Binet Ibrahim | TFC Committee Member, MBA ’18
I worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this summer in Seattle as an intern with their Agricultural Development team. What attracted me to the Gates Foundation initially can be attributed to many things of which their social mission is first and foremost. Having been involved with the TFC through Project Pyramid, I was introduced to the basic concepts of social businesses where I applied those concepts in a consulting project with a social enterprise in Kosovo. I was inspired by this process and I wanted to pursue it in a wider context. Another main reason why I joined the Foundation was because of its work in agriculture globally. Having previously worked in agricultural development in Ethiopia, I wanted to explore bigger challenges within the space that would allow me to put my skills and experience to the best possible use.
Within my 12 weeks at the Foundation, I owned and executed on two different project. My main project was on developing case study analyses for an agricultural data dashboard system that the agricultural team was about to roll out. This dashboard was being developed with one of the states of India and would be used to assess the state’s agricultural health and drive decision making. The output from my analyses helped inform the design of the dashboard and also identified some key lessons to apply from similar examples. In parallel with this project, I was also responsible for gathering baseline data and trends to serve as future potential targets for India’s key performance indicators for its results framework. My goal for the internship experience was to ensure that I at least met expectations while successfully try to address any challenges that I encountered.
Overall, I had a great experience working at the Foundation for the summer. Beyond my deliverables, I had ample opportunities to learn about the Foundation’s wider work in health, development, education and policy. I and the other interns had the pleasure to hear the leadership team talk about their department’s work during lunch and learns. There were also grantee site visits, offsite meetings and several Foundation wide events that contributed to the learning process. Another big plus to this experience was being in Seattle at that particular time of year. All in all, this was an experience that I hope to learn from and build upon as I continue to embark upon my journey as a social entrepreneur.