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Thursday, April 17, 2014

UCLA students explore NMI’s high-tech potential

Five University of California-Los Angeles graduate students met with Gov. Benigno Fitial and other government officials yesterday to discuss the feasibility of bringing in high-technology companies to Saipan and making the island a high-tech center.

The five MBA students, who make up DMA Consulting, are researching how the island can take advantage of the CNMI’s immigration and tax laws in order to bring in a high-tech company.

A high-tech company like Microsoft or Google could help revitalize the island’s economy, said Russ Snow, president and CEO of United Micronesia Development Association.

“You have an opportunity here, hopefully, to make a little lemonade out of a lemon,” Snow said.

Snow hired the five UCLA Anderson School of Management students to conduct the research. The students are Meera Damle, Dave Eckardt, Saurin Shah, Sarah Unger and David Wong.

Damle, a 2004 Washington University graduate (in St. Louse, Missouri) is studying strategy and entrepreneurship at UCLA. She is the lead student coordinator of the Global Business Leadership Competition and an active member of the Entrepreneurs Association.

Eckardt is a 2007 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He is studying operations and consulting at UCLA and serves as vice president of Ethics and vice president of Internal Affairs for the Anderson Military Club. He will begin Navy flight school in 2009.

Shah, a 2000 graduate from UNC Charlotte, is studying finance and real estate at UCLA. Before studying at UCLA, he worked at Wachovia and Accenture. He serves as head of the Knapp Business Plan Competition and is a member of the Anderson Real Estate Association.

Unger graduated from Duke University in 2003. She is focusing on strategy and finance at UCLA. She is the Academics chair for UCLA Anderson and has been a member of the Dean’s List throughout her time at UCLA Anderson. Prior to UCLA Anderson, Unger worked at Qualcomm in San Diego.

A 2003 Columbia University graduate, Wong is focusing on strategy and finance while at UCLA. He is vice president of finance for the Strategic Operations Management Association and the vice president of finance and operations for the High-Tech Business Association. He interned for Google this summer.

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