Exploring the Art of Business: Felipe Ceron, Summer Fellow in Social Enterprise (MBA 2022) – MBA

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The HBS Summer Fellowship program allows students to apply their training in the classroom while exploring career opportunities in roles or regions where pay is typically lower than the traditional MBA level. This summer, we connect with some of our 59 Social Enterprise Summer Fellows, who work around the world to develop skills and knowledge while having important responsibilities and high impact.

What are you working on this summer?

I work at the Juilliard School as a strategy and income intern in the COO’s office. The school is a leader in performing arts education and its mission is to provide the highest level of artistic education to gifted musicians, dancers and actors around the world. Currently, more than 800 artists from 38 countries and regions are registered.

I have three main projects: updating and structuring the School’s strategy, developing new programs and creating the institutional research function. These three projects aim to make Juilliard the best possible version for past, current and future students, which is directly linked to the future of the performing arts.

Why did you choose this internship for the summer?

Throughout my time at HBS I have thought deeply about what I want for my future, and this is a difficult question to answer. I have never been a fan of the question “where do you see yourself in five years” because as I grew up I changed my thinking dramatically, so I could be a drastically different person by answering this question five. years after now. At this point, I decided the best I could do was work in a role that is at the intersection of my professional skills and my personal interests.

I usually bet more on what I think than how I feel, but for my summer internship I decided to swap that out. I felt that I had been following a traditional career so far, so I thought it was a good opportunity to do something different, especially since I see the internship as a time of exploration.

My conclusion was that I wanted to work on something that filled me with purpose. I love music and acting, and I’m passionate about education, so I really enjoyed going to a performing arts school. I have a background in consulting and retail so a strategy / revenue position seemed to fit as well. Interestingly, I even thought about applying to Juilliard as a student in the not so distant past. Funny how life works sometimes.

What are your goals for this summer?

My goal is to give Juilliard an even better place for its students than when I found it, by helping to forge a path in the performing arts. I hope I can develop some exciting new programs that allow people to grow, just like the arts do for me.

I am enjoying this position hugely now so I would like to continue to be involved in the performing arts and education to some extent after completing my MBA.

How have your MBA skills prepared you for success in this role?

The first thing I asked my boss was, “where can I find the financial statements?” “. Although it is not completely related to my work, the financial knowledge that I acquired as a first year student allowed me to understand the School much better. All of the prep work around Juilliard’s numbers gave me a deeper understanding of the decisions made by executives, gave me more context for my work, and guided my questions. The knowledge that HBS provided me has allowed me to learn a lot of these types of statements.

In addition, the leadership classes also helped me, as they introduced me to what I consider to be the most difficult issues: people issues. What has been helpful about the leadership classes is that they allow me to reflect on what type of leader I am and who I want to be, and I think this is crucial to know before I work. If you don’t determine in advance what your values ​​and leadership traits are, the circumstances will.

Finally, the case method, especially the pressure to express your opinion in a room full of very competent people, made me grow a lot. When you think that there is only one very clear answer to a problem, you will usually have a number of dissidents in the class who will oppose you and may very well convince you. This made me believe that it is hard to come up with an obviously wrong opinion, it is a lot more about reasoning, so the job, more than being right or wrong, is to have a solid thought process behind your thought and to be able to defend and mature it with others.

How has summer influenced your thinking about your future involvement in social enterprise?

This allowed me to confront the social problems of education from a business point of view. I understood how much our MBA education is an asset in social enterprises as these types of organizations have a great need for business skills.

I absolutely want to continue to be involved to some extent, because this type of work has blossomed me tremendously. There are many opportunities to help the company grow in a meaningful way, the challenge is to decide which one is most meaningful to me.

How can someone find out more about your organization?

Visit the school website and Instagram.

This story originally appeared on the Social Enterprise Impact Insights blog.


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