It’s my last day here in Aflatoun/ChildFinance and also my last full day here in Amsterdam. School starts next week! The feeling is definitely bittersweet; I’m really going to miss all the wonderful friends I’ve made at Sarphatistraat 7. There are just so many things I’ve come to love about my internship, and it’s not just the after-work chats, many live concerts, 3am bike rides down the beautiful Amstel river, or even the awesome parties. In fact, the most rewarding part of this internship has been the in-depth level of involvement I’ve had with my projects, and being able to see my work have a real discernible impact. I had the opportunity to take the hitherto theoretical country-level expansion strategy of the organization and – through brainstorming sessions and meetings – give it a logical structure, tangible objectives, and decision-making processes. I designed the flow charts, prepared the Executive Summary, drew the illustrative diagrams, and wrote the entire 72-page Manual from a scattered assortment of proposals and strategy documents. Through writing the Manual, I learned a lot about what it takes to solve a problem in a clear, logical fashion, and I think I’ve learned a little bit about how to think more clearly, if that makes any sense at all. My second project had me working closely on an engagement with KPMG’s advisory services to create a process of certifying safe, trustworthy children’s savings products. That, too, was created pretty much from scratch – whatever work had already been done on the topic could be said in ten pages. Being able to actively participate in problem-solving meetings with actual management consultants was a truly exciting experience. In short, the entire PennSEM internship has been an absolutely fantastic experience and I would highly recommend it to every single interested undergrad that happens to be reading this post!
Lastly, I’d like to mention two very special organizations and individuals that have helped make this experience so awesome. First, of course, is everyone involved in making the PennSEM internship possible. I’m very grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me and it is an invaluable one. Second, Jeroo Billimoria. She has been like a mentor to me over the past two months and I have learned much from her invigorating leadership style, sublime vision, and quirky habits. She has been a great boss to work under. Alright, that’s it! See you later!