I spent 10 weeks this summer in New Delhi, India working for Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group. Unlike many of my peers, I wasn’t spending my summer at a corporate headquarters where our Wharton skills are obviously and immediately applicable. Before I left I was unsure of how my education would add value to Chintan, and if I would have the necessary skills to succeed at a non-profit firm whose area of expertise is far outside of what most people think of as a traditional business. I was also worried that I wouldn’t come back with an experience that I could talk about in interviews or put on my resume. Fortunately, over the course of 10 weeks, I learned that business truly is everywhere.
As a non-profit, Chintan does not have the same “bottom-line” concerns as a for-profit firm, but they do have talented employees who deserve to be rewarded for exceptional performance. When I arrived in Delhi, Chintan had no formal evaluation system for their employees, so I spent my summer designing and implementing a new employee orientation program and a formal evaluation process. Even though I wasn’t working at a for-profit institution, concepts from my management and accounting courses were directly applicable to my work. I had the opportunity to undertake a project that truly impacted Chintan, and I also got to see my work in action while I was still in India. This was hugely rewarding.
Teamwork was also essential to my role at Chintan as all of their employees work in tightly knit teams on specific projects. I realized this summer how drastically my teamwork and communication skills had improved during my first two years at Wharton. I was able to effectively work with a team of people whose English proficiency varied from conversational to none at all. It was definitely frustrating at times, but I had the skills and ability to handle all the challenges that a foreign internship threw my way. My time in India was one of the best personal experiences of my entire life, and it also gave me great work experience. My summer in India also definitely proved to me that a Wharton education is about more than just “the bottom-line.”