Student Profile: Real-World Challenges
Adrish Majumdar '11
Pre-SOM: A.T. Kearney
Summer Internship: Rare Conservation
Co-leader, Community Service Club and Global Social Enterprise
I grew up in India and studied mechanical engineering there. I got a graduate degree in engineering at Northwestern and then I went to work for a consulting firm called A.T. Kearney out of their Chicago office. I did that for four years and it was a great experience. But I've been interested in environmental issues, especially conservation, all my life, and I thought an MBA was a good opportunity to explore potential opportunities in that field.
When I was looking at schools, the thing that stood out to me about SOM was the friendly faculty and student body. I felt completely at home as soon as I walked in the door. And SOM allows you to take electives pretty much anywhere at Yale, which meant I could take electives at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
When I was applying, Food for Thought and the Global Social Enterprise Club jumped out at me as being the sort of thing I hadn't read about at most other schools. And when I accepted, I knew that I wanted to be involved in both of them.
Food for Thought is a convenience store within SOM that is entirely run and managed by first-year students. Its proceeds go to the Internship Fund, which raises money to provide financial support for students to pursue internships in nonprofits and social sector jobs. It's a great way to learn the ropes of running a business. You have complete control: you decide what products to sell, how to price them, when to open, when to close. You have to think about tradeoffs between profit-making and being a socially responsible business — carrying products that are environmentally friendly, for example. These are the sorts of tradeoffs that people face in the real world.
Global Social Enterprise is a club that takes student teams and matches them with social enterprises somewhere around the world. Every year in the spring semester we go to a different country and work with social enterprises there on a particular business problem. It allows students to use their business skills in a real-life environment, and the clients get access to some really smart people for free. It's a for-credit elective, which allows students to devote adequate time to it.
Last year, we worked with social enterprises in different parts of Brazil. I was part of a team that worked with a group called Worldwide Hearing that provides low-cost hearing aids and hearing-testing services to people who might not have access to them. We worked for this client over an entire semester, and over spring break we spent a week on the ground with our clients in São Paulo.
This year we're focusing our attention on Lima and Cuzco in Peru. I'm one of the three club leaders and last semester we went through the process of scoping out the projects and identifying the students — it's open to SOM students and other students at Yale. It's a very competitive process — we are usually significantly oversubscribed, both by clients and students. GSE has developed a reputation within Yale and outside where we can select the best of the best.
Interviewed on January 21, 2011.