Social Enterprise 2009 Summer Internship Experiences

Name: Nikky Canter

Organization: Education Pioneers
This summer I participated in Education Pioneers – a program that brings together graduate students from a variety of disciplines (business, law, social work) who are interested in education, and places them at education-related organizations around the country. Education Pioneers also provides extensive training and professional development around the education field.

I was placed at Revolution Prep, the largest test prep company in California.  They were looking to expand their “Prep for Success” program which offers free SAT prep courses to low-income students. I worked with the organization to develop an expansion plan, a sustainable funding model, and a marketing plan for the project. 

Name: Louis Chieng

Organization: PBS
This summer I worked on revenue strategy at PBS Interactive. PBS is a public television service that broadcasts iconic shows such as Sesame Street and Masterpiece Theatre. They rely on three main sources for funding; government, viewer donations, and corporate underwriting (advertising). PBS has a key mission to promote childhood literacy, early education, and health & nutrition. My project revolved around monetizing the Parents section of the website by identifying potential corporate sponsors with social interests that match with PBS's mission. I was able to work with many people throughout the company to evaluate current revenue initiatives, establish external contacts and to propose new partnership ideas. In addition to working on this challenging business issue, the other interns and I had the tough task to test new video games and screen a new children's TV show.

Name: Susan Edwards

Organization: Education Pioneers
I joined the Bay Area cohort of Education Pioneers in the summer of 2009. I spent the summer working at Rocketship Education, a charter school organization based in San Jose, under Chief Operations Officer and Kellogg alum, Cat Alexander. My projects included developing an online toolkit for both school and national staff that outlined job responsibilities, provided instructions for deliverables, and tracked completion of tasks. As part of the Education Pioneers program, I participated in a series of workshops focused on urban school reform and was the student speaker at the Education Pioneers Showcase.

Name: Piper Evans

Organization: KIPP Bay Area Schools
This summer I was an Education Pioneers fellow in the Bay Area cohort. Education Pioneers is a non-profit that recruits graduate students from business, law, public policy, and education programs to work on 10-week, mission-critical projects in education. Throughout the summer, I participated in full-day workshops with the other fellows exploring various education themes such as human capital, district reform, school choice and after-school programming. Activities included small group discussions, hearing from panels of local education leaders, and innovation action projects (IAPs). Each group of six fellows created five IAPs over the summer, with each IAP consisting of an innovative solution to an education problem and concrete steps that could be taken by a school district to implement that solution. The workshops gave me a wonderful opportunity to learn from other students, all committed to improving urban education in the US, and I especially enjoyed learning from those with experience teaching or acting as a principal. The variety of backgrounds represented in the cohort was truly an invaluable resource.

My partner organization was KIPP Bay Area Schools (KBAS), where I worked directly with the Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer, and Director of Finance. My projects included creating a long-term financial model, performing sensitivity analyses, evaluating the impact on financial stability of adding elementary, middle, and high schools to the KBAS portfolio, and preparing a Financial Policies & Procedures manual to be recommended for Board approval. Accomplishing these projects meant working extensively with the current budgets for the seven schools and regional office that make up KBAS and understanding the revenue and expense drivers. Overall, my project and the cohort experience allowed me to see how many opportunities are available for MBA students in K-12 education and how challenging and rewarding those opportunities can be.

Name: Christopher Graber

Organization: Northwest Community Hospital
My summer fellowship with Northwest Community Hospital provided a great opportunity to gain significant exposure to the healthcare provider setting and work with a wonderful group of professionals. The fellowship consisted of three broad responsibilities:

  • Compiling a Year in Review report for the hospital’s CEO and Board of Directors. This included meeting with 60-70 different leaders across all clinical and functional departments;
  • Individual projects which took the form of process improvement initiatives, business planning or analytical assignments. Examples include designing and evaluating a process to improve supply replenishment in the Emergency Department and assisting with the business plan for the Orthopedic service line;
  • Experiential learning opportunities including ambulance ride-alongs, surgery observations, rounds with doctors and leadership meeting observations.

The fellowship experience provided  a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the operational, financial and strategic issues facing managers in the healthcare provider world. Weekly meetings with the CEO and VP of Operations allowed for candid discussions about the challenges and opportunities in the system. Likewise, access to employees in every area of the hospital allowed the fellows to develop a broader perspective on all the considerations impacting success in the organization.

Name: Daniel Thomas

Organization: Chicago Public Schools
My internship was with Chicago Public Schools through the CPS Fellowship Program and, specifically, I worked in the Office of New Schools (ONS). The ONS oversees CPS’ portfolio of charter, contract and performance schools, which number close to 100. I was a member of the Academic and Operational Evaluation Team, which, as the name implies, sets standards for academic and operational performance and holds schools accountable to these standards. 

My main project was working on an academic performance charter revocation rubric. In essence, schools are already given a “grade” by CPS based on a composite of test scores and other indicators, but in the past there has been no clear sequence of consequences for continuously low-performing schools. Therefore, this summer my team and I put together a comprehensive rubric that created various scenarios and proposed consequences for low performance (from probation to charter revocation). Through this project I interviewed and collaborated with other major districts, charter authorizers, and charter organizations including New York City DOE, Massachusetts DOE, and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, among others.

A side project I worked on was comparing the financial performance of CPS’ charter schools (and networks) and evaluating how schools perform on a variety of financial measures, including liquidity ratios, debt to equity, and per pupil spending. 

Name: Rachel Tornheim

Organization: Northwest Community Hospital
I spent my summer working as an Administrative Fellow at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, IL. The internship had three components: writing the Year in Review report, engaging in experiential learning, and conducting an individual project. For the Year in Review report, the other intern and I interviewed over 70 executives across the hospital, meeting with VPs and Directors across clinical areas and business functions alike, then composed a report summarizing the key events an initiatives at the hospital over the past year for the CEO and the Board. On the experiential side, we had the opportunity to observe any aspect of the hospital that we wanted, from watching a surgery, shadowing physicians on rounds, and riding in an ambulance to sitting in on Board and Finance Committee meetings. For my individual project, I worked with the Director of Laboratory Services on an effort to reduce duplicate lab tests, which involved understanding the existing process and causes of duplicate tests and developing a set of recommendations for changes to software and processes as well as change management.

Name: Donald Yeh

Organization: Civic Consulting Alliance
I spent the summer as a Civic Fellow at the Civic Consulting Alliance. CCA is a Chicago-based not-for-profit management consulting firm that works with public sector leaders dedicated to making lasting, positive change, and private sector leaders who contribute services pro bono to help create that change. My project was to look at ways to grow creative and arts industries in Chicago, and to increase their impact on the city. Specifically, I looked at ways Chicago could foster collaboration between organizations, increase cultural tourism, increase touring and transfers of successful productions, and drive neighborhood development with cultural institution.