During Lent Term we ran the first ever LSE Community Engagement Programme, where 49 fantastic student volunteers completed a consultancy piece for 7 different charities. Since completing the programme, we caught up with volunteer Neher Fazelbhoy (Global MSc in Management, 2021) and interviewed them on their experience!
What originally attracted you to the programme?
With greater barriers to meeting friends and going out due to the pandemic and lockdown, I wanted to do something that was both rewarding as well as beneficial to my career. That’s when I instantly knew that the upcoming LSE Community Engagement Program would be the perfect opportunity for me because it would allow me to gain hands-on experience in consultancy and make a positive impact by supporting an NGO with a real-life problem.
What was your favourite thing about the programme?
To be able to work with and meet people from across the school – through the program, I exchanged ideas with students from Finance, Anthropology, International Relations and other disciplines, which would not have been possible otherwise, given the Covid-19 restrictions this year.
Did you gain any new skills?
The program definitely helped me boost my confidence by giving me a platform to present my findings, alongside the team, to a judging panel. Additionally, the program also allowed me to use and enhance my existing skills that I developed through my bachelor’s degree in International Relations. For example, I applied and enhanced my research skills by
conducting research to compare the NGO’s e-learning courses to other online courses on climate change, which provided for a solid basis for my group’s conclusions in this area.
Has it helped you think about your future career?
Yes – by giving me a taste of what consultancy is like, which involves aspects of teamwork, research, client interaction and problem-solving, the program has further confirmed my desire to work in consultancy.
How did your opinion of community change throughout the programme?
The program made me realise that ‘community’ does not simply mean people sharing a common geographical area, religion, or norms – rather it means a group of people who are united over a common goal and support each other, irrespective of their nationality, religion or background. For my group and I, the common goal was to assist an international NGO improve their online e-learning platform on climate change and resilience, which gave me a sense of responsibility and belonging amongst like-minded people.
Would you recommend the programme to other LSE students?
Yes, definitely! Anyone who wants to continue or start volunteering, gain hands-on experience in consultancy, meet new people, learn more about the NGO sector, or just do something fulfilling in addition to their studies, should go for it!