The last two months working for the Agricultural Transformation Agency of Ethiopia (ATA) have been a fascinating experience to gain a first-hand view of how to build a high-performing development organization in East Africa. Despite the many difficulties related to running an organization in Ethiopia, ATA is succeeding in building an organization with a clear sense of purpose, with highly motivated and talented staff, and that seeks to actually measure its impact on the country's agricultural sector. I think ATA's promising start is due to a strong leadership, an attention to talent, and the willingness to transform its environment.
Jacaranda’s innovative delivery model and its efforts to implement operational best practices as a crucial means to providing affordable, high-quality healthcare services to the low-income communities of Nairobi, Kenya. While my mandate was to develop a business plan and a set of recommendations around Jacaranda’s business model as it prepares to open its second and third clinics, one of the most rewarding parts of my internship was much more unexpected. About halfway through my internship, I was asked to develop and lead a curriculum to provide quantitative skills and Microsoft Excel training to Jacaranda’s staff.
In my pre-GSB life, I was a private equity operations professional working in portfolio companies in China and Southeast Asia. While working in small cities throughout China, I'd come to tacitly accept that polluted brown skies over neon-lighted industrial sprawls were the price that developing economies paid to catch up. Traveling around Southeast Asia, I was often depressed by the sight of town after town "trading up" to the same cheap, garish trappings of modern consumerism. I considered myself a true-blue capitalist, but did it have to be so ... ugly? One of the reasons I came to Bhutan was to see if a middle path existed between economic development and cultural preservation.
I spent my summer at Teach For America as an Education Pioneer Graduate Fellow. The Ed Pioneers Graduate Fellowship gave me a network of support, training and peers that I valued as much as the network and learning from at my internship at TFA itself.
In a previous post, I described the Chicago Fed’s role in monitoring financial markets and promoting financial stability. In this post, I will outline what a typical day was like for me working as a Fed staffer.
When I first heard about my project this summer at the CMO, putting together a training strategy for IT & Operations, I thought it would be pretty straightforward. I was certain there would be great frameworks already out there, and all I would need to do is to make some customization and fill in the blanks. Not until I finished all my work plan, issue trees, timeline and discussion guide (very consultant way of doing things), did I find out that I had not thought of all the complexities and nuances that would make my project difficult.
Have you heard of supper being served in schools? Maybe you have, but I certainly had not before starting my summer with Revolution Foods. Supper is a meal that is served in afterschool programs - think of it as a more substantial / bigger snack.
By Stephanie Peng
My closing SMIF blog post is inspired by a project one of my fellow REDF interns worked on this summer. REDF's Farber program has been in place since 1997, bringing 17 cohorts of graduate students, mostly from MBA programs, together for a summer to learn about employment social enterprise in the U.S. The Farber program started at a time when the social sector was barely on business school students' radar. But now, with rapidly growing awareness and interest, REDF is asking itself if it is time to redesign the Farber program to be more cutting edge. This in turn has prompted me to think about what are the barriers today to attracting talent to the social sector. I'll break down a few barriers below.
I have spent the summer working for a medium sized nonprofit organization; they have an annual turnover of around $300,000 and employ five full time staff. I would like to write about the challenges that this organization faces - and what I have learnt from those about nonprofits in general - and as such will keep the name of the charity, and the nature of the work, anonymous.
When I first applied to Stanford I'd heard that Touchy Feely was the most important class offered - a class that helps you understand your own style of social interactions and helps you improve upon those interactions. However, I didn't understand the value of that class until my summer internship. All I know is that I need that class and I need it pronto!
In my previous work environments, including investment banking and private equity, I really only worked with people with extremely similar educational and professional backgrounds as me. This summer I worked with people with all different kinds of backgrounds. It turns out that a workplace with diversity in educational and professional experiences is very tough! However, it's also incredibly more common than my experiences in homogenous work environments. The below blog post includes a few key examples of tough interpersonal situations that I experienced while working as director of operations for a charter school in Brooklyn, New York.