Notes from the Field: Nikki Sachdeva '15

Rockefeller Center-funded interns reflect on their experiences as part of our "Notes from the Field" series. Click here to read more about the Rockefeller Center's Internships program. To read the entire series, click here.

Student Intern: Nikki Sachdeva ‘15

Internship Organization: Instiglio - Medellín, Colombia

How would you describe your employer in one paragraph? What’s the elevator pitch?
A social startup based in Medellín, Colombia, Instiglio designs Social Impact Bonds and Development Impact Bonds, forms of results-based financing, in emerging markets. Instiglio ties funding to results, aiming for a world in which every cent invested in fighting poverty maximizes social impact.

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
As a Development Finance Intern, I work directly for Chief Financial Officer Johannes Lohmann '09. I assess ripe fundraising opportunities, draft grant proposals, refine Instiglio's donor and investor strategies, and support negotiations with donors and investors. Given Instiglio's flexible, startup environment, I've had the chance to dip my feet into a variety of workstreams (which are all interconnected). I've worked in HR to structure Instiglio's global internship recruitment program. I've worked in Marketing to develop Instiglio's brand and rewrite copy for Instiglio's website and marketing materials. I've also worked in Business Development to forge, maintain, and expand Instiglio's partnerships with development agencies. 

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
The first day of my internship was a whirlwind. Instiglio's offices are located in Ruta N, a thriving innovation hub. Home to dozens of startups, Ruta N is a modern building, a playground for creative minds. Ruta N boasts an open-floor plan structure; as such, the buzz of conversation and ideation fills the air. The energy is a motivating factor. It was thrilling to soak in the scene on my first day.

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
Instiglio offers an engaging, entrepreneurial, and flexible work environment. Work has never felt so fulfilling; work is play. A hierarchical, rigid structure is nonexistent. As a result, I have creative freedom and agency in everything I do. I've had the opportunity and support to pitch my own fundraising and marketing strategies, to make my own mark on Instiglio.

Also, Medellín is a beautiful, vibrant city. Set in a valley, the city is flanked by the Andes. The city is lush and green, and the weather is perfect—typically 70 degrees and sunny. It’s a wonderful place to spend winter! 

What challenges have you faced so far?
In four short weeks, I have grown immensely as I have learned to balance and take control of multiple workstreams. I have realized the importance of managing my time and politely saying "no" to or tabling new projects when I am at maximum capacity.

What do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
Personally, I hope to have a strong sense of what it takes to start, build, and run a business. Professionally, I hope to secure as many grants as possible for Instiglio's compelling, passionate, and valuable work. 

What have been some practical lessons you've learned in the day-to-day life of your internship?
Grocery shopping (or doing laundry) after a tiring day at work is not fun. Such tasks are best left to the weekend!