This summer, inm an attempt to support small businesses suffering because

of the global pandemic the Columbia- Harlem Small Business Development

Center (SBDC) worked with Columbia  Business School to set up internships

as part of the Dean's Summer Fellowship. Twelve graduate students and newly 

minted MBAs were given the opportunity to work as virtual consultants at 12 

businesses for eight weeks.

The 12 companies that participated in the program were among the most

promising buinesss that have worked with the SBDC and they represented

a range of industries that encompassed everything IT service providers to


The Columbia-Harlem SBDC was delighted to offer them this opportunity