The HBS Summer Fellows Program enables students to apply their classroom training as they explore career opportunities in roles or regions where compensation is generally lower than the traditional MBA level. This summer, we are connecting with some of our 59 Social Enterprise Summer Fellows, who are working around the world to develop skills and knowledge while having significant responsibility and high impact.
What are you working on this summer?
I am working at Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc (CHAI), a global health organization committed to saving lives and reducing the burden of diseases in low-and middle-income countries. I am part of CHAI’s Global Malaria Strategy and Financing team, a team that provides direct technical and operational support to countries to strengthen their malaria programs and eradicate the disease. Part of my role is to support the development of a management diagnostic, an assessment tool designed to help national malaria control programs and ministries of health assess their managerial challenges in a more systematic way. I am also supporting the strengthening of the existing community health worker networks (workers commonly employed by governments to improve access to and uptake of malaria services in rural locations) to ensure they are agile and optimally positioned to help achieve and sustain malaria elimination.
Why did you choose this internship for the summer?
After spending significant time in an advisory role as a management consultant, I wanted to test whether a strategy role in an implementing organization is a better fit for me. I also knew that I have a passion for social impact, but had questions about the reality of working full-time for an international organization in the nonprofit space. Can I have bigger impact working for a consulting firm that does social impact work or a nonprofit organization that is closer to impact? My current role at CHAI will help me answer these questions. I also knew my role would entail liaising with CHAI employees in various countries globally to help them adjust their approach in their effort to strengthen the managerial capabilities of the national malaria control programs. Successfully comprehending the different cultural perspectives and particular country settings and behaving accordingly is a valuable skill that I wanted to get out of this internship.
What are your goals for this summer?
First and foremost, I want to leverage the skills I have acquired from consulting and my first year at HBS to help my team at CHAI increase the management capabilities of its programs. I also want to explore a career path that will allow me to have significant social impact and, in the process, meet amazing and inspiring people who have devoted their careers to the elimination of preventable and treatable diseases. Lastly, I want to take advantage of the access I have to great CHAI resources (health experts, learning programs) and learn more about innovative financing structures to tackle global public health issues, fundraising strategies for global health organizations, and best practices for supporting national health programs.
How has your MBA skillset prepared you to be successful in this role?
The MBA skillset has proven invaluable in my effort to help my team at CHAI. First, the lessons from the first year Leadership class have been crucial in the development of the management diagnostic tool, especially its human resources management dimension. The class has provided great insights on how to build effective teams and set them up for success. The frameworks from Strategy have been very helpful in many instances when I tried to assess various situations from a strategic perspective. I should also mention the case method--the numerous times I have put myself in the case protagonist’s shoes and the frequent cold calls have helped me quickly assess management issues, form an opinion, and engage in discussions more actively and substantially.
How has the summer influenced your thinking on future involvement in social enterprise?
My post-MBA goal has always been to pursue a career in the social impact space and, without a doubt, my summer at CHAI has reinforced my hypothesis and brought me one step closer to that. Working for an international organization that strives to provide children and adults with access to lifesaving medicine to treat diseases they otherwise would have died from 15 years ago has only made my passion for social impact stronger. As an HBS Summer Fellow, I had the chance to connect with like-minded students, especially students who founded their own social enterprises. Being among such an inspiring group of people and listening to their experiences has definitely influenced my thinking and showed me additional paths for social impact.
How can someone learn more about your organization?
Visit www.clintonhealthaccess.org or find CHAI on Twitter @CHAI_health.