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Social impact grants allow dreams to become a reality

The Net Impact Club along with the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and full-time MBA program launched the Social Impact Summer Grants in 2014. These grants are given to MBA students pursuing internships with organizations that use business core competencies but can’t afford to pay an MBA intern. They make it possible for MBA interns to follow their passion while making a positive impact on the community without stressing about the financial burden of unpaid work.

Harsha Uppala and Rebecca Morgan, both members of the full-time MBA Class of 2017, received grants  in 2016.

Harsha Uppala (MBA ’17)

Harsha Uppala (MBA ’17)

Thanks to the grant, Harsha could intern at VIF International – a B-Corp that focuses on improving the quality of education in schools – in Chapel Hill. He worked in the marketing side of the organization and was in charge of implementing an automated inbound marketing channel. He also was involved in lead tracking, a system that improves customer satisfaction by allowing individuals to manage multiple sales pipelines, forecasting and contact management. Harsha’s efforts on this project produced a tangible impact in the community as parent satisfaction and grade score improvement dramatically increased. The marketing channel led to increased use of the services by teachers who could then adapt their teaching styles.

During his time at VIF, Harsha applied many of the skills that he had developed at UNC Kenan-Flagler. The Digital Marketing course helped prepare him for the challenges that he faced as a digital marketer in his internship. Additionally, his Data Analytics classes provided the knowledge of creating progression models that could optimize marketing and sales resources. Harsha recalls how he felt when the first inbound lead finally converted to a customer. Seeing his work materialize into concrete results was one of the best moments of his experience.

Rebecca Morgan (MBA ’17)

Rebecca Morgan (MBA ’17)

Rebecca Morgan used the grant to intern with Cypress Point – a wealth firm specializing in wealth management for families, high net-worth individuals and charitable organizations – in Dallas. Her role was to create a donor-advised fund for a client. She performed due diligence – which included impact, financial and fundraising analysis – on eight non-profit organizations. She met with each organization and compiled reports for them regarding next steps. She uncovered that one non-profit had run a deficit for the past three years and that if it continued operating in this same manner, it would soon cease to exist. Rebecca brought this problem to their attention and supplied them with a list of recommendations and suggestions to save their organization.

Rebecca’s internship solidified her interest in the social impact space. Many of the non-profits she worked with were in the education sector, including two schools which focused on raising the education quality among some of the poorer areas of Dallas. Others focused on social issues such as assisting former inmates in their transition to normal life.

Rebecca was extremely passionate about the work and hopes to find employment with a non-profit consulting firm, foundation or a philanthropic arm of wealth management. Skills she learned at UNC Kenan-Flagler and applied in her summer internship at Cypress Point will help her make a more seamless jump into a full-time position in the field. She’s extremely thankful for the Social Impact Summer Grant, which gave her valuable experience and the opportunity to intern in the field she’s passionate about.

If you are interested in contributing to the fund to give students the opportunity to utilize their business skills within organizations that are making a positive impact, please donate.

By Irina Trenkova (BSBA ’18)