Shaping the Future: A Summer with Capitals Coalition

Sahiba Sabharwal

As a strategic advisor, my summer was dedicated to working with Capitals Coalition, a global collaboration advocating the inclusion of natural, social and human capital (multi-capital approach) in decision-making by business, finance and governments. 

The mission was clear: conduct a market study to identify the gaps between sustainability professionals and the adoption of the capitals approach in transformative decision-making.

Over two months, I (along with another INSEAD colleague) conducted semi-structured interviews with 15 organisations across diverse regions, delving into the minds of consultants, accounting/corporate finance professionals, and sustainability technical experts. The goal was to pinpoint areas where investment in skills enhancement was crucial for decision-makers. 

The strategic recommendations from this exercise lead to Capitals Coalition investing in two capacity-building projects as part of their forward-thinking education strategy.

The internship unfolded in a unique setting—remote and part-time. This setup allowed for autonomy in managing time, presenting an opportunity to take charge of my own schedule while working seamlessly with the Capitals Coalition team. Despite the geographical separation, the team's warm welcome and emphasis on the work's value helped the transition from classroom exercise to real-world profession work and was evident in the swift implementation of new programmes based on the study's final recommendations.

However, remote work brought its share of challenges. Limited access to team members made it challenging to fully grasp other ongoing initiatives at the Coalition and learn about other opportunities within the organisation beyond the team we were interacting with. Yet, this setup also offered a great balance - an enriching summer experience with family and friends while contributing significantly to my learning and career development in the impact sector.

The experience opened doors to incredible opportunities:

  • Insights into the Impact Sector: Exposure to the latest developments in the impact sector from a policy perspective and its repercussions on businesses globally.
  • Access to Expertise: Interaction with experts and senior leaders in consulting organizations provided first-hand knowledge of the skills demanded by the market and working professionals. This also helped expand my professional networks and build connects for the future.
  • Final Presentations: An opportunity to present findings not only to Capitals Coalition's leadership but also to the INSEAD Environment & Business Club, INSEAD professors, and the Hoffmann Institute. This engagement illuminated ways to integrate study findings into the strategic fabric of diverse institutions.

As the summer chapter concludes, the experience with Capitals Coalition has left an indelible mark. From experiencing remote work with teams in different continents, to networking with professionals in the sector of my interest, the journey has marked the first step towards my career in the impact sector and towards creating change.

This internship experience was supported by the INSEAD Hoffmann Institute Impact Internship Stipend and gifts from alumni.