Brian Hanssen: Learning By Doing

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Professor Brian Hanssen of NYU discusses experiential learning and how it applies to his nonprofit, Social Impact Scholars.

Prior to teaching at NYU, Professor Hanssen held a global management position at Intralinks, and is a former consultant in the field of organizational development.

We cover the current state of online education, the story behind Social Impact Scholars to provide students with access to opportunities, and the transferrable skills professionals can apply early-on in their careers.

Episode Highlights

Creating Social Impact Scholars by matching needs

Social Impact Scholars is a consulting organization that provides college students with opportunities to work on consulting projects for mission-driven companies (and was also my first experience with side projects, as I wrote here).

Brian got the idea to start this organization when he heard from students how they were having a hard time getting experience in the field of consulting.

At the same time, Brian knew that there were social enterprises that could use help.

Connecting the two sides, Brian set up his organization to set students up in teams to help these companies, creating a win-win situation.

Starting Out Small

Brian started Social Impact Scholars via a pilot, with the first cohort of six students and the companies from his personal network.

This let him manage everything on top of his professional work as well as get learnings to be applied for the next year.

The Number One Value Add Students And Early Career Professionals Can Bring

That is: primary information gathering.

Be it conducting interviews, sending out surveys, or studying consumer/target market behavior, this is first-hand research straight from the source. A hands-on approach.

Research involves listening, absorbing information, and analyzing the data – a generalist skill that can be applied across areas. Furthermore, such research applied across disciplines can bring even more information.

And when you know what you can offer, that brings confidence in pursuing that next opportunity.

More about Brian

Social Impact Scholars website:

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