By GotDesign
Getting an MBA is a difficult task. This should be obvious. Not only is it a Master's degree program -- with all of the challenges that entails -- but the MBA requires the achievement of a certain minimum score (differs at each university) on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Beyond these hurdles, individual MBA programs often require a certain amount of "real world" experience. Now, add to this list of hurdles blindness.

I recently received a phone call from a friend of mine who has started the MBA program at the University of Phoenix Online. He is having some problems with one of his courses and he has asked for my assistance. This in itself is not uncommon. What is uncommon is that my friend, Mario, is blind.

Mario was born and grew up in South America. At about age 9, Mario was injured in a hunting accident and was rendered blind. Because Mario lived in a rural/jungle area, having a blind son was a difficult burden on his parents. Not knowing how to deal with a blind son, Mario's parents gave him over to an American missionary to care for. The missionary arranged for Mario to be adopted and moved to the United States. Mario was raised in the U.S., has completed a B.A. in Business, and is now working on his MBA.

Mario asked me over to help him with his Intro to Accounting & Finance course. Of course, accounting is difficult subject for most, but what one generally fails to notice is that there are certain fundamentals of accounting that are spatially oriented. For someone who is blind, how do you explain the spatially oriented nature of accounting and financial data. For instance, the basic premise of accounting is that assets must equal liabilities plus owner's equity (assets = liabilities + equity). This posits a horizontal relationship. Add to this the vertical notation of different types of assets, liabilities and equity that shown on a Balance Sheet. How does someone who is blind keep track of all of these entries on financial statements when their interrelation is frequently shown in a visual medium?

Mario has no problem understanding the concepts of basic accounting. And I have no doubt that he will be able to master the precepts of managerial accounting. But I am amazed at the challenge that still faces Mario and how well he handles them.

Mario lives with his wife -- Sharon, who is also blind -- and their daughter, Sierra, who is sighted. So Mario faces challenges every day in almost every aspect of his life.

The purpose of this posting is not to describe the hurdles that the visually impaired face. It is definitely not to toot my own horn about helping Mario. The purpose of this article is as an encomium to Mario. Encomium means "glowing and warmly enthusiastic praise." And I must say that Mario is worthy of such encouragement.

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