Booth’s EIP program offers two opportunities for students interested in entrepreneurship: work and gain experience at a start-up or venture capital firm, or work on their own start-up. Students who choose to gain experience at a start-up or venture capital firm spend 10 weeks in the summer working on tasks that may include re-writing business plans, presenting to investors, performing market research, and exploring alternative opportunities for financing. Students then receive credit for their summer internships by taking an internship seminar in the fall quarter of their second year.
During the school’s 2010 EIP program, participating students included the co-founder of a new fast-casual Indian restaurant and another student who interned with the popular email marketing company, Groupon.
Cutler, who also oversees Wharton’s admission office, career management, and financial aid, says this new generation of students also coincides with a new outlook incoming students have for pursuing the MBA degree. Nowadays, he says, “B-school is not for business only. It’s a way for those who seek to become better leaders to acquire general management skills.”
This was the case for Matthew Edmundson, a first year student at NYU’s Stern School. Prior to b-school Edmundson worked for five years at Mapendo International, an NGO that works to protect refugees in Africa. “In my role I spent much of my time in refugee camps and urban areas across Africa working with organizations to identify at-risk refugees. I came to business school because I saw huge potential for poverty alleviation in many of the places I had worked; places that had essentially been ignored by the private sector. I wanted to learn as much as I could about how businesses worked and gain entrepreneurial skill sets.”
A Summer in India: Putting Classroom Skills to Good Use
This spring, Edmundson took a class at Stern called Social Innovation Incubation in which the goal for the course was to develop a for-profit business that would also benefit society. He and his classmates traveled to India for a “deep-dive” into a number of industries. While there, Edmundson and classmate, Jennifer Tsai, took on the issue of maternal health. Together, they spent weeks doing research, visiting doctors and nurses at public and private hospitals and rural clinics, in addition to businesspeople, entrepreneurs, journalists, and teachers.
“One issue we quickly saw that was a tremendous challenge for pregnant women was anemia,” says Edmundson. “Twenty-five million women are pregnant in India each year, and depending on where they are, 60-80% of these pregnant women are anemic, meaning they have too little iron in their bodies, leading to birth complications and in some cases severe development challenges for their children.”
During their first trip to the region, Edmundson and Tsai worked on new ways to combat and market anemia prevention to pregnant women. Now, over the summer the pair will work with doctors and researchers in Bangalore to further the cause.
Although they aren’t receiving MBA credits for this work, by the end of the summer Edmundson and Tsai hope to develop and test prototypes for new ways of delivering iron to pregnant women in India that is safe, effective, and culturally appropriate.
Asked why they would pursue an opportunity like this as opposed to a more traditional summer internship, the two agree, “This is why we went to business school; to bring novel entrepreneurial, market-based solutions to long-standing public challenges in the hopes of making a difference.”