It’s true that time flies when you’re having fun. Within the blink of an eye, I spent six weeks in Nairobi, Kenya, working at ALX, an education and talent development platform. I first came across this opportunity from an INSEAD classmate, Sue Xu, who like me, is keen on exploring a career in social impact. She had previously spoken to Victoria Peil, the head of ALX, and who happens to be the elder sister of another classmate, Christina. Sue then put me in touch with Victoria, and not long after, I was having a video interview with her.
Before I talk about my experience, I want to tell you about Ahmed (name changed). Ahmed graduated with a degree in hydraulic engineering from the UAE, before completing a traineeship with the Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza. Unsure about his career goals, he decided to open a supermarket with his brother, where he was the general manager in charge of inventory management, customer service and financial record keeping.
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.
This summer I had the wonderful and kind-of-unexpected opportunity to work in an impact investing company called Creas S.A. I say “unexpected” because to be honest, three months ago I wouldn’t have believed that I was going to be writing this post: one week before the summer break I still didn’t have any internship lined up!
I spent my summer in Nairobi, Kenya, interning at ALX, which I refer to as an education startup, but which is ultimately much more than just that. ALX is on a mission to transform Africa by developing and connecting a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders.
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.
The hiatus from the Jakarta Roundtable Meeting with US 44th President Barack Obama through Obama Foundation had worn out. The next real question is, how do I move forward? And often time I look so much to the future that I forget the present. This is where my internship nicely touches the subject, and taught me valuable life lessons. I was fortunate that the work arrangement was remote, hence allowing me to actually be in Jakarta while enjoying a few travels to Philippines and Singapore for work.
As part of the January intake of INSEAD MBA programme, I had the opportunity to pursue an eight-week internship over the summer. With my eyes set on spending this time in Europe in all its glory: picking up a local language, learning new skills in business development, building a strong network in the impact space and reciprocating with maximum impact, ChangeNOW stationed in Paris, presented the perfect package.
When I quit my job and joined INSEAD, I knew that it was going to be a year of great opportunities and diverse experiences. I have always wanted to pursue a career in social impact and a summer internship during my MBA seemed to be the perfect option to test the waters.
I have always been excited about exploring foreign lands and working in a startup. When SPOUTS of Water, a rapidly growing early-revenue-stage social enterprise that manufactures and distributes ceramic water filters in Uganda offered me the opportunity to go to Uganda for the filter startup, I accepted it. I was glad that I did it because the experience was fulfilling both culturally and professionally.