Category Archives: Social Enterprise

HBS Social Enterprise Initiative Visits NYC

SEI visits with HBS Club of New York leaders and Summer Fellows the Club is supporting.

A lot can be achieved through emails, phone calls, and meetings, but being in the field helps broaden perspectives. The HBS Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) did just that – when Matt Segneri, Director, and Margot Dushin, Director of Programs, took a field trip to New York City over a couple of days in July, to visit Social Enterprise students and alumni.

Lunch with Larry Ackman (MBA ’63) and Summer Fellows he is supporting.

Within SEI, we have a lens before fellowships start, when we receive student applications for the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship or when HBS selects opportunities for HBS Leadership Fellows. We also work closely with students, alumni, and organizations after the fellowships, to hear about experiences. Seeing students and alumni during their fellowships brings us an entirely different angle. They may have just come from a brainstorming session or have on their mind a presentation to senior management coming up next week, and we get a peek into their day-to-day roles and the impact they are having.

HBS Social Enterprise Summer Fellows:

Urvesh Shelat, MBA 2015, arrived with a hardhat in hand for our breakfast with the HBS Club of New York, the fellowship sponsor for his summer internship. Working with New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, he often finds himself going between on-the-ground construction sites and strategic planning meetings at the central office with the Recovery and Resiliency group – a team that started in 2013 in response to the effects of Hurricane Sandy to make the system more resilient against adverse weather and climate change impacts. Urvesh was motivated to pursue this internship by his belief, as he explained, “that efficient and reliable transportation is a critical public service, and that it stands to become only more important as the U.S. population returns to urban centers from the suburbs and as environmental consciousness grows. My mission is to pursue a career improving public transportation, and this summer experience, which is more operational than my previous management consulting and transportation analytics work, is giving me greater skills and insights to manage a system in future.”

Jacob Cohen, New York City Department of Education

We met with Jacob Cohen, MPP/MBA 2016, at his internship with the New York City Department of Education (DOE), between meetings he had scheduled with staff throughout the organization.DOE serves more than 1.1 million students and their families in over 1,800 schools, and Jacob is playing a critical role with senior leadership in the Office of Student Enrollment in mapping and documenting current admissions/enrollments processes to advance the efficiency of daily operations. Jacob told us, “The Education Pioneers fellowship and my placement at the DOE is providing me with an opportunity to work directly with an education agency on the types of strategic issues that have the potential to impact thousands of kids and entire communities.”

HBS Leadership Fellows:

SEI director Matt Segneri and HBS Leadership Fellows (past and present) at Harlem Children’s Zone

A visit to Harlem Children’s Zone connected us with three out of four HBS alumni who are current or alumni Fellows through the HBS Leadership Fellows program, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a select group of graduating HBS students to experience high-impact management positions in nonprofit and public-sector organizations for one year at a competitive salary. Lauren Scopaz, MBA 2007, and Adam Zalisk, MBA 2013, shared how their roles have evolved since their Fellowship years, including Adam’s significant role in the HCZ transition team for their new CEO; and Christina Anderson, MBA 2014, spoke to her upcoming Fellowship year. Each has been working with senior leaders and playing a key role on HCZ’s strategic priorities going forward. Joining us in the conversation was Shana Brodnax, Senior Advisor of Quality Improvement and Strategic Planning, who noted that each of the alumni have “immeasurably enriched” the organization.

Thank you to students, alumni, and organizations for the chance to meet with you and learn more about your experiences in making a difference in the world!

Matt Segneri, Director, Social Enterprise Initiative
Margot Dushin, Director of Programs, Social Enterprise Initiative

The HBS Social Enterprise Initiative applies innovative business practices and managerial disciplines to drive sustained, high-impact social change. It’s grounded in the mission of Harvard Business School and aims to inspire, educate, and support leaders who make a difference in the world.



