An Exciting Experimentation Window

Having regarded my past few months at INSEAD as experimental grounds, the MBA’s 2-month break felt like an exciting new experimentation window. And with a “single” professional 4-year experience in management consulting, an internship seemed like the perfect opportunity to test new professional variables around sector and work setup. Therefore, I started looking for an internship where I would ideally work for a start-up operating in the social sector realm, my long-standing passion.

Thanks to via.work, a platform connecting young professionals to early-stage startups, I came across an opportunity at Latin American Leadership Academy (LALA), where I spent my internship. 

LALA’s mission is to develop and connect a new generation of principled and socially innovative leaders to enable them in their quest for sustainable economic development and democratic governance in Latin America.

Instead of focusing on only one important issue in the world, LALA empowers those who have already found their priority social cause to solve the problems they care about. Having no priority social cause myself, LALA came as a natural fit.

During my 8-week internship, I was assigned the Strategy Officer position.

In this capacity, I helped Diego, the CEO, develop LALA’s business and financial plans, define the organisation’s growth targets, and raise funds. Nonetheless, being in a startup with a lean team, I got the chance to work on a variety of ad-hocs ranging from impact measurement and marketing, to Board formation. These assignments were particularly enriching as I gained hands-on experience on a startup’s setup challenges, feeding my entrepreneurial curiosity by learning about what it takes to start and run a social enterprise.

Working in a startup made the days move faster somehow; it’s been a super-fast summer!

But my view is that time flew by faster because the experience that I was having there kicked-ass.

Here are the top reasons why my internship at Latin America Leadership Academy was so remarkable:

The purpose:

While I was highly motivated by the organisation’s mission, I wasn’t only inspired by the work they were doing, but also by their commitment. A commitment for every student they’re supporting that extends beyond simple professional integrity. And that’s perhaps the source of and the answer behind a never-ending determination that I personally started looking for. 

The people:

My team consisted of individuals from Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Lesotho, Nigeria, USA, and Canada. An extension and real-world reflection of a highly diverse INSEAD experience. Yet, it was the team’s care and investment in improving the welfare of its members that struck me most. 

Beyond the great environment, I was lucky enough to find life mentors, and that’s my most valuable internship takeaway. I never thought I could build such deep relationships in such a short period and I’m very thankful for the time both co-founders have invested in me.

The setup:

Being in Colombia meant having a whole different environment to explore. It was fascinating to hear the powerful stories of community leadership, and public-private-social collaborations that transformed Medellin. In addition, living in Medellin enabled me to advance my Spanish skills through private language lessons, enjoy the eternal spring weather. 

All in all, it has been an enriching experience on multiple levels and a successful personal experiment, where I got to witness up-close working in a social enterprise. This experience wouldn’t have been possible without INSEAD’ Social Impact Award that enabled me to pursue this opportunity and made this summer of growth possible.