Words tend to fail me at times like these. I’ve never really been good at leaving places or tying up loose ends. It’s not that I am at a lack for words; rather, words cannot truly express all of the things I’ve learned, the ways that I’ve grown, or the experience that I’ve gained while interning at GBSN.
My family is from Mauritius, the tiny African island in the Indian Ocean that few people know about. Mauritius is often recognized as being a success story among African countries. With a fairly developed economy and a relatively stable governance system in place coupled with the beautiful beaches and picturesque “pied dans l’eau”s, Mauritius always seemed like paradise to me. I was ignorant. It wasn’t until I spent time as a volunteer in one of Mauritius’ poorest areas that I realized the cyclical nature of poverty and that I wanted to do something that would aid in the alleviation of poverty. When I first heard of GBSN, I was intrigued by the idea that the cooperation of global business schools could develop a sustainable economy and prove to be beneficial to communities around the world. I had always known that the empowerment of women, access to basic healthcare, and education could help developing countries, but it never occurred to me that a business education could also have the same effect.
I began my internship at the end of March. With this being my first internship, I had no idea what to expect. I remember on the first day I came in, Nicole, GBSN’s dedicated and hard-working network assistant who quickly became my good friend and mentor, told me that I would learn to actually do things, that unlike many other internships, I wouldn’t just be “getting coffee” or “making copies”, but I would gain real experience and have an impact in the organization. I am proud to say that after nearly 6 months of working here, I have not once gone on a coffee run or made copies.
I’ve done a multitude of things in these past six months. I have sent and received nearly 400 emails, read and cataloged 200 case studies and their teaching notes, drunk around 90 cups of coffee, read about Spain’s visa requirements, researched nine hotels in St. Gallen (and struggled to understand German), posted around 15 blogs and drafted three or four of them, posted opportunities, articles, and updates to our various social media platforms, identified 21 potential grant opportunities, assisted in the creation of two websites, watched four World Cup matches, created 60+ new contacts in Salesforce, and updated four event and program trackers. But those are just numbers.
I’ve gained so much while I’ve been at GBSN, not just in terms of experience and knowledge, but also in the connections that I’ve made with Guy, Page, Lisa, Doug, Nicole, and the other interns. They are all so welcoming and helpful; I really feel like an integrated part of their team, which makes it even harder to leave.
Apart from gaining a basic understanding of international business, I now know about corporate social responsibility, ways to promote sustainable growth and development through a business education, the importance of technology in business, and the benefits of collaboration and networking with other global institutions. I’ve learned how to communicate in a fast paced, constantly changing environment, labored over html and WordPress failures, stared at Excel trackers, laughed with my co-workers, discussed Brazil’s disappointing performance in this year’s World Cup, and participated in “food-truck Tuesdays”. I doubt that anyone would believe that GBSN, an organization with a huge and lasting impact, is run by a staff of eight (sometimes nine) individuals. I am proud to have been part of a team of such determined, passionate, and eclectic people.
I really don’t feel like I’ve said everything that I’ve wanted to say. My experience here at GBSN can’t be summed up in a few pages of text because it was so influential and enriching that it simply cannot be captured. I am eternally grateful to have had this experience and to have been given the opportunity to learn about GBSN, what it does, and the wonderful staff and interns who are committed to having an impact on our present and our future. Thank you so much GBSN for everything that you’ve done for me and for communities and individuals around the world.
Here are a few pictures of my time with GBSN:
Caryn Tin was the Reseach Intern from March -September 2014. Caryn is returning to the University of Chicago to finish her undergrad. She will be going to Morrocco to study abroad next semester