Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions in relation to your academic options and courses with Emzingo.Discover more about us
Why should I apply for Emzingo?
Great question! We always say that everyone comes to Emzingo for different reasons. For some it is an intense interest on personal development and leadership. For others, they are very excited to learn more about social impact or entrepreneurship. For many, it is a chance to get an international immersion experience and learn about a new country. For others, it is really for the consulting experience and a chance to use this to secure a consulting position upon graduation. For nearly everyone though, it is a combination of all these elements. Emzingo really exists to challenge you, to push you out of your comfort zone, and show you all the many ways that the private and public sector can work together to make positive social change. We bring together students from different schools, different backgrounds, different fields of study and different perspectives of life and challenge them to get a real hands-on experience where they are both learning from others and assisting others. We hope to inspire you to solve global challenges, prepare you to do so, and connect you to the organizations and companies that are doing tremendous work to change the status quo. We are a family. We are a movement. We are network of amazing people, doing incredible things, to help others and themselves. Join us.
Many of our programs, both short and long format, are offered for credit at the host university. This is highly dependent on each university and Emzingo works with university staff to establish the credit options. Several universities offer internship credit for our GIF and NexGen programs and others offer international exchange credits for our Impact Learning Treks.
Inspired by IDEO’s Human-Centered Design, and Design-Thinking Methodology Emzingo has translated these principles into a consulting methodology. The workshop introduces participants to human-centered concepts and tools, and provides the opportunity to apply them through interactive exercises. The workshop is the culmination of a series of days focused on experiential learning and the application of Human Centered Consulting, Design Thinking, and Theory U principles. The Social Innovation Workshop leverages Emzingo’s Impact Design Diamond™ and integrates these different methodologies to develop creative and relevant solutions for our field partners. The experience is complemented with facilitated reflection to internalize the learning from the workshop. We wrap up the session with a debrief in which participants will be asked to reflect on the experience and discuss ways to improve collaboration within their teams.
We run Impact Learning Treks in South Africa, Peru, Brazil, Spain, and the United States. Thee 5-14 day trips aim to expose students to social entrepreneurship and innovation in these markets as well as inspire them to find ways to incorporate social impact into their daily lives and careers. All treks include either a Social Innovation Workshop (see below) or a mini consulting project where students can meet and help solve a challenge of a local nonprofit or social enterprise. Impact Learning Treks are co-created and can also have specialized themes such as Engineering for Impact, Environmental Sustainability, and Water and Sanitation amongst others. We have successfully run amazing Impact Learning Treks with students from University of Southern California, IE Business School, Wits University in South Africa, University of Chicago - Booth, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, and Pacifico University in Peru. Email ILT@emzingo.com to find out more. South Africa: During our South Africa trek, students learn about the history of apartheid and the social and economic challenges that they country is still facing over 20 years later. They visit amazing nonprofits, social enterprises, and responsible businesses that are trying to make a difference in their communities. They also have the opportunity to visit and explore Johannesburg, Soweto, and Cape Town during these treks. Peru: In Peru, students first discover the Shining Path and the terrorist years that engulfed Peru and the after effects they can still be felt today. They meet with wonderful organizations that are looking to improve the sanitation, health, and education systems as well as the lives of underprivileged women. Of course no trip to Peru would be complete without a visit to Cusco, and Machu Picchu, where they also get to meet with social enterprises working in the poorer highland communities. Brazil: Students get to explore Rio de Janeiro and the spiraling favelas of Rocinha just at its border. Here they discover the lingering effects of inequality and explore the social innovation that has emerged to improve the health and education of all Brazilian citizens. They also explore the world of social impact and investment as well as they lovely beaches, music, and culture of course. Spain: Our Social Innovation Trek to Madrid and Barcelona focuses on how business is helping Spain (and Europe) recover from one of the most profound economic crisis of our generation. In Madrid, meet impact investors and start-up incubators that are promoting entrepreneurship as the path towards recovery. See first-hand how history, culture, and tradition have deeply affected business and society. In Barcelona, a center of innovation and technology, learn from professionals who are using social impact and entrepreneurship to make real changes. See how a center for social innovation drives networks and collaboration across sectors. Study different businesses (and different business models) to see how they are directly combating social injustice. USA: During our trip to the US, students get to explore New York and/or Boston. Here they discover that despite its outer core, the United States still has many societal challenges that they are trying to overcome including urban poverty, inequality, gun violence, and injustice. Students learn about these issues but also discover the incredible hub of social entrepreneurship and innovation that these cities have become. They meet social entrepreneurs and responsible businesses that are looking to right some of these wrongs, both locally and internationally. With visits to the UN, the Center for Social Innovation, and the growing B-Corps movement, they are exposed to several avenues of creating positive social impact.
