August 29th, 2013: Arthur McKey Reflects on the Global Social Entrepreneurship Institute

In collaboration with the Fulbright Commission, I was awarded a place at the Global Social Entrepreneurship Institute (GSEI) by the U.S. Department of State.  It was an amazing experience; gathering 20 student leaders from around Europe, the program involved us spending sessions learning about business in one of the world’s top Business Schools, as well as carrying out work in the community through volunteering with local projects. The program was fully funded by the Department of State and we were taken care of without any complaint.

The classes taught ranged from Marketing to Accounting, Business Ethics to Commercial Law and Innovation. A faculty of top lecturers from Indiana University (where the program was held) provided wonderful insights into the norms of American social entrepreneurship and are lessons that I will bring with me in my own career.

As part of the program we partook in two competitive pursuits: a group consultation project (where we consulted a multi-million dollar social enterprise on expanding into new markets) and an individual project. The winners of the individual project presentations (five in total) got to present in Washington, D.C., during a cultural trip in which we learned about American history.

The true brilliance of this experience, however, lay in the people from Europe that I got to rub shoulders with. Our group consisted countries such as Ireland, the UK, Norway, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Germany, and Greece, among others. We represented universities such as Cambridge, Le Sorbonne, and Trinity College, to name a few. Selected based upon characteristics of leadership and determination, this program was the perfect place to meet smart, intellectually stimulating, driven people who have a desire and passion to change the word with not only our hearts, but with our minds as well.

The entertainment was also a major highlight of the program. There were nights at comedy venues, trips to Indianapolis, nights out at local bars and clubs (for those of us 21-and-over!), incomparable sports facilities – tennis courts, outdoor/indoor swimming pools, volleyball courts, nights staying in and watching movies, and even a bonfire on the bank of the largest lake I have ever seen! There was never a dull moment.

So to put it simply, this program changed my life. It opened up new avenues of thought I never knew I possessed, created several important business contacts should I ever decide to pursue a career in the United States, and, most importantly, gave me a new group of friends that I will keep with me for the rest of my life.