EA Consultants, New York, NY
I worked with EA Consultants (EAC) this summer, a boutique consulting firm that has a focus on financial inclusion. EAC’s main client this summer was Enabling Qapital AG (EQ), a Swiss impact investment firm that primarily invests in microfinance institutions. EQ came to EAC with the goal of implementing a gender lens in their investments, based on the hypothesis that despite microfinance’s focus on women, the sector still had issues yet to be addressed. In turn, I researched the microfinance investment space in eight different countries, scanning for ways in which women were excluded or disadvantaged in the loaning process. This culminated in a 25-slide presentation to EQ’s management, highlighting issue areas, possible solutions and a business case to justify such radical solutions.
My second project also sought to solve a problem for EQ, specifically their disaster management team. EQ was designing a new loan product to aid Cambodian small business owners in the aftermath of natural disasters and asked me to develop a framework to assess what specific measures would be most effective in enabling a successful recovery while keeping delinquency low. To do this, I analyzed case studies of what other microfinance institutions had done in the events of natural disasters. Common solutions included implementing a grace period, restructuring the repayment terms of the loan, lowering interest rates and giving the clients access to additional, smaller loans. I even modeled the potential impact of different products, ultimately pitching which procedure seemed to project the most future success.
Finally, I closed out the summer by starting to work on designing a course to help employees at a bank in Nigeria use data to promote financial inclusion in their products. This project is in its beginning stages, and I extended my internship for a few weeks to help EAC complete it by early September.
Despite how much I enjoyed my internship this summer, the overall breadth of the consulting industry leaves me with little clarity on how I will orient my career moving forward. That being said, there were certain responsibilities that hinted at what sort of work I would love to spend the next few years of my life focused on. While analyzing previous literature to craft a thesis was interesting, my favorite part of the job was conducting original research and analyzing this data to inform a business case. Long brainstorming sessions with the team were incredibly rewarding when they finally translated into a well-thought-out product to pitch to our clients. This internship solidified my interest in pursuing a statistics double major. Being able to extract insights from large sets of information was a skill I found to be particularly handy this summer, and I want to be able to improve my ability to accomplish this, perhaps even using technology.
I would like to extend my gratitude to Bill McCalpin and the ’68 CCE for their generous support of my internship. I had the pleasure of learning under Mr. McCalpin in his impact investing course during Winter Study, and I’m incredibly grateful that I was able to apply what he had taught me over the course of 10 weeks.