Landing My Dream Job with Venture Capital Firm Villgro

One year ago, Paul Belknap graduated from Penn State Smeal College of Business with a desire to combine his business acumen with a career in social enterprise. I recently spoke with Paul, who completed his MBAs Without Borders assignment in India last December. After working with clean cookstove providerSustaintech for five months, Paul began a full-time position as executive producer at Villgro, one of India’s oldest social enterprise incubators.

In your first interview for MBAs Without Borders, we talked about the paradox that MBAs need to have international experience to get international experience

Yes! I went into the Penn State MBA program with two goals in mind. I wanted to work abroad and I wanted to work with a social enterprise. In business school, those goals evolved to focus on emerging markets, most likely in a consulting role. But after talking with mentors who were also alumni of Penn State’s MBA program and MBAs Without Borders, I learned how difficult it is to get that first international assignment.

Most companies don’t want to take a gamble on someone without substantial international work experience, especially in emerging and frontier markets. They are looking for talent who already has that experience – candidates with proven records that they can easily adjust to diverse cultures in challenging and dynamic environments. When I realized how difficult it is to get that first international job, I started looking at ways to enhance my résumé.

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