Students either founding or working for social enterprises (nonprofit, public sector, or for-profit organizations with a social impact focus) are eligible to apply. Areas of focus may include: arts and culture; business at the base of the pyramid; CSR; community and economic development; education; environment; human services; impact investing; international relief; nonprofit consulting; and philanthropy.
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. The goal of this program is to give students the freedom to realize their unique career visions without being limited by the compensation levels of certain opportunities, regardless of industry or location. Funding is available for students joining existing organizations, as well as for those founding new ventures who have not yet raised significant capital.
As a Social Enterprise Summer Fellow, students will be part of a select community through the Social Enterprise Initiative. Social Enterprise Fellows will:
This summer, as the Digital Engagement Fellow in the City of Boston's Department of Innovation and Technology, I was responsible for developing and implementing a new digital communications tool and training full-time staff how to use it effectively. Ultimately, the goal was to spur both creativity and metric-based decision-making across City Hall.
I spent the summer working with Latino Small Business owners understanding their needs and developing small business financial products and services to help them grow. I was a project manager with a dash of business development, and also developed our capital strategy for our long-term growth.
I worked on 1) international expansion of Greentown Labs: identifying and prioritizing key players in the global cleantech ecosystem and designing partnerships with them in order to create new revenue streams and broaden our impact on global cleantech 2) business development for Greentown Learn: developing an educational non-profit spinoff from Greentown that designs targeted initiatives for hardware-based cleantech enterprises to increase their chances of success despite insufficient investment and long development cycles.
I worked with the World Bank in a project aimed at increasing access to water and sanitation infrastructure in rural areas in Cambodia. The project had two main pieces. The first one was to evaluate the impact of different interventions that have tried to increase access to water and sanitation in Cambodia for the past five years. The second piece was to work closely with one particular intervention that provides support to local suppliers so they can offer sanitation and water infrastructure at affordable prices. Those suppliers also receive support to develop a sales force, while keeping profitable margins. All these efforts are part of the ambitious goal of reaching 100% coverage of water and sanitation infrastructure by 2025; in other words, the government and World Bank want all Cambodian families to have a sanitation facility and access to clean water within less than 1km from home.
Crescent City Schools and FirstLine Schools are open-enrollment charter networks that raise student achievement and prepare New Orleans students for college and fulfilling careers. Together, they serve more than 4,000 students and employ more than 700 staff across eight schools. As a Human Capital Analyst with both networks, I utilized my skills to evaluate staff recruitment and retention and develop recommendations to improve outcomes, processes, and systems. These recommendations will help Crescent City Schools, FirstLine Schools, and other charters across New Orleans recruit and retain more high-quality teachers and staff, which will directly drive results for students.
Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRKF) is a venture philanthropy fund that supports social entrepreneurs with exceptional promise and impactful ideas that have the potential to scale. DRKF’s portfolio spans across multiple sectors and geographies and the approach draws from the venture capital background of the co-founders, Bill Draper and Robin Richards. Over the course of my summer, I analyzed the philanthropic and social enterprise landscape in India, developed the strategy and action plan for DRKF to build its presence in India, identified and facilitated early discussions with potential funding partners, and researched and prioritized entrepreneurs that DRKF can support within the healthcare sector in India. In addition, I also supported a portfolio organization to develop the plan to launch its product, a prosthetic knee, by the end of the year in emerging markets. The summer at DRKF helped me understand the venture philanthropy and social enterprise space across multiple geographies as well as provided avenues to apply and hone the leadership, analytic and communication skills I had learnt in my first year at HBS.
Customer Focused Government is a group within Governor Haslam’s administration that is tasked with working to make the Tennessee state government more efficient, effective, and customer focused. I worked mostly with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DOSHS), conducting an assessment of the Office of Homeland Security to understand the challenges facing the office and identify potential solutions to prepare for the next five years. I also had the opportunity to work with the Governor’s Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism to identify best practices in reducing domestic violence re-abuse through protection orders. Working with DOSHS showed me the impact that a state is able to have on protecting people’s lives.
I had the opportunity to work for the National Math and Science Initiative, an innovative non-profit organization created to facilitate the national scale-up of programs that have a demonstrated positive impact on math and science education in the United States. NMSI aims to scale up two proven programs by awarding grants to applicants from around the country that are well positioned to achieve success in replicating these programs. I got to travel the country (including 5 states I had never been to!) meeting individuals and organizations who are passionate about, and committed to, improving education in our country.
I worked in a project for Agora Partnerships, a social enterprise accelerator that connects for profit impact entrepreneurs with resources for growth. Agora's accelerator program had been very successful over the last 3 years, assisting 65+ entrepreneurs in their process towards raising ~$14 million of seed investment, and they were thinking about taking their operations to the next level. Specifically, they wanted to start building a whole ecosystem around the accelerator, offering a broad range of products and services to diverse stakeholders interested in the social enterprise space in Latin America. Target customers included investors, entrepreneurs, students, and several other types of individuals and organisations. I had two missions during the summer: a) Structuring the strategic vision, shaping its different pieces, and engineering how all of them would fit together, and b) Designing a formal network product, which would constitute one of the cornerstones of the strategic vision. In the end, I believe my main contributions were bringing their strategic discussions and brainstorming to an actionable level by helping them organize their ideas, and designing a minimum viable network product that they could actually prototype and test with their current capabilities and resources, preparing them for growth and success.
My internship focused on transitioning Ruma's internal processes for its new mobile banking business. This involved changing the recruiting, monitoring, and evaluation of their field officers and agents. I got a close look at how the agent network is organized and strategized ways for it to grow in transaction volume and number of customers served.
I worked with the non-profit TETEA (Tanzanian Empowerment Through Education Association) in Dar es Salaam and developed a start-up mobile education SMS service for Tanzanian students. Students may not have reliable access to books and teachers but most do have reliable access to basic mobile phones and are willing to pay a token amount for education content. It was so exciting to launch a pilot service and I learned a tremendous amount about the telecom business and Ministry of Education structure in Tanzania.