GIF, NexGen, SIL Our longer-format programs, the Global Impact Fellowship, NexGen Consulting Corps, and Social Impact Labs, have a similar structure. Each begins with a one-week intensive orientation that exposes students to the main social and economic challenges of the country. Students visit leading nonprofits, social enterprises, and responsible businesses. They also work on framing the challenge for their project and creating a work plan. Here too, we first introduce the leadership development components and deep reflection. NOTE: The Social Impact Lab is an IE Business School program specifically designed for IE students. For the remaining 5-8 weeks, students then work in teams on their social impact consulting project. They work typical 9-5 days, Monday to Thursday. Most Fridays we have ‘Emzingo Days’, where we bring the entire cohort together to attend workshops or visit leading organizations to learn about impact investing, microfinance, business for the bottom of the pyramid, environmental sustainability, social entrepreneurship and more. We also host coaching, reflection, and leadership workshops. Student teams are also encouraged to meet with their mentor every two weeks. Impact Learning Treks (ILTs) Our shorter format programs are typically 5-14 days. They combine academic learning, cultural immersion, and social impact activities and seminars. Participants also partake in a social innovation workshop or mini consulting project to assist a local nonprofit or social enterprise. Prepare yourself - the program is very busy! But you are guaranteed to learn a lot about social impact and yourself.
The need for a visa will depend on your nationality and where you are traveling. Typically, the most critical pieces of information required for Visa applications are your accommodation information, flight details, and description of what you will be doing. Emzingo can provide information and documentation for your application as necessary, but the student is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the Visa is obtained.
Though most of our programs are designed for undergraduate or graduate students, recent graduates and young professionals are welcome to apply. The NexGen Consulting Corps in particular is open to young professionals with 3+ years work experience, especially those with consulting experience. Please note that individuals who are not currently in school however, or who have recently graduated, typically do not have access to university funding. They therefore will have to raise or fund their own funding. Some of our programs, like the Professional Women’s Trek, are designed exactly for professionals though students are also welcome to apply.
For our shorter-format programs, students live in shared hotels or bed and breakfasts. During our longer-format Global Impact Fellowship and Social Impact Lab, students live in shared apartments or houses in central and safe neighborhoods together as a cohort. We try to stress community building and students are encouraged to share meals, work together, and help others with their projects. Students in our NexGen Consulting Corps are also able to elect their own housing and transport option if they wish, though we typically encourage the Emzingo selected housing.
Emzingo has a rigorous application process for our longer format experiences (NexGen and GIF). All students are required to complete an application with several essays, as well as an individual and group interview. These applications can be found online. We do not accept all students that apply, and students are ranked on all three components of their application. Depending on the year and number of applications, we typically have about a 35% - 45% acceptance rate. Our shorter format Impact Learning Treks are often built in conjunction with the university. It is typically up to that university to select the students that are the most excited to learn about social impact and responsible leadership. Students applying from outside universities must also submit an application for these experiences and will be selected based on the quality of their responses.
As students know, there are many expenses involved in traveling, living, and learning abroad whether for a short or longer term. As a social enterprise ourselves, Emzingo does charge tuition fee for learning & development, coaching, mentoring and program management as well as a housing and logistics fee for our programs. These costs are often either fully or partially covered by the university for our longer-format programs and depend on the type of program and the length of time in country. For the NexGen Consulting Corps, students can elect to find their own accommodation and transportation, reducing the independent cost on the student. This option is not available for our younger undergraduates, since for their safety, we prefer to house them in safe and central locations as a cohort. The projects themselves are also unpaid. If your university is not directly affiliated with Emzingo, we do encourage students to seek out alternative methods of funding both on and off campus. Many students in the past have launched successful crowdfunding campaigns to help fund the experience themselves as well. Please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Yes, we sure do. We offer university specific programs and open-enrollment programs. Unless otherwise specified, most of our long format programs are open to students from universities all over the world, with applicants from US, Canada, Europe, India, Singapore, Kenya, and more. Most of our long-format programs have students from at least 3 or 4 different universities and at least 4 different nationalities, if not more. For example, we had 17 students in Peru from 13 different countries! We have also established partnerships with universities to send a specific number of students each year on our programs. Our largest partners, IE Business School, McGill, Princeton, and others, typically either fully or partially sponsor the program tuition and living expenses. If your school does not have a direct partnership with Emzingo, we encourage you to explore funding options on and off campus.
Emzingo is a very virtual team. We have staff members in all of the locations where we host experiences. These cities include Lima, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Madrid/Barcelona, and New York/Boston. We were founded at IE Business School in Madrid and that is still where the majority of our staff is based. We run local workshops in Madrid and also host international students to discover the world or social entrepreneurship and innovation in Madrid and Barcelona.
