From IIT to TFI to FSG: Kanvi's journey in social sector

Having completed her Chemical Engineering from the prestigious IIT Roorkee, Kanvi decided to join Reliance Industries as a Process Engineer. She soon realised that she did not want to work in an engineering based company for long. Her association with NGOs and ed-focussed organisations right from college till her time at Reliance and the fact that she enjoyed those experiences, led her to the doors of Teach for India (TFI).

“When I was volunteering with the NGOs, I realised that a lot of children do not get access to quality education.”

Kanvi realised she had a lot to offer in the teaching and mentoring space and worked with Teach for India for 2 years, tutoring 9th and 10th grade kids. Her association with the education sector continued with Teach a Class Foundation where she was involved in training teachers and in making technology more accessible and simpler for them. After working there for a year, Kanvi decided to look for more challenges and opportunities. She wanted to explore strategy and consulting; with that in mind, she applied for FSG, a leading social impact consulting firm. Founded by HBS professors, Mark Kramer and Michael Porter, FSG aims to find market-based solutions for key development challenges.

Recruitment Process at FSG:

“My interview experience was amazing. The interviewer didn’t appear like a boss but like a colleague who was assisting and supporting me. They even gave the vibe that they wanted me to succeed.”

Following her CV shortlist, Kanvi went through around 6 rounds of interviews at FSG. This included 4 rounds of case/ skill interviews, 1 interview with the HR and 1 interview with the MD.

Round 1: Telephonic interview; solve a small case study

Round 2: Zoom/ Skype/ in-person interview (60 minutes); Writing skills (30 minutes)

Round 3: PPT preparation (5-6 slides), followed by a presentation (45 minutes)

Round 4: 2 case studies (90 minutes)

Round 5 & Round 6: Culture fit interview to understand you better

Kanvi also mentions that the order of the interview rounds can vary depending on various circumstances.

Preparation Hacks:

Kanvi believes that there is no rigid structure for preparation and one just needs to have attention to detail and good problem solving skills. When asked whether lack of understanding of business terminologies or social impact terminologies could be detrimental, she assures that their basic understanding is more than enough.

She went about practicing for case studies using Victor Cheng’s Look over my shoulder which she considers as one of the best places to get a good understanding of the different types of problems. She recommends one to practice case studies with at least one other person (you may explore this website). She also believes that websites of top U.S. B-schools make for a good place to find case study questions.

FSG Experience:

“I have loved it so far. The people here are very nice and also come from diverse backgrounds so there is so much to learn from everyone.”

Kanvi also explains how FSG has both long term and short term projects which could involve strategizing, partnering with different organisations, finding how viable a project is, estimate demand, etc.

Future plan:

Kanvi is still exploring where she sees herself 5-10 years down the road. However, she does want to work for a large scale philanthropic organisation in the future. She also definitely wants to do an MBA and believes her experience in FSG could help her get to a top B-school.

Recommended books/ magazine:

Stanford Social Innovation Review and Factfulness are two reads that she recommends people in/ aspiring to be in the social sector.

One advice to aspiring change makers in the social impact space:

“It is a very different ball game from engineering or other corporate jobs. You will meet people with vastly different opinions. Don’t be overwhelmed, have an open mind and hold on, you will do well!”

PS: Kanvi is willing to help out young aspirants looking to apply for jobs in the social sector. Reach out to us on our LinkedIn page to get connected to her.

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