and put it in practice. I also wanted the opportunity to test my business concept and run a 'pilot test' before embarking on the bigger mission of opening a full-fledged restaurant. So, I collected all information possible from my research, filled the necessary application forms and headed to the San Francisco City Hall to register my business and get my seller’s permit.

That was in November 2013, in parallel to my internship. I can only say that the satisfaction I get from my business is more than any job I have ever held, I get to practice the full chain of running a business from financial management, to supplier management, production, marketing, advertisement, selling via direct consumer interaction and customer feedback. My business broke even in February 2014; I cannot wait to gather all the learnings from this experience to share with my friends, family and possibly future employees when I open my restaurant in UAE . The only way is up from here.

Awatif Yahya is a Fulbrighter from the U.A.E. who completed her MBA program at Golden Gate University.Her business is called Moyoni, San Francisco Baking.

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