By Hannah Levinson, Haas MBA19
During the recruiting process, Third Plateau didn’t ask for my resume or a traditional cover letter. I had to leave my name and any proper nouns (e.g., the school I attended, jobs I held, etc.) off my application. They used a structured interview process and asked questions aligned to the company values of Step Up, Team Up, Learn Up, and Live it Up. This hiring practice, intended to minimize bias and support the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) commitment, is just one reason why I was drawn to Third Plateau, the social impact consulting company I supported as a Social Impact Fellow this summer. Thanks to the Haas Social Impact Fund, I was able to work at an organization committed to building an equitable and inclusive world.
The client project I’ll highlight was a “Refresh” of the San Francisco Unified School District’s (SFUSD) Arts Education Master Plan. In Third Plateau’s strategic planning process, I worked primarily on stakeholder engagement, gleaning insights about the true priorities and needs of San Francisco’s public schools within arts education. By the time I began my fellowship, Third Plateau had already engaged hundreds of stakeholders through a range of interviews, focus groups, and town halls. However, some voices were still underrepresented: students of color. To ensure all students were heard, my colleague and I conducted 1:1 interviews and focus groups at schools and community organizations across the city. Our research confirmed that there are tremendous inequities in access to quality arts education and arts education must be relevant for students in order to be meaningful — relevant to their culture as well as to their daily lives and futures. This stakeholder engagement, alongside additional research on arts education trends nationally and in other districts, informed an analysis of the SFUSD’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, which in turn will shape the district’s development of an updated arts education plan.
I came to business school to learn how to build and sustain healthy organizations, and I met my goal this summer not only by learning about nonprofit consulting best practices, but also by working at an organization focused heavily on its own organizational health. As a Social Impact Fellow, I had the opportunity to work on an internal consulting project alongside client work. My internal project was a high-level analysis of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. I confidentially interviewed all of the Third Plateau team, gleaned key insights, and presented the themes at the company retreat at the end of the summer. The extensive stakeholder engagement, critical thinking, and facilitation experience I gained this summer will undoubtedly help me make a greater impact throughout my career.