Harnessing talent from universities abroad – but where are the local ?
This blog post is by Linus Kendall, one of my team members now working with me on Waste Ventures in India. As Waste Ventures is growing in size, so will the number of voices on this blog:
Over the next week, here on Talking Trash I’ll be introducing you to our batch of fellows who are working with us at Waste Ventures this summer. We’re really excitedt o have them – all of them are bringing unique experiences and capacities to our team and we’re already seeing the impact of the additional resources and perspectives.
As a previous fellow, coming through the Artemisia program last year, I think that it’s crucial for graduates from universities to have access to fellowships and internships in this sector. Not only is it important for the social businesses who receive them as they attempt to establish themselves and scale, but it’s also without doubt a key component in attracting talent to new social or hybrid forms of business – whether it’s in waste, energy or any other sector. However, even though we focused heavily on US universities when recruiting for this year’s batch, there was one question that pulled at us – how can we engage more students from Indian universities and colleges?
Previous experience told us that it is hard to create interest from the IITs and IIMs of India. First of all, working for an NGO or a business with a social mission wouldn’t be the first choice for many. Additionally, with funding not being available from universities here, there is also a financial burden for the fellow. However, this strikes me as only part of the reason. Equally important, I believe, is the endorsement and support from the universities. The universities themselves has a major role in shaping the decisions of their students. By providing funding, creating recruitment channels (such as online websites & classroom presentations) and implementing other measures that the American (and some European) universities now know well, they can both enable and engage students in working for social enterprise.
In fact, given how crucial it is for India (and indeed other emerging economies) to inspire it’s well-educated on missions other than making money, the universities cannot and must not shirk their responsibility in engaging graduates in social sectors seriously.
What’s your view? Is this the case in more places than India? What are the responsibilities of and tools available to universities to engage their students and graduates in social enterprise?
PS. Parag’s talk from TEDxAshokaU has also recently been uploaded – he speaks about this as well as many related issues on how universities can create change: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rUygZXoyC4