Internship: I interned at a boutique consulting firm called Global Development-Advising the Leaders which assists various players such as international organizations, non-profits, governments, company and industry alliances, private foundations, and global public-private partnerships to catalyze and develop sustainable global partnerships in international development. Practice areas of the consultancy include global health, food security millennium development goals, corporate social responsibility and social investments. Clients and stakeholders include the World Health Organization, Merck, USAID, the Global Fund, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
My role as an intern included a wide variety of tasks including working with the president on a daily basis on internal briefings and consultancy proposals, participating in conference calls, and facilitating and coordinating planning for a private sector round table discussion at the Global Newborn Health Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Throughout my time at GD, I had the unique opportunity to work with people from all different organizations and got to see daily, first-hand how these partnerships to improve international development were formed.
I Learned: One major lesson I learned was how to travel practically in foreign countries with people that you may not know. Once I got over the initial confusion of being in a new place, being open-minded but conscious allowed me to make the most of my travels around Europe and exploring within Switzerland as well.
In terms of my internship, one thing I learned was that hard work really pays off no matter where you work. If the people you work with see that you are trying to learn as much as you can and putting in effort, they will appreciate it and take your contributions seriously.
Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: Since the organization that I worked with was so small, one thing that I was encouraged to do was make suggestions to the president herself, which was something that I couldn’t do at bigger organizations. Adjusting to the slower pace of business here was a challenge at first, but it really allowed me to focus and submit my best work, allowing me to spend a bit more time on projects to make sure they were done right.
Hardest Part: The hardest part was budgeting out time and money and trying to prioritize what I wanted to do. However, planning things out as best as possible early on in the program really allowed me to make the most of my time in Geneva and spend my time seeing and travelling to different places with some amazing people.
Best Part: The best part was being immersed in a new culture and seeing just how different things are from the US. It not only opened my eyes to another part of the world but also made me appreciate so much about things back home, both in and out of the classroom.