by Sunita Chambore, Student-led Learning Manager
The mission of the Student-led Learning team at LBS is to challenge students to direct their own learning beyond the classroom and to impact beyond the school. One great example of this is Project Aasha, a student-led initiative creating social impact in India through pro-bono consulting projects.
Yang Huang (MiM2019) shares his experience of leading on Aasha in 2019
Looking back at my time at LBS, leading on Project Aasha was one of the highlights. I took on the Project Leader role with Anna Grenzheuser (MiM2019) in December 2018. I’m passionate about social activities and saw this as a great opportunity to create impact and develop my leadership skills, whilst leveraging support from the school. In addition to this, as an avid world explorer, I’m always curious to learn more about India, its culture and social dynamics.
Recruiting a passionate team
Anna and I recruited 18 team members from the MiM and MFA programmes in March 2019. Working with Head Held High (HHH), an incubator for social enterprises, these students were partnered with four changemakers in India. With HHH’s support, we established project scopes and proposed initial action plans. After working with clients via email and Skype calls for four weeks, we flew out to Bangalore where we got the chance to work with clients on-site to better understand their challenges and develop appropriate solutions. During those two weeks, we had the opportunity to visit local schools, talk with a range stakeholders and establish a close partnership with our clients. In the final presentation of all four projects, we all received positive feedback about our work and commitment from the changemakers, their mentors and the management of HHH.
Consulting on craft
Three colleagues and I supported Craftizen Foundation to revamp their branding strategy and conduct EU market-entry research. We had a workshop with the marketing team to clarify the value proposition of the organisation. Then based on this, we redesigned the touch-points with customers to convey a consistent message. This included the website, pitchbook and SEO plan. To assess the feasibility of entering the EU market for future growth, we evaluated different market entry models. This helped in suggesting a suitable roadmap for Craftizen, which included pilot countries, product selection, pricing strategy, and distribution channels.
It was inspiring to learn about how the Craftizen Foundation empowers 1600+ people from underprivileged groups with craft-based skills. We got to visit the livelihood centres supported by Craftizen in rural areas and see first-hand the difference they make. Talking to new artisans, I was impressed by the real and lasting impact created by the Craftizen team in the local community. Mayura Balasubramanian, the CEO and Founder of Craftizen, is a passionate entrepreneur and handicraft enthusiast. Coming from a business background, she worked with us on the project and was a great example of doing business for good.
Do you have any advice for incoming students interested in the social impact space?
Join social impact activities on campus. There are so many activities, initiatives and programmes around social impact at LBS. I would suggest incoming students join the Social Impact club, Impact Consulting club, and Volunteering club. And to also look out for internships and events by the Wheeler Institute. As well as this, as part of the Early Career programmes, there are three Global Immersion Field Trips (GIFTs) with a social impact focus.
Why did you decide to come to LBS?
The diversity of LBS attracted me most. I wanted to join an international community to learn from people coming from different countries and backgrounds. Also, LBS encourages students to find and commit to the career and personal development path that suits them best instead of following the crowd. Such an inspiring environment has enabled me to grow fast and perform at my best.
What do you wish you had known before you joined LBS?
I wish I had known more about the activities that I could have participated in during this year and planned better for them. Also, I wish I had appreciated that one year is short! Make the most of every day and cherish the pleasant memories created with friends in London.
What are you looking forward to in 2020?
I’d like to start a CSR event to reduce the carbon footprint in the company I’ll be working for in the Middle East.
Social Impact at LBS
I’m grateful to LBS for providing me with an experiential learning opportunity such as Aasha. It has allowed me to apply my business skills in the social sector. There are many students at LBS who share this passion and will become part of the change for a better society.
Take a look at our Social Impact Hub for all the ways you can get involved in social impact projects when you’re a student.