This depends on the time of the year in the country. Typically cohorts have 10 - 20 students per country. We often require a minimum of 10 students per country to launch that location. If we do not receive that number of confirmed applicants, then we will often redistribute those students to other countries.
When we first started Emzingo, we made a conscious effort to find the best organizations that were having the largest impact in their communities. That group of organizations suggested others who suggested others until we developed a large, impactful cohort of organizations in each country where we work. In some locations, like South Africa, our fellows have become so well known that now organizations come to us first and submit applications for our projects. We work with these organizations year after year and often have different batches of fellows even within the same year. This means that we offer our clients consistent support as well as resources and a strong network to help them implement our students’ recommendations. This also means that students will often have a plethora of resources and findings from past projects that they can build on instead of reinventing the wheel. Our shorter formats programs too, the Impact Learning Treks, often address challenges identified by past fellows who did not have the time or the resources to address it during their fellowship period. Every year, too, we continue to add organizations that are doing tremendous work in the areas that are of the most interest to our students.
We source projects that have very different focuses and workstreams. All of our projects are complex in nature, and no student will ever be making copies or just getting coffee. We conduct a needs-based assessment with every organization to discover how and where our fellows can add the most value. Most of our projects are designed to accomplish an organizational idea or goal that they have been unable to implement due to a shortage of human capital Before ranking their projects, students receive detailed terms of references for each project that highlight the exact workstreams and deliverables that they students will be working on in country. During orientation, we also work with each student team to frame their challenge and develop a workplan that outlines exactly what they will be working on for the remainder of the program. Students also receive support from their locally sourced mentor, who is either a consultant or a subject matter expert, who helps them design their projects and oversees their deliverables. Emzingo also checks in every 2-3 weeks to monitor the progress of each project
Graduate Projects:NexGen and SIL fellows are involved in high-level strategic projects that require several years of working experience and ideally some consulting experience. These projects typically involve the design of 3-5 year strategic plans, economic or financial modeling, organizational restructuring, or operational efficiency. Management experience is highly valuable. Sample projects include the design of a 3 year business plan for a women’s nonprofit organization hoping to launch an income generating social enterprise, the design of an economic model to measure the cost-effectiveness of malnutrition programs, creating a impact assessment measuring tool for a small community based organization working with the homeless in South Africa. Check out a more detailed sample project below. Puriy & Padma: Padma support victims of domestic violence by providing psychological support and vocational training to improve the financial security, self-esteem and emotional stability of the women the work with. They also developed a social enterprise called Puriy, with Emzingo fellows, to offer these women economic opportunities outside the home .www.padmaperu.com Sample Project: Two graduate students from NYU and IE Business School helped Padma conduct a feasibility study to determine whether to launch a small bakery or a leather baby shoe company. After two weeks, they determined that a leather baby shoe company would be more profitable, so they developed a business plan for the social enterprise, called Puriy. They also helped to find and hire an operational manager to jumpstart the project when they left. Puriy now sells these baby shoes in local stores throughout Lima and hopes to expand internationally.
Undergraduate Projects:Most of our undergraduate projects assist the organization either with research, new project development, evaluation of ongoing programs, or branding and marketing strategies for the organization. Past projects have included the rebranding of a small nonprofit in Soweto with a new website and marketing materials, the design of a personal development program for unemployed youth, researching the struggles faced by mothers of children with HIV and developing a working group to support these women with the tools they need to keep their children healthy. Others have included reviewing and improving a business plan and income revenue models for a small startup, and working with rural communities to discover which new programs can help improve their quality of life. Check out one detailed project below. Nanga Vhutshilo is an integrated child/family centred program for orphans, vulnerable, HIV/AIDS affected children, their caregivers and families. www.nangavhutshilo.org.za Sample Project: In June 2015, GIF fellows from Princeton and McGill designed a completely new website and brand for Nanga Vhutshilo to encapsulate their organization as more than an Early Child Development Center (see logo!) and to display the massive impact they have had on the community. They also helped them build a human-centered budgeting and expense system. The feasibility plan for the ECD center itself was also built by Emzingo NexGen MBA Fellows from IE Business School in 2013.
Like working for most consulting companies, you will not know exactly what project you will be working until you are accepted. Upon acceptance into the program, we typically source twice as many projects as we need so that you can offer us your preferences (rated 1-4). We then look to create teams that balance competencies, skill-sets, work and life experiences, and finally gauge compatibility with your other project partners and your field partner. In the end, you have very much input into the type of organization and project you would like to work on, but we make the final decision. Most fellows do receive their first or second choice and are very happy with their projects. Some schools do require a specific type of project (i.e. only health-based, only nonprofits, only social enterprises) as well, which we can try our best to accommodate.
