Analytics in Africa: South Africa

Analytics in Africa: South Africa is a hands-on business analytics learning experience.  You’ll learn the foundations of spreadsheet modeling and analytics, and apply your knowledge as you model the current and future operations of small and medium South African companies.   Obtain BIT major course credit (BIT 3424) and Study Abroad (BIT 3954) credit.  We’ll visit a variety of small and medium-sized businesses in and around Cape Town, including wine farms, startups, craft manufacturers, social upliftment enterprises, and a game lodge.  You’ll experience South African business and cultural diversity, and incredible scenery, wildlife, and food.  You’ll get an insider view of the best that South Africa has to offer; your program leader is a VT business professor who grew up in South Africa.

*
S Africa Summer Bookmark.pdf

Required courses: BIT 3424 (Introduction to Business Analytics Modeling) and BIT 3954 (Study Abroad)

For BIT 3424, students will receive spreadsheet modeling instruction in Cape Town, will complete foundational lab exercises and quizzes, and then undertake a spreadsheet project, to model the current and proposed future operations of an assigned small South African business.

For BIT 3954, students must read an assigned book about South Africa and do a short book report, prior to the program. During the program, students must write a group paper on an assigned South African company, keep a detailed journal and observations on cultural differences between South Africa and the US. A poster project will be due at the end of the program. Participation in all activities of the program is required.

Tentative travel schedule

  • 1 day travelling to Cape Town from Washington DC
  • 6 weeks in Cape Town, with:
    • 4 half-days of spreadsheet modeling class at the University of Cape Town, rated as Africa’s top university
    • 2 days at game lodge, on safari
    • 1 day at Langebaan boathouses
    • 1 day in Outdsthoorn, the ostrich capital of the world
  • 1 day travelling back to Washington DC

Likely business visits:

  • Western Cape wine farms
  • Tech startups
  • Local craft manufacturers
  • Social upliftment enterprises
  • Ostrich farm

Likely cultural visits:

  • Table Mountain summit via cable car
  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens one of the world’s best botanical gardens
  • Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned
  • Boulder’s Beach penguin encounter
  • Langebaan and West Coast Nature Reserve
  • Chapman’s Peak drive and Cape Point
  • Lion’s Head hike
  • Cape Malay cooking class
  • Cango Caves

Preparing

Check that your cellphone is unlocked for international roaming – call your cellphone provider ahead to unlock your cellphone for overseas usage.  Also, check if you have a TriBand-GSM-capable cellphone (insertable SIM card), as cellphones in South Africa run on GSM (not CDMA). Check ahead with your cellphone provider if your device will operate in South Africa.  You may be able to use international roaming with your current cellphone provider (e.g. some T-Mobile plans provide free international text messages and free unlimited international 3G data roaming in South Africa, with calls charged per minute).  You can alternatively obtain a South African SIM card in Cape Town, to insert into your phone, or purchase a cheap GSM cellphone in Cape Town.

South Africa runs on 220V, round-prong wall outlet plugs, unlike US 110V flat-prong plugs.  Laptop and cellphone chargers and electric shavers typically already have universal 110V-220V compatibility, and require only a simple round-prong to flat-prong wall outlet adapter.  However, other appliances, such as hairdryers, typically require a 220V to 110V voltage transformer, and are not recommended due to fire risk and appliance-damage risk. Hotels may have in-room local voltage appliances, such as hairdryers, or they can be affordable purchased in Cape Town.

Most South African hotels do not use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) - to avoid electric shock, check all your appliances for damage prior to use, and do not use any appliances in damp or wet areas.

Program fees are $8,600 A non-refundable deposit of $1,500 payable online, is due after acceptance into the program, with the balance of program fees due upon acceptance.

Application Deadline: February 15, 2020

 

Cost Summary (estimated)

 

 

Pre-trip Personal Costs:

In-State

 Out-of-State

VT GEO Application fee

$50

$50

VT GEO Participation fee

$50

$50

Air here if they purchase on own

$0

$0

Books and materials they will purchase

$50

$50

Passport or Passport/Visa

$145

$145

 

 

 

Pamplin billing:

$8,600

$8,600

Lodging

Included

Included

Airfare if included in program fee

Included

Included

Required Group Travel

Included

Included

Medical Insurance

Included

Included

 

 

 

VT tuition & fees-estimated based on 2018 rates

$    2,479.00

 $        6,164.00

 

 

 

Funds required during program:

 

 

Personal Expenses

$400

$400

Meals not provided

$1,382

$1,382

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Estimated Costs

$13,156

$16,841

Financial Aid and Scholarships:  Your financial aid eligibility can apply to this program. You must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the University Financial Aid Office.  In addition, you must submit the study abroad cost documentation form to the Global Education Office at the International Afffairs building, 526 Prices Fork Road, room 131.  The form can be found on the Global Education Financial Aid page.Note: Virginia Tech reserves the right to make cancellations, date and cost adjustments, and other necessary changes in the program. Prices may change due to global economic conditions.

Due to prepayment on items such as air and lodging, billing may not be in sync with financial aid payouts. Please be prepared to pay costs in advance, and be reimbursed with any payouts later.

There are up to 28 seats available for the program.  The application deadline is February 15, 2020.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Sophomores through Seniors
  • BIT 3424 requires BIT 2406 pre-requisite
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 (We will use mid-term grades for freshmen to determine eligibility).
  • Students must have a clean conduct record

Photographs copyright 2017 Tarryn Abrahams, Used with permission.