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Fellow From The Other Side: Not Your Everyday MBA

 by Benjamin Bradley, Jenkins MBA Class of 2017

I’m not your typical business school student (I know, that’s what they all say). But I practice what I preach. I sincerely believe that altruism is not a luxury, but an essential need to overcome the challenges of our dynamic world.[1] I’ve always been committed to chasing down my passion, finding a way to work in service to others with an organization that is making a sustainable impact. I spent over two years living off of $4.75 a day while traveling the country and supporting socially-driven organizations that alleviated poverty, addressed educational inequities and boosted environmental stewardship. This experience, compounded with my first year of MBA coursework at North Carolina State University[2] has sharpened and honed my skills.

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be offered a position with one of the top social-sector consulting firms in the country, Inspiring Capital. A normal summer internship in the “MBA World” would’ve been very straightforward, allowing me to dip my toe in the waters of different departments to see what fits best. However, at Inspiring Capital, I had no choice but to belly flop. There is no normal day here. The locations, people, projects and hours all change. Each day brings its own challenges, tasks, and uncertainty, but I find a way to swim. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Inspiring Capital recruits top-level MBA students to serve as fellows for the summer and even pairs them with ambitious undergraduate students in an effort to provide managerial experience on top of all the other incredible offerings. Each fellow is paired with one or two organizations that are put through a rigorous project scoping process in order to have a refined, impactful and realistic work plan for each MBA. I am proud to put NC State’s brand and reputation right alongside that of my co-workers from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and Northwestern.

I recently finished working with The American Red Cross (who you have probably heard of) to boost their marketing efforts and engineer a campaign that will drive in millennial volunteers to take part in their disaster response, fire safety, and general administrative positions. I was faced with the unique challenge of reshaping a national brand’s reputation within a particular region in order to boost volunteerism. Through a combination of data-driven research and social media analytics, I was able to provide the Red Cross with actionable steps to take to create a more engaging and transparent reputation with millennials in an effort to pique their interest in volunteering.

With The Doe Fund (who you should definitely go read more about), I am working to evaluate one of their earned income service lines and determine the price elasticity of the pest control market. The Doe Fund’s social mission to provide transitional jobs to formerly homeless citizens creates a unique challenge when evaluating cost-cutting and streamlining opportunities. The project has required an incredible combination of many skills learned in my first year MBA courses. The work is fast-paced, challenging and unique but most importantly of all, it is impactful. I know that my final deliverables aren’t going to be filed away to collect dust but instead will be implemented days after I head back to school. I can’t imagine a more rewarding summer internship experience.

[1] Mattheiu Ricard’s writings highly influenced this statement.
[2] Go Wolfpack!