I met a self-made entrepreneur last summer in China, where he built a young but successful technology company. He is determined and intelligent, both qualities essential to success, but he is also quite fortunate. He holds a degree from a well-established Chinese university and frequently travels to the US to attend conferences and learn from others in his field. Even with his higher education and developed world resources, he reveals to me that his road to success was mired with great uncertainty and difficulty. I knew that starting a business was tough, but listening to his experience gave me real perspective for the first time. If a well-educated entrepreneur in a developing country struggled so hard to survive, then what does this mean for those in developing countries without higher education and resources?
This experience had new meaning for me since I began working at GBSN. I immediately connected with the organization’s efforts to strengthen entrepreneurial talent for the developing world by working to improve access to high quality, locally relevant education. I’ve experienced firsthand the need for leadership development in developing countries where there’s an abundance of capable people but a lack of resources and relevant training. GBSN’s mission is so inspiring and relevant to the world today. Working with everyone here and being exposed to all aspects of the organization has shown me how even a small group can effectively achieve ambitious goals through concrete programs, networks, and events.
I’ve gained so much knowledge and experience in two months at GBSN. It feels like just yesterday that I anxiously stepped into the office on my first day, running into Guy who immediately put me at ease with his big smile and genuine interest. Nicole, my dedicated and versatile supervisor, assured me that I would have real responsibilities and impact the organization. Just as she promised, I’ve drafted speaker scripts for the IFAMA conference, participated in staff meetings, reviewed several expense reports with Lisa, identified 18 potential grant opportunities, composed post-competition feedback for the Thomas J. Bata Legacy Award, honed my Microsoft Excel skills, researched relevant business subjects, wrote and published blog posts, created 20+ new contacts in Salesforce, updated event trackers on the website, analyzed official invoices with Amanda, and took part in organizing GBSN’s upcoming conference in Manila. I am genuinely grateful for the responsibility and independence that have come with these projects, and every effort spent has been extremely rewarding.
As a student at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, I relished the opportunity to delve into international collaboration beyond the classroom. My time here has reinforced my belief in the importance of technology in business and the benefits of collaboration on a global scale. In addition to gaining an understanding of international business, I have witnessed real dedication to corporate social responsibility and been introduced to ways for communities to promote sustainable development through business models and higher education. It is amazing to see the entire process that goes into constructing programs, events, and awards that inspire and support future leaders of the developing world.
The GBSN family has given me not only a workplace this summer, but also a home in downtown DC. During my internship I have not been sent on a single coffee run, and being able to say this is a blessing in its own right. However, my wonderful experience extends far beyond being able to swap menial tasks for meaningful work. Guy, Page, Lisa, Nicole, and Amanda have all welcomed me with open arms and trusted me with real projects. I felt truly integrated as part of their team, which makes it even harder to leave this office as the summer comes to a close. I am so grateful for my time at GBSN, where the wonderful staff and other interns have enriched my entire experience. I won’t forget the help you’ve all provided, the laughs we’ve shared, and especially not the “World Famous” refreshments Amanda brought back with her from Belarus. I’m proud to have been a part of such a kind, passionate, and influential team. Thank you GBSN for this incredible opportunity and for all the opportunities you are creating for the future business leaders of our global community.
Kelly Song was the Programs Intern from June - August 2015. She will be returning for her third year at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.