With an intense desire to learn Spanish and understanding the needs of the language-learning market, alumnus Archie Jeter (MIB ’06) has created an innovative alternative to traditional Spanish lessons.
In 2003, Jeter graduated from Northwest Missouri State University, where his interest in international cultures began. As an undergraduate, he studied in Madrid, Spain, and Brisbane, Australia.
After working as a credit manager at Wells Fargo Financial for more than a year, he enrolled in the Master of International Business program in the college. During his studies, he traveled to Guatemala to learn Spanish. It was there that the concept for Mi-Maestro was born. The idea was to connect talented Spanish speaking teachers to individuals interested in one-on-one Spanish tutoring.
“People who want to learn Spanish use books, audio tapes, or CDs, but the best way to learn a language is through one-on-one interaction,” Jeter said. “Most people don’t have the time or resources to travel to another country to immerse themselves in another culture and language.”
Great ideas often spring from practical needs.
Jeter returned to the university and enrolled in a few classes at the Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center.
“Alan Carsrud, the center’s director, gave me the confidence to pursue my idea and develop it into a business plan,” Jeter said.
That business plan quickly turned into a tangible company. Three weeks after earning his IMBA, Jeter left for Perú to start his firm.
Mi-Maestro officially launched in May, 2006. Its mission is to provide an innovative and exciting foreign language learning environment through real interaction among people and cultures using live, video language tutoring over the Internet.
It offers a virtual classroom for busy individuals who learn at their own pace at any time. All of the teachers live in the city of Cuzco, Perú, and are native speakers with at least three years of teaching experience. Mi-Maestro focuses on connecting culture to the Spanish language: Teachers are encouraged to speak about their daily lives in Perú.
Affordability is another distinction between Jeter’s firm and offerings of various competitors. Mi-Maestro only charges $16 an hour, whereas other one-on-one tutors may charge up to $100 dollars an hour.
Jeter has since returned to Missouri and is uncovering more markets for his business in the Midwest. While he does some marketing on the Internet, the majority of his firm’s growth results from word of mouth. He said most of his new business is coming from construction, banking, and the financial service sectors.
Mi-Maestro’s current target is to provide language training for those companies who are experiencing a rise in Hispanic consumers or employees.
His advice to budding entrepreneurs: “Pursue your passion. There will be a lot of obstacles along the way and the only thing that will get you through is your passion for what you are doing.”
For more information, visit www.mi-maestro.com.