This post was written by Brian Russell, who joined us as a Social Impact Consultant in India, January 2016.

The alluring pull of an experience in social entrepreneurship eventually tugged hard enough to uproot me from several steady years of accounting in the energy industry.

My spark was struck as a sophomore business student in Colorado when I first studied the potential of microfinance in developing areas of the world.

As chance would have it, my university was beginning to piece together a program in socially responsible enterprise just as my interest in the subject began to grow. It was there that I teamed with several other classmates and a PCV in Madagascar to initiate a business plan for women to rent solar panel lamps to members of their rural village.

Upon graduation, I took a job in the energy industry, which exposed me to various facets of accounting and operations. During my time there, I gained experience in new contract implementation, operational and financial analysis, and internal financial reporting.

I did not feel the same contentedness as my co-workers around me, however, and sensed that the path before me did not lead to my ultimate goals – whatever those might be.

Some three and a half years and several life plan evaluations later, I find myself on the verge of the longest international stay of my life (and hopefully not the last). The decision to join ­_SocialStarters coincided with my thirst for both a career and industry change. In August, I will carry the lessons learned from this experience into a full-time MBA program in the United States, focused on operations and entrepreneurship.

Throughout my stay in Hyderabad, I hope to gain deeper perspectives regarding world cultures, the impact potential of social entrepreneurship, and myself in general.

I hold this notion that you cannot truly know yourself until you test yourself in new and unusual ways. This is my start towards testing that hypothesis. I hope to use these new and unusual experiences as a springboard into a worldly and social mindset throughout the next two years of graduate school. Hopefully, these experiences combined will allow me to further the development of people and businesses around the world.


Would you like to #JoinUs in either Brazil, India, or Sri Lanka in 2016? APPLY HERE. Immersion Programmes are running throughout the year as well as a new programme format for people who can’t take 6 weeks out of their lives – our 2-3 week Inspiration Programme in Rio in August/September, and our flexible volunteer programme _TheAssignment. See our website for more details