“Rewarding, inspirational, interesting and intense” is how Andrea Arroyo describes her six-month externship to Social Business Trust (SBT).
The Bain & Company Consultant says her time as a Portfolio Manager increased her awareness of social problems and the social pioneers tackling them. But it also developed stakeholder management skills that she is taking back to Bain: “Being able to deal with completely different types of people looking for different things, in an honest way, is quite a skill,” she says.
“I’ve had to tell social enterprises that we might not have what they want at the moment but I will try to get those resources for them. At the same time, I’ve needed to talk to senior leaders at SBT’s corporate partners about why their help is needed and how to get the right support. I think I stumbled at the beginning but you learn.”
Andrea says she benefitted from working directly with many social enterprise CEOs: “Some of these individuals have had remarkable careers in the social sector and sometimes in the private sector too. They shared their experiences and I was able to learn so much from them.”
She particularly enjoyed working with User Voice which works to break the cycle of reoffending and their CEO Mark Johnson MBE, himself an ex-offender and former drug abuser: “He was open about everything he’s been through in life; he really stretched me.”
Andrea also loved helping Challenge Partners to successfully pitch for support from SBT: “It was so great to be able to call their CEO Kate Chhatwal and share the positive news!”
In addition to supporting SBT’s portfolio organisations, Andrea worked with SBT’s CEO and Board of Trustees to refresh the charity’s own strategy: “A highlight was hosting the SBT strategy meeting at Bain, which was the culmination of months of work. Being part of the collective discussion of SBT’s future was very exciting.”
Andrea says her time at SBT had a profound impact on her personally: “It has changed me as a person and leaves me hopeful. I understand now that there are different ways of doing things and multiple ways to tackle business problems. So I think the diversity of perspectives has changed me.”
“Would I recommend an externship like this to colleagues? Absolutely! It’s been a fantastic experience.”