With cross-cutting support from across the school, two INSEAD MBA’19J students have developed a work experience programme in social enterprise consulting for their peers.
On a rainy afternoon in Singapore, we were chatting in the canteen – so many clever students at INSEAD want to do good for society and many of them also want to be consultants. So, why don’t we provide a consulting experience opportunity that enables these students to apply the principle of business as a force for good?
As former consultants, we knew that many of our peers were applying to this field with limited opportunity to actually experience the role beforehand. To avoid a career choice based on speculation alone, we wanted to organise a consultancy experience programme for them. The idea was to find social enterprises that needed help with a strategic challenge and pair them with INSEAD students to do what they are best at – strategy.
As passionate supporters of social enterprise, we were keen to explore how INSEAD could actively participate in this sector, making use of its considerable network both on campus and among the wider community. We wanted to start something that goes beyond talking and delivers actual societal change.
We were confident that demand from clients was there – social enterprises often secure funding but struggle to formalise their strategy, which means their impact is not delivered in the most efficient manner. This was where INSEAD students could help. They could convert the goals into tangible actions, plans and strategies for these social enterprises.
The next question was whether we had demand from students. We found that we did! We surveyed our classmates, who showed an encouraging 80% interest. Indeed, INSEAD students want to be a force for good in the world!
Institutional support for our project came from all over the school – the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society, the Career Development Centre and from faculty. Multiple groups and individuals helped us by offering funding, advice or access to their networks.
With their support, we established a programme that is currently running in a pilot phase with two Paris-based clients. Each project team consists of five members and a project leader, and is supported by a prestigious management consulting company.
One client focuses on labour issues – eliminating child labour and improving working conditions for miners who extract a mineral used in multiple industries around the world. For this client, the team helps to formulate an effective lobbying strategy with international institutions, companies and local governments. Our other client is looking to us to help design a solution to measure their impact as an education research company. The client wants to expand its user base by improving delivery.
The pilot is in delivery phase, with final presentations by students coming soon. So far, the feedback from clients and students is strongly positive. Students appreciate the opportunity to deliver social impact while being able to experience real consulting. The clients are grateful to have pro bono support from top talent that strengthens strategy and increases impact.
Our next goal is to keep the programme running. This is especially challenging given the INSEAD MBA student turnover rate, with students coming and going in as short as 10 months. However, we believe the Social Enterprise Consulting Experience will continue to grow. Support from multiple sources coupled with student enthusiasm for business as a force for good open the door to increased social impact. Any enthusiastic INSEADer who wants to support our cause is welcome to join the team!
Marton Dosa MBA’19J and Mikel Narbaiza MBA’19J graduated in July 2019. They plan to return to the professional world and oversee the Social Enterprise Consulting Experience in their spare time.