MBA Summer Internship Subsidy

USC Marshall MBAs Doing Good

Archive 2010 | 2009

Each year, the USC Marshall Society and Business Lab (SBL) awards subsidies to MBA students who intern at nonprofit and social enterprise organizations. Follow their adventures.

Aug 23 '11

Kevin Futch, Teach For America, Blog #3, “The Ed Pioneers Experience”

I am officially done with my internship in Chicago and have arrived back in Los Angeles.  Today is the second day on campus for second years and the experience has been a whirlwind.  What better opportunity that to reflect back on the summer and my experiences with the Education Pioneers fellowship?

As I have mentioned before, I was placed in the Chicago cohort with Teach For America.  This process of placement is a bit of a black box and it seems that the is a great deal of importance on skill set fit with the organizations needs versus skill development in the industry.  However, as the majority of these are school districts or non-profits that are in high need, this does make sense.  This also means that there is a huge diversity of skill sets and backgrounds built into the cohort.

The experience, which I am sure other fellows will blog about, was extremely unique in that we were working for, and being paid by, our partner organizations (TFA for me).  However, as a requirement, the 43 fellows met 7 times throughout the summer to discuss different issues and topics that relate to the ed reform movement and the achievement gap.  These are (and can be found on the Ed Pioneers website):

  1. Foundations (Spent meeting everyone and learning about the summer)
  2. Increasing your Impact
  3. Opportunity Gap
  4. Education Policy
  5. Districts and Choice
  6. Human Capital Systems
  7. Capstone (Discussing our experiences and what it means to be an Alumni)

While this is the same in all regions, the majority of the discussions are very focused on that specific region.  In Chicago, the district is Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and all types of schools fall into the districts (including Charter, Magnate, etc. except for Private).  This means that CPS has some oversight into all areas but that CMO’s manage their schools more specifically.  These discussions were extremely interesting because of the experience we had in the room providing insight.  

Another benefit of my placement was that we had 7 cohort members in TFA, all sitting in a small area near each other.  This made our interactions really unique because we could reflect on our understanding and thoughts during workshops with each other.

In addition to the workshops, Ed Pioneers encourages fellows to organize and attend EPU’s (Ed Pioneers Unplugged events).  These encompass everything else in the experience, including social events, speaker panels, lunch and learns, etc.  Our events ranged from volleyball at the beach to CPS speakers weekly to a panel on venture philanthropy to a discussion on race and class.  These events I was able to attend were extremely beneficial, but unfortunately I had surgery over the summer that limited my mobility and travel.  I think this had a detrimental effect on my summer that I did not anticipate.

The last aspect of the experience is the overall cohort experience.  There are now 42 other people that I have heard discuss their experiences and shared some of mine with.  I feel comfortable reaching out for guidance and advice, and have found a small number that are interested in the same areas that I am.  In addition, I was able to network with fellows from DC, NYC, Bay Area, Houston through my experience with TFA.  I think this is where most of the EP value is locked and I look forward to exploring this more during the year.  In addition, there are expected to be 10,000 alumni by 2020 with which to connect and network.  There are very few places that an MBA can find this type of support and assistance.  

Overall, I think the organization has an extremely unique value proposition, and when considering, I think the benefits should be weighed against the possible placements to determine if this is really an area that you want to explore.

In my next and last edition, I will discuss some thoughts I have on the ed reform movement and what I am thinking in the long term.

Until then, fight on.

Kevin