Emzingo has a solid foundation of field partners, in all of our locations, that we have worked with year after year. In addition to repeat partners, we continually add new field partners that appeal to the interests of our students. We work with all different types of nonprofits and social enterprises. These include very large multinational nonprofits that you may have heard of such as the Peruvian Red Cross, World Wildlife Fund, or Action against Hunger, amongst others. We also work with small often community-based nonprofits that are helping orphan and vulnerable children or promoting access to education like Nanga Vhutshilo in Soweto or Peru Champs in Lima. (Note that Nanga’s new website was designed by GIF fellows!) We have a growing number of small, startup social enterprises like organizations trying to bring clean toilets to areas without sewage in Peru like X-Runner, or Favela Verde in Brazil that is trying to bring ecotourism to the favelas to generate job growth and promote sustainability. We typically source twice as many projects as we need per program so that students are drawn to the organization that is most interesting to them. These organizations focus on a broad range of issues such as education, women’s empowerment, youth development, health, sanitation, environment, and entrepreneurship.
Global Impact Fellowship - undergraduates or recent graduates. We do have a preference for older students or those with significant experience nationally or internationally. NexGen Consulting Corps - graduate students and recent graduates. Most students come from programs such as MBA, MPP, MPH, and Masters in International Relations. We give preference to students with at least 3-5 years working experience. Social Impact Lab - IE IMBA business school students. SILs are often open to students from other universities as well. Impact Learning Treks - highly dependent on the university but typically reserved only for undergraduates or for graduate students. Most of our ILTs are designed specially with one university and its students. Occasionally we do have some open enrollment programs. Professional Women’s Trek - professional women with at least 2-5 years work experience. A deep and sincere interest in women’s empowerment.
Emzingo is a Swahili word typically spelled m’zingo. It means community or circle in different dialects. It stresses the importance of community and bringing others together to work together. One of our founders, a Haitian-Congolese American, speaks Swahili and thought the word held a lot of meeting for what we intended to accomplish. We added the “E” to make it easier for all of us Anglophones to pronounce. Our tagline: Preparing Leaders. Empowering communities, refers to our dual purpose of building responsible leaders by engaging them in social impact projects that help amazing organizations have an even greater impact on their communities. All of our projects look to build the capacity and capabilities of local organizations and leaders and to broaden and strengthen their reach within their communities.
Emzingo was founded in 2010 by three MBA students at IE Business School in Madrid. Ramon Marmolejos, Drew Bonfiglio, and Amani M’bale, began their MBA at the onslaught of the financial crisis in 2008. Just about the time they arrived in Madrid, Lehman Brothers collapsed. With the ensuing crisis that enveloped the entire global economy, massive bailouts that shook Capitol Hill, and the irresponsible BP oil spill that spread through the Gulf in 2010, they realized that we not only had a crisis of financial markets, but that we also had a crisis of LEADERSHIP in the world. They realized the need for this next generation of leaders to be so much more responsible to society, to each other, and to the environment. Though the business environment had changed, not much of business teaching had changed. And they recognized they needed to disrupt the way that education was taught, by actually asking students to get their hands dirty and learn first hand about the major problems facing the world and society including poverty, inequality, corruption, greed, and failed leadership. Students had to open their own eyes to the world around them and leave their comfort zones, to achieve a true, deeper learning. Learning by doing. Learning by thinking. And perhaps most importantly, Learning by Reflecting. We needed a LeaderSHIFT and we needed it now. At the same time, the three founders had experience in the public and non-profit sectors. They observed that many organizations often struggled because they lacked the strategic vision or processes that were present in the for-profit sector. So they had an epiphany. What if we combined on-the-ground leadership training with consulting projects that brought for-profit frameworks to the public sector and brought public-sector experience to the for-profit sector? With that, our award-winning Emzingo NexGen Fellowship was born. And we have thankfully been growing ever since.
Emzingo is a social enterprise and Certified B Corp that aims to train the next generation of leaders to be more responsible, empathetic, self-aware, and culturally sensitive to the world around them and the problems within it. We design amazing experiences that engage these future leaders in social impact consulting projects and workshops to help nonprofits and social enterprises overcome key strategic challenges. In doing so, we aim to empower and strengthen the organizations and communities in which we work while our participants equally learn from and assist these organizations using the skills they have attained through their studies, their careers, and Emzingo design and strength building workshops. Through long and short engagements both locally and abroad, we hope to expose participants to the world of social entrepreneurship and innovation and help them find their place within it. In doing so we hope to inspire our participants to find purpose in their careers, prepare them for an increasingly global world, and help connect the private and public sectors in an effort to create lasting, positive change.