Haas Social Impact Fund: A Crash Course in Scaling Impact

My Summer as an Intern at Rocketship Public Schools

By Megha Kansra, Berkeley-Haas MBA 2018

I couldn’t help but smile as another day began at Rocketship Futuro Academy in Concord, California. Our principal and other instructors were starting “Launch,” a morning ritual of music, dance, and affirming Rocketship’s core values of community and excellence. Parents stayed back to watch and encourage their kids as staff led the energetic exercise, ending with fist-pumping and a chant: “Together we are all Rock-et-ship Rock-e-teers!”

A Rocketship principal leads students through Launch

It was my last week as a summer intern on Rocketship’s Strategy & Scalability team, and I felt overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude for working alongside such motivated families, school staff, and teammates who strove to provide a quality education every day for Rocketship’s 7,000+ students across 18 elementary schools nationwide. Gratitude for being accepted into Education Pioneers summer fellowship program, as well as the support of the Haas Social Impact Fund (HSIF), which made my summer possible. And gratitude that I had enjoyed a wonderful internship, reinforcing my desire to pursue a career in the education space.

Rocketship is an expanding network of public charter schools, and my team was core to guiding growth strategy. So my summer experience entailed working on some of the questions I find most compelling in the education space: How can impact be scaled across a school network or district? What systems and tools are required to grow while also maintaining high performance at existing schools? Over the course of 10 weeks, I worked on multiple projects, including:

  • Conducting analyses to guide Rocketship’s new school launch strategy
  • Piloting a parent focus group to inform communications and recruiting strategy for new schools
  • Developing tools to enhance Rocketship’s fundraising function

Ultimately, I gained an invaluable window into how a charter school network can be scaled, considering finance, community engagement, talent, and other factors in the process. A personal highlight was getting to spend two weeks supporting kindergarten classes during the first days of school, witnessing first-hand what it takes to be an effective teacher and to run a school well.

Education Pioneers further enhanced my experience, introducing me to 20+ fellows working across other education organizations through workshops digging into issues core to the education space.

Me (bottom left corner) leading a “Hot Topics” discussion with my Education Pioneers cohort

My summer played a central role in shaping my path, reinforcing that my mind and heart are deeply committed to confronting challenges in the education space. I emerged thankful for Haas’s incredible resources — from HSIF to the Center for Social Sector Leadership — for students pursuing social impact careers, as the world needs more talent to tackle the most pressing issues of our time.

About the Haas Social Impact Fund

The Haas Social Impact Fund (HSIF) is student-run and almost entirely funded by current Berkeley-Haas MBA students who voluntarily donate a small part of their summer salaries to support their classmates’ social sector endeavors. “The generosity of our classmates makes this possible,” Tiffany Lee, MBAA VP Community and manager of the Fund, noted, “It’s a testament to Haas values and our shared commitment to social impact and public service.”

Hear from more of our 2017 HSIF recipients through our blog. To learn more about the Haas Social Impact Fund and/or to make a donation to the Fund, visit our website.

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