An advantage of being in INSEAD’s December graduating class is the option to do a summer internship. It’s the chance to gain experience in an industry or topic you’ve never worked in before. My pre-INSEAD background was in public policy, so any internship was going to be a change of pace.
As recruiting season approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about the type of lifestyle I want beginning in 2020. But that’s just because I have long commutes, and I need a distraction from all the other crazy thoughts that pass through my head on a minute-to-minute basis. Why is there an inordinate number of above-ground pools near airports in the US? What sort of futuristic, utopian society would we live in if Adam Sandler had never made movies? Would there still be cancer?
Interning at Almouneer has given me an opportunity to learn about a scaling a social-impact solution sustainably in an emerging market. Almouneer is a clinic chain that focuses on chronic eye diseases, especially diabetes-related eye disease in Egypt.
“To the end of classes…!” we all spoke at once, as we raised our glasses last week after the final exam. As we drank, we all looked at each other in silent contemplation – would that be the last time we would share drinks and laughs? As a December class, we enjoy a well-deserved summer break after six months of an intense MBA program.
Having worked in the financial market for more than 10 years, I decided to come to INSEAD not only expecting to broaden my knowledge and skills, but also looking for the next step to take in my career. Somehow, I had an idea that I should focus my search on meaningful and fulfilling jobs, where I could have a better sense of the real impact of my efforts.
One of INSEAD’s application essays asks you to write about your short and long term career aspirations with your MBA from INSEAD. I wrote about building a renewable energy company to bring power to the unelectrified areas of Africa. I wonder how many people actually end up following through on what they wrote. In a way, it's part of the INSEAD experience that you end up on an adventure that you could not have imagined before. Somehow, though, for my summer internship, I found myself doing exactly what I wrote about, working for a pay-as-you-go solar startup in Nairobi, Kenya.
Following eight years in the financial services industry, I came to INSEAD to discover ways in which I could leverage my past experience to make a substantial difference in the lives of ordinary people. When searching for a summer project, I was keen to find somewhere I could make a tangible difference in a short amount of time and I knew social impact would give me the opportunity to live and work on the ground and see the day to day effect my work was having on the ordinary people I hoped to reach.
After working for five years in the corporate world, I came to INSEAD to explore my options. I wanted to do something different during my summer break. I saw my summer as a window to explore something new. A new country! A new culture! A new work environment! Social Impact was the perfect match. It would allow me to work on interesting life-changing projects, as well as live a both culturally and professionally enriching experience.
I joined INSEAD after spending a few years in corporate roles in consulting and insurance. For the two-month summer break, I knew that I wanted to try something different. When I saw the posting about a position at Kumwe Harvest on CareerGlobe I knew that I had found the right opportunity for me.
Choosing what to do on your summer internship is tricky. Should you look for something that helps you build skills that might be useful for your next job? Something that would look good in your CV? Perhaps you can take those eight weeks off and do some social impact work? It turns out that those are not mutually exclusive options. This summer I had the great opportunity to spend two months working at a social impact start-up.