Currently viewing the tag: "Internships"

In the first of the Student Stories posts for 2016-2017, McKenzie reports on her internship in Johannesburg, South Africa this past summer.

Howzit future Fletchies!  It was great to return to town after three months in South Africa this summer (or winter, as it happened to be in the southern hemisphere).

Living in Johannesburg, I worked at Edge Growth to expand the 10X-entrepreneur (10X-e) program for scale-up or growth-stage startups across South Africa.  Through my job, I helped develop materials for 10X-e bootcamps and facilitated one-on-one growth strategy and execution workshops for portfolio companies of Edge’s flagship impact fund, the Vumela Fund.  I also got to support the Vumela Fund directly, helping strategize pipeline development and deal sourcing efforts and contributing to the due diligence of a prospective investment.

Fletcher students use their internship to accomplish a number of different goals.  Some use it to “test out” a new career field or to gain practical skills in a specific area, others to explore a new region of the world, and still others to conduct research for capstones.  Through my internship, I reaffirmed my interest in pursuing a career in impact investing and gained experience working alongside a fund investing in growth-stage companies in an emerging market setting.

McKenzieBut summer internships aren’t only for professional growth — I took the opportunity to travel and see as much as possible of South Africa over weekends and public holidays.  I attended braais (like barbeques), where I feasted with friends on grilled meats and braaibroodjes (pretty much a grilled cheese sandwich with onions and tomato), while discussing local politics and the municipal elections that were to take place in August.  I attended my first-ever rugby match to watch South Africa’s beloved Springboks take on the Irish (and win!).  I explored food markets in the reviving central business district of Jo’burg.  I visited the sobering apartheid museum to steep myself in the rich yet horrifying past, and did yoga on Constitution Hill (a former prison and now the site of South Africa’s Constitutional Court), in honor of Mandela Day.

I was also able to travel to both Cape Town and Durban in the course of my work, and spent time hiking Table Mountain and Lion’s Head or dipping my toes in the Indian Ocean after facilitating workshops for some of Vumela Fund’s portfolio companies.  Finally, while in Tanzania for a separate project with an Omidyar Network portfolio company, I met up with a classmate working in Arusha to take a short safari in Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed my summer and was able to find the perfect mix of professional experience and personal growth.  While I was sad to leave a country I was only just beginning to know, I’m excited to be back at Fletcher and kicking off my second year.  At the same time, I know that each semester goes by in the blink of an eye and I am trying to savor every day.  For those of you looking to begin grad school this time next year, remember to enjoy the next eight-to-ten months, in between drafting your personal statements and updating your résumé.  The time will be gone before you know it!

The photo is from my favorite hike in South Africa (so far — I hope I’ll get back for more one day…).  It shows me halfway up the India Venster trail on Table Mountain, with a view of Lion’s Head and the Atlantic Ocean in the background among the mist and clouds.

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A couple of summers ago, I was lucky to be able to share a list of students’ blogs and for-public-consumption Twitter feeds (not all still active) that a student had collected.  I tried to accomplish the same thing this year, but, alas, did not persevere enough to accumulate much of a list.  Still, I’d like to share what I have.

MALD student, Sydney, is writing about her summer as part of the Blakeley Fellowship program.  As Sydney notes, she’s spending her “summer in the winter,” in Santiago, Chile.  You can read introductions to all of the 2015 (last summer’s) Blakeley Fellows here.

Another MALD student, Laura, notes that she’s at UN Women in New York and she tweets “periodically about UN Women’s work as chair of the Global Migration Group.”

And last, three students are Advocacy Project Peace Fellows.  You can access blogs by all of the Peace Fellows, or go directly to the pages for Allyson (who is in Jordan), Megan (in Nepal), and Mattea (in Greece).  Poking through the list of past Peace Fellows will tell you what other Fletcher/Tufts students have done in their work.  Fletcher’s relationship with the Advocacy Project goes back to 2004.

