6:07 p.m. “Do I hear sixty-five dollars!?!? Sixty-five? Sixty-five over there! Do I hear seventy-five?” bellowed the orange-wigged auctioneer from the front of our classroom in Uris Hall. My cluster-mates and I aggressively raised our paddles in the air. Our generous classmate had offered to bring the winner breakfast in class every day for a week, and $75 seemed like a small price to pay, especially with the funds going to a good cause.
The Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program at Columbia Business School (CBS) provides support to students engaged in summer internships that create social or environmental value. Often, such internships pay far less than those in more traditional MBA industries. Because of this, each spring, our CBS community comes together for a silent and live auction, bidding on goods and services donated entirely by our classmates.
6:47 p.m. The paddles were flying in the air even faster now – perhaps due to the free flow of beer and wine throughout the auction. We had bid on items ranging from a weekend at our cluster-mate’s family’s condo in Atlantic City to the right to have one’s Facebook statuses “liked and positively commented on” for a week.
7:00 p.m. The auction closed, and we filed out of the classroom toward our weekly MBA Happy Hour in Uris Deli. Our cluster was scheduled to bartend for the evening, and we wanted to grab food from the buffet before heading to the taps.
When everything was added up, our cluster alone raised over four-thousand dollars for the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship. People from different walks of life, with different career goals, came together to support each other – and had a lot of fun in the process. That’s what I’ve found Columbia Business School to be about.