I’m in a bright, airy, open-concept office in Brooklyn’s Tech Triangle. MBA interns and graduates, marketing and PR professionals, and a lawyer are working in various positions at collaborative tables and on couches. I’ve chosen the beanbag chair. Life at an NYC startup is something I could get used to.
I began my summer internship with CommonBond in late May. After initially learning about the company in my Marketing of Financial Services class at Columbia, I saw that they were recruiting on campus, and I knew I had to apply. CommonBond is a community of student borrowers at top MBA programs and alumni investors from those schools. Borrowers can get lower-than-market rates on their student loans, and alumni investors receive competitive financial returns while supporting students at their alma maters.
Beyond offering a financially beneficial relationship between students and alumni, CommonBond is also about nurturing community, helping borrowers and investors connect for job placement, mentoring, and social purposes. Additionally, CommonBond is the first company to bring the "one-for-one" model to education, à la Warby Parker and Toms Shoes. My summer project, as a Community Development intern, is to research and recommend strategies for improving this already-strong community.
An MBA-level internship, especially one at a start-up, is different from anything I’ve done before. I planned my own project, and I was expected to hit the ground running when I got here. Looking back after one year at Columbia Business School, I can say that the skills I learned both in the classroom and interacting with my peers have been absolutely essential.
Tonight, I’ll take the subway back to my apartment. New York is my home now, and it has been since I started at Columbia. I feel blessed to go to an MBA program in such close geographic proximity to the most exciting career opportunities in the world – both entrepreneurial and traditional. It’s certainly made my job search and summer commute as painless as possible.