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Most Fletcher students pursue an internship between their first and second years of the MALD or MIB programs.  While some internships are paid, and others come with a stipend, many (alas) are unpaid and might be out of reach for students.  That’s where Fletcher summer funding comes in.  There are quite a few sources of support for internship-pursuing students.  At the time of year when students are making their final summer arrangements, here are a few of the announcements I’ve seen lately:

The Blakeley Summer Fellowship will provide stipend funding to up to ten students to support a summer internship in a developing country, with a focus on microfinance, private sector development, public-private partnerships, SME development, or NGO business development.

The Slawson Fellowship will provide stipend funding to one first-year MALD or MIB student who accepts a summer internship with an NGO to work in a developing country.  The student must be interested in a career in NGO management, and must be a U.S. citizen returning to Fletcher in fall 2016.

Each year, the Fletcher Alumni of Color Association awards internship stipends to Fletcher students of color pursuing unpaid or partially funded summer opportunities.

The Topal Family Foundation will offer stipend funding to three or more  MALD, MA, MIB, LLM, GMAP, or PhD students selected as Topol Scholars in Nonviolent Resistance for summer research or a summer internship that focuses on nonviolent resistance.

The fellowships may not make students wealthy, but they certainly go a long way toward covering travel or living expenses during the summer months.

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Time to wrap up the reports on summer internships.  Today, Ali tells us about her summer at YUM! Brands, a major multinational company that just happens to be located in her home town of Louisville, Kentucky.

When’s the last time you looked at a utility bill?  What about 20,000 utility bills?  That’s what I was doing this summer at YUM! Brands — the parent company for KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.

Ali and the ColonelIt may sound mind-numbing, but I thoroughly enjoyed the task.  It cut across key departments and supported answers to questions, including:

  • What is the role of a for-profit company in addressing global climate change and water scarcity?
  • How do we communicate with franchisees about sustainability and cost tradeoffs in the supply chain?
  • What’s the best way to collect and manage CSR (corporate social responsibility) data from places like the U.S., China, and Australia?  Are we only responsible for equity markets, or are we responsible for franchisee markets, too?
  • What do investors care about, and how does sustainability affect YUM!’s stock price?
  • Should investors and governments encourage utilities to standardize units, billing cycles, and other statement features, as they increase their corporate water and greenhouse gas accounting requests, too?

Under the guidance of the Chief Sustainability Officer and YUM!’s Global Sustainability team, I collaborated with employees from government affairs, foundation, supply chain, IT, investor relations, and more, to author the company’s WDP (water disclosure project) report; develop its water stewardship strategy; select a new data management system; and engage employees, investors, and ESG (Environmental, Social And Governance) research agencies, around YUM!’s sustainability efforts and their connection to its stock price.

I enjoyed my time at YUM!, and this semester, I’m continuing my work from there through my involvement with Net Impact and my internship at Breckinridge Capital Advisors, where I’m learning about sustainability from the fixed income investor’s perspective.

Breckinridge actively recruits Fletcher students, and I’m grateful that coming here for my degree gives me the opportunity to shift my career focus and intern in different settings than I’ve worked in before.

I’m looking forward to reporting more about the great and final year ahead!

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The second of our returning student bloggers to report this semester is Aditi, who spent her summer in Rwanda, where her experience taught her some lessons that she hadn’t anticipated.

Aditi_Patel JPGThanks to the Leir Fellowship that supports Fletcher student internships, I was able to work in Rwanda over the past summer.  It was my first experience traveling to Africa, but having spent time in India, the U.S., and South America, I felt as though I was well-prepared for what the experience might throw my way.  In some ways, I was right: I wasn’t overwhelmed by the crowds, or paralyzed by the sight of poverty, or surprised at the presence of expensive restaurants and a thriving nightlife with international music playing at every club.  In several other ways, however, I found that the experience was new in ways I had not anticipated.

The organization I was working with, Manos de Madres Rwanda, works in partnership with a local clinic that has worked in Kigali for over a decade.  The patients are women and children living with HIV/AIDS. Several grew up orphaned, and most are desperately poor.  The clinic provides its patients with physical and psychological care, and Manos de Madres offered to partner with the clinic to provide the women with livelihoods and skills training.  The organization has a program manager, a marketing manager who I helped hire during my time there, and three young “Cooperative Agents” who are part-time staff and also patients of the clinic.  This team runs a number of different programs with various cooperatives of women: an organic market garden called Baho; a screen-printing business called Dutete; a jewelry-making cooperative called Ejo Hazaza; and a microloan program for young mothers.

