Which organisation to work for?

I had the opportunity to participate in an interesting discussion as a Guest Lecturer with the graduate students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

The theme they requested me to frame the discussion around was 'Development and Social Impact Consulting in the age of Pandemic'. One of the questions they wanted me to address was what are the career trajectories a young graduate can expect, once S/He joins a consulting firm in the beginning of his/her career? Is there enough flexibility with that?

My initial reaction was to help identify opportunities within core functions and different fields of specialty in social-purpose organizations. However, I felt it would be more useful to identify types of organizations and their characteristics so graduates could make informed decisions and choices aligned to their own interests and aspirations.

We addressed the question by looking at four possibilities. Organizations which were built around

1. ‘future possibilities’;

2. those which had a ‘strategic outlook’;

3. those which had ‘strong legacies and past achievements they were proud of’; and,

4. organizations which were based on managing and implementing ‘operations’ within the social-purpose sector now, and into the future.

While there is no exact science to this, the following 2 x 2 gives some structure to thinking this through and presenting the options.

  1. Represents organizations using innovation and technology advances to address emerging themes having significant implications for people, planet, and possibly profit or some type of ‘return on investment’. They provide exciting and diverse work opportunities and take significant risks.

  2. Represents organizations driven by legacy causes and achievement…women, children, equality and equity, sexual and reproductive health, environment etc. These organizations provide interesting opportunities around positioning legacy work strategically to ensure relevance.

  3. Represents organizations which are built around a core business, provide an essential service and are very operational. These are usually service organizations dealing with regulation, audits, certification, compliances etc. Not much diversity within opportunities

  4. Are usually ‘solution driven’ organizations working within specialty fields, highly operational and often technical service providers to other organizations. These services may be in fields of digital technology, communications, sectoral work and specialized in providing outsourced support. Opportunities are within extremely specific and defined areas of work.

I would like to think we were all quite happy with the answer and outcome.

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