Exploring Social Impact and Entrepreneurship

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2021 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Katherine Han, WH ’24

The past few months have flown past, leaving memories of new friends, cross-cultural interactions, and engaging projects. This summer I worked as a virtual intern at Keru and Aureline & Co. Keru is a social impact consulting firm based out of Shanghai, China. They create educational experiences for high school students and work on consulting projects for local organizations. Aureline & Co is a clean beauty startup from the U.S. that creates plant-based, all-natural skincare products. With the help of Career Services Funding, I’ve been able to explore social impact consulting and entrepreneurship while also learning a ton from entrepreneurs, mentors, and fellow interns along the way.

Within Keru, I was assigned to five different projects, covering all aspects of the business. Three of these projects were focused on internal, business development. One was registering Keru as a for-profit entity in the U.S. and selecting the best bank account for future transactions. Another was analyzing 200+ surveys from customers and highlighting where Keru could improve in the future. The third project was researching new partnerships in China for Keru to establish working relationships with.

Outside of these three projects, I also worked on writing a case study on a Keru program and mentored an online consulting project. In the consulting project, I was able to help international high school students learn about marketing and create a marketing strategy for a mission-driven soap company in Tibet.

Working at Keru was an amazing experience. I had so much exposure to different aspects of the business and was able to receive mentorship from many staff members. Keru placed a lot of trust and responsibility in us interns. Our suggestions were respected and heard, and many of our ideas were directly implemented. The impact we had was substantial and extremely rewarding.

At Aureline & Co, my experience was less structured and more fluid. Each week was different as the business adapted and grew. I worked on projects ranging from social media and influencer marketing to the R&D of new beauty products. I was able to directly make contact with partners, create edits on the website, launch Facebook ads, post on social media pages, and decide what ingredients to include in new products. Each action impacted the business and I could see the results of my work manifest quickly.

One of the biggest takeaways I have from both of these experiences is learning how important it is to talk to customers, staff, and consumers. At Keru, the project that I spent the most time on was analyzing customer and staff surveys. Over the course of the internship, I looked at 232 surveys. The data crafted a clear picture of all programs Keru offered and pinpointed exact areas where they could improve in the future. I strengthened my problem-solving, research, and analytical skills, and came to many surprising insights that will shape Keru’s future operations.

At Aureline, we talked to potential and current customers to learn more about their brand perceptions, purchasing behavior, and desire for new products. Prior to this research, we were working on tasks that weren’t completely aligned with our target customers’ needs and wants. Talking with consumers allowed us to accurately identify where we needed to improve, what we needed to do, and how to do it.

All across the board, Keru and Aureline exposed me to new ideas, people, environments, and cultures. With the support of Career Services, I was able to contribute to two phenomenal organizations, develop new relationships, and engage in meaningful work. It was definitely a summer to remember.

By Career Services
Career Services