My day-to-day work consisted of visiting each of the cooperatives and participating in their meetings, followed by team meetings with the Manos staff. Although I was originally hired to start work on Manos’ monitoring and evaluation of its programs, it quickly became clear that the need of the organization was improved general management. I had to be responsive to the needs of the organization, and although I wanted to test my newly-minted monitoring and evaluation skills, I realized that it would be a far more impactful contribution to help the team with its daily management and putting in place systems and processes. I spent a lot of my time conducting trainings with the team—on business plan creation, so they could work better with the cooperatives; on reporting; and on using Excel. I created a new reporting structure for the Manos team to use and trained them on how to fill out and submit reports.

KigaliLiving and working in Kigali was a mixed experience for me.  It was my first time living in a country where I was absolutely unable to communicate with most people around me, and before this summer, I definitely underestimated the impact this would have on me.  Being unable to communicate with the women we worked with was incredibly frustrating, as I always had to request translation or else be left out of the conversation.  It made me deeply uncomfortable, and it has made me question the effectiveness of working in a country for which I have no local language or context skills.  It will make me think twice about future career decisions, and tread carefully and think through my own assumptions before embarking on a career living or working in an environment where I do not speak the language.

Aside from the personal growth and thoughts about how I would like to shape my career, I had the opportunity to see a lot of the country.  I hiked up a volcano to see a crater lake at the top, and went on my first African safari at Akagera National Park.  The country was phenomenally beautiful, with the bus rides being more than enough of a treat to justify a disappointing destination, had there actually been one!

I was also very interested to see how Rwanda is changing its national image from a country scarred by genocide, to one that is increasingly a tourist and investment destination.  The process of building this new identity while remembering and memorializing the genocide is a tricky balance, and one that I am curious to learn more about.

Professionally and personally, this summer in Rwanda has helped me solidify how I want to build my life and career post Fletcher — it was a perfect way to tie together my first and second year at Fletcher.

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Launching the Student Stories feature for 2015-16 is second-year MIB student, Alex, who is reporting on his summer internship in the Boston area.

Alex SFletcher is not the type of school where everyone hopes to spend the summer as a consultant or banker in New York.  Ask a dozen people here what they did for their summer internship, and I bet you will get a dozen completely different answers.  With people scattered across the world doing everything under the sun, it would be quite difficult for me to describe the average Fletcher internship.  Instead, I can at least provide you with one data point by telling you about my summer, spent in the most unlikely of places for a Fletcher student: Boston.

My internship was with a rapidly growing solar energy project development company in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, which I secured with the help of one of my professors.  I worked to build out their “Community Solar” offering, which is the hot new thing in the industry: instead of mounting panels on their roofs, anyone can subscribe to centralized solar installations, effectively opening up the market for the 80% of people who could not go solar previously.  As you may remember from earlier blog posts, I am interested in innovative business models and financing mechanisms for clean energy infrastructure, so this was right up my alley.  Furthermore, working on the development side provided a good experiential addition to my internship with the wind energy private equity firm last semester; now I know both the money side and the project side of the deal.

Actually getting to build out a new product offering, with all the requisite business processes, was a great opportunity as well.  In my previous role as a strategy consultant, I was generally looking at the bigger picture instead of tackling all the nitty-gritty pieces of building something new.  It was an eye-opening experience, which brought some concreteness to my thinking.

The size of the company was another aspect I enjoyed: at 45 employees, it was much smaller than Monitor Deloitte and much bigger than some of the start-ups I have worked with in the past.  At this size, a company has the expertise and basic processes in place, but does not yet have the silos that beset many larger organizations.  I felt empowered to reach across the organization, make decisions, and execute as I saw fit, which I greatly enjoyed.  Also, I was excited to be surrounded by experts in all aspects of building our energy sources of the future.

Internship mapSo, while I have to admit I was jealous at first of all my friends jetting off to cool and exotic places for their summers, I ended up being happy that I kept mine local.  One of the great perks was my commute, which included biking along charming Charles Street in Beacon Hill, through the verdant Public Gardens, and then down bustling Newbury Street in Back Bay.  I feel lucky that I was one of the few who got to stay in Boston, and appreciate the opportunities and beauty of the great city in which we live.

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Continuing the internship theme from Tuesday, Aditi reports on her internship and other plans for the coming months.

Summer has finally arrived in Boston!  After a grueling couple of weeks for finals, I’m done and can enjoy the beautiful weather for a little before I leave for my summer internship.

This summer, I will be working with a small NGO in Kigali, Rwanda, on their monitoring and evaluation plans.  Another Fletcher student worked with the same NGO last summer, and was responsible for hiring me and training me; she was an incredibly useful resource for learning more about the organization and its work, her experience working with them, and Kigali generally.  I’m really excited to be in Rwanda — it will be my first time in Africa! — and I’m lucky enough that I will have the company of five other Fletcher students who will also be doing internships there.

I was fortunate to receive funding from Fletcher, through the Office of Career Services, to support my work over the summer.  My research partner and I also received a grant from the Hitachi Center (which I wrote about earlier) to conduct research for our capstones, which we will write next year.  The research will lead me to Nairobi, Kenya for a week after wrapping up my summer internship.  And once that’s done, after heading home to India for a week, I’ll be back on campus in mid-August as the teaching assistant for the Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation (DME) series taught by Prof. Scharbatke-Church.

What I’m most excited about for the summer (in addition to beautiful Kigali and exploring a new country) is the chance to put my DME coursework to use through my internship.  Looking back to August 2014, I’m so glad I took the pre-session course and went through the series all the way through Advanced Evaluation this semester, because it gave me new tools with which to think critically about development and the underlying logic behind it.  It’s an excellent class for anyone who has worked, or wants to work, in development or peacebuilding.  In addition to giving you a set of in-demand skills (because, jobs), it also helps you understand how much higher the bar should be for good development work that can create change, and what steps we can take to reach that bar.  It’s an incredibly challenging course that makes you question your assumptions, but the hard work and heavy reading load is completely worth it.  If it interests you, definitely consider taking it.

In the meantime — have a wonderful summer, and I’m looking forward to meeting all of you who are new students come August!

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Ali started contributing to the blog last fall, and now, with two semesters behind her, she is pursuing her summer internship.  Today she describes how her internship plans came together.

The “first years” are done with our first year of graduate school!  It’s an exciting, sad, and anxious feeling — all at the same time.

We’re excited that we survived, and that we get to meet the new first years in the fall.  We’re sad that the graduates are leaving Boston, and we won’t see them as often anymore.  Finally, we’re anxious to succeed at the summer internships we’ve landed, most of which start in the coming weeks.

The latter subject is the topic of my final blog post for the year.  When I last wrote, I promised to update you on the summer position that Fletcher and Net Impact helped me land.  I’m happy to say I’ll be working with the YUM! Brands sustainability team in Louisville, KY (my hometown!) this summer — performing data analysis and reporting for the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and updating the company’s sustainability strategy with new goals and partnerships.  YUM! — better known as KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell — is facing a lot of industry-representative sustainability challenges right now, regarding its use of antibiotics, palm oil, and forest fibers, and I’m excited to help them develop innovative solutions responsibly.

Prof. Rappaport’s Corporate Management of Environmental Issues class, Net Impact’s new SolutionsLab series, and Fletcher’s alumni are three resources that have been useful to me in securing the position.

Prof. Rappaport’s class — offered in conjunction with Tufts’ Department of Urban and Environmental Planning — exposed me to many of the corporate challenges and trends that I discussed in the interview for my internship position.  Her class also provided me with multiple opportunities to expand my sustainability network.  For example, she invited a former UEP student who is now the Senior Sustainability Manager for DirectTV to speak to our class, and she allowed me to invite Walmart’s Director of Product Sustainability to speak to our class after I met him at a conference.

Net Impact’s SolutionsLab provided me demonstrable experience in food business issues with large corporate players like Monsanto.  Because Fletcher’s Net Impact chapter is an active network participant, we were selected to host the series’ first SolutionsLab event on our campus.  The event highlighted my ability to form and execute successful partnerships and was reported on 3bl Media just one day before a post about an upcoming Twitter event with YUM! and Triple Pundit.

Finally, as always, Fletcher’s alumni prove to be an invaluable resource.  When I found out I’d be helping YUM! with their CDP reporting, I sent a note to a Fletcher alum at CDP.  It turns out, there are multiple alumni there, and the YUM! Liaison at CDP is a Fletcher alumna, as well.  It’s nice to go into my internship knowing I have a broad network of support.

So, that’s it.  I’m off to my hometown to spend a wonderful and productive summer.

Thanks for following my story this year, and see you in the next.

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Internship map, 2015

To keep track of each other’s whereabouts, students created and populated this map with their summer internship destinations.  While not covering the complete planet, they’re certainly spread far and wide.

The biggest group will be found in Washington, DC, though they’ll be distributed across sectors, organizations, and agencies, including:

Department of Defense
Department of State (various divisions)
Catholic Relief Service
Nathan Associates
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
Middle East Institute
Delegation of the European Union, Trade Division
Save the Children International; Education/Child Protection Division
Center for Civilians in Conflict
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Internet Education Foundation, Google Policy Fellowship
Catholic Relief Services

There’s a surprising little cluster in the Bay Area (San Francisco) at:

Concur Inc., Environmental Conflict Resolution
Gap Inc., Supply Chain Division
Allison+Partners, Global China Practice

Beyond those friendly groupings (lunch, anyone?), other selected internship sites include:

United Nations and other international organizations

International Labour Organisation, Regional Decent Work Team for North Africa, Egypt
UN Women Headquarters, NY
UNRWA, Jordan
UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations, NY
UN Office of Sustainable Development, Seoul, Korea
UN Action for Cooperation against Trafficking in Persons (UN-ACT), Bangkok, Thailand
Asian Development Bank, Manila, Philippines
European Parliament, EPP on Committee for Strategic Dialogue with the U.S., Brussels
International Committee of the Red Cross, Senegal

U.S. Government, outside of the U.S.

U.S. Embassy, Ouagadougou
U.S. Mission to the European Union, Foreign Commercial Service
USAID Ethiopia
USAID Maputo, Mozambique
USAID, GIS Fellow, Lima, Peru,
Department of State, Beijing

NGOs, large and small

Manos de Madres, Kigali, Rwanda, M&E internship
International Crisis Group, Beijing
Faire Collection, Otavalo, Ecuador
Center for Democratic Development, Nigeria
Accion, Bangalore
The Asia Foundation, Dili, Timor-Leste
Impact Investing, Lima, Peru
Danish Refugee Council, Turkey
China Foundation Center, Beijing
Center for Democratic Development, Ghana
Danish Demining Group, Juba, South Sudan
The Awethu Project, South Africa
Mercy Corps, DME intern, Mali
Development Innovations, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Resonate, Kigali, Rwanda
The Akanksha Foundation, AIF Fellowship, Pune, India
The Advocacy Project, Peace Fellow, Lima Peru

Private sector organizations

Johnson & Johnson, Marketing Division, Tokyo
Scholastic, NY
Ernst & Young, Chicago
A.T. Kearney, Dubai
The ASG Companies, NY

And some others that I wasn’t sure how to characterize:

NATO Defense College, Rome
Legal Aid Clinic, University of Namibia Law School
Economena Analytics, Lebanon

This is not a comprehensive list, and the information each student added to the location pins wasn’t consistent, but I hope the message is clear.  Students pursue a wide variety of internships and they may be found anywhere in the world.

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There’s fresh information on the Office of Career Services page of the website with details about the internships that students pursued in summer 2014.  The headline:  161 internships in 51 countries!  Of those, 19% were with the U.S. government.  Students provided the information directly via a survey.

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