Springing Forward on Social Enterprise Career Paths

Hello from HBS Social Enterprise Initiative! We apply innovative business practices and managerial disciplines to drive sustained, high-impact social change at HBS and beyond. Spring is one of the most exciting (and busy) times at HBS! While students have been spending much of the fall and winter exploring options, spring is when many of those options come to life.  Here are a few of the ways students have been springing forward on their social enterprise career paths:

  • In late April, we held the Finale of the HBS New Venture Competition.  With 150 teams participating in the Business and Social Enterprise Tracks, many students started their journey of entrepreneurship several months ago inspired by the belief that “one simple idea can change everything.”  With kernels of an idea in mind, they tapped into the HBS resources and other parts of the University, like the Harvard iLab, along with the opportunity SEI Photo 2for feedback from panels of expert judges, to test their ideas in a rigorous and supportive environment. Within the Social Enterprise Track specifically, teams focused on ventures that generate significant social value, with enterprises across both for profit and nonprofit business plans including, a unique approach to addressing cardiovascular diseases Mexico, a model connecting smallholder farmers to formerly inaccessible markets, and several other plans are rethinking education in the U.S. and around the world. See more on this year’s winners.
  • Just a week later, the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Committee met to review the final round of applications.  Throughout the fall and winter, students have been seeking opportunities with social enterprises where they can both apply and develop their skills and knowledge, while having high impact on the organizations. The fellowship allows students to contribute in the social enterprise space and receive a supplement to their salaries.  In just a few weeks, our 2014 Summer Fellows will be around the world, with over 70 Fellows in 18 countries working on projects in organizations such as the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office, Social Finance US, United Nations World Food Programme, Revolution Foods, Greentown Labs, and Accion. If you are interested in hiring an HBS intern and your organization falls in the social enterprise space, learn how to get involved.
  •  At the end of May, we held our HBS Leadership Fellows brunch, a celebratory gathering for our 13 Fellows and their families before the start of Fellowship years. The HBS Leadership Fellows program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a select group of graduating HBS students to experience high-impact management positions in nonprofit and public-sector organizations for one year at a competitive salary. In turn, the program gives organizations the opportunity to maximize their effectiveness by leveraging the experience, energy, and analytical skills of graduating MBAs. Since 2001, the program has placed 138 Fellows with 58 organizations. This summer, Fellows will be working at organizations such as Acumen, City of Boston Mayor’s Office, Harlem Children’s Zone, L.A. Unified School District, and The Nature Conservancy, in roles where they can make a significant impact. Learn more about the Leadership Fellows program.

For those of us who work with students interested in social enterprise, it’s a privilege and an honor to support the paths our students are pursuing for creating social value.


Leveraging the HBS platform to enter social enterprise

Allie PicHello there! My name is Ali Huberlie, and I’m extremely excited to begin my first year at Harvard Business School! I’m also looking forward to blogging here, and sharing all the various aspects of my HBS journey here with you.

I’ll begin with some background. I originally hail from Hollis, New Hampshire, but attended undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. At Penn, I double-majored in Urban Studies and Political Science, and spent much of my non-academic time working for an organization that starts debate teams in Philly’s public high schools and middle schools. After spending virtually all of undergrad involved in the public sector, I decided to try something totally different after my graduation in 2011. So, I moved to New York City and began working in Foreign Exchange Sales at Credit Suisse.

The job, with all of its required attention to current events, actually spoke really well to my interest in political science. I also enjoyed many aspects of sales, and was given tremendous opportunity to interact with all sorts of clients. But for as much as I loved FX Sales, as time went on, I began to miss the type of work I’d done at Penn. So, after almost exactly two years at Credit Suisse, I made the decision to leave in order to attend HBS.

There are so many things I’m looking forward to at HBS—listing everything would take much more room than I have in this post! Certainly, I’m most looking forward to meeting my classmates and to learning from both professors and fellow students. But I’m also very excited to have the time to truly explore the wide variety of career opportunities out there. Though I go back and forth almost every day, I think that my “dream job” lies somewhere within either the social entrepreneurship scene, or the nonprofit management world. For the past two years, it’s been difficult to both balance a highly time-consuming job and explore other career opportunities. Now, however, I feel as I’ve been given an enormous gift of time—time to explore what’s out there, and where I can best make my own contribution.

There are quite a few uncertainties heading into this journey. I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly what to expect at HBS, precisely what I want out of the experience, or where I’d like to wind up afterwards. But I’m heading into this with an open mind, and I know that HBS will provide the best possible springboard for virtually every opportunity out there. Trust me–that knowledge makes taking the plunge into the unknown quite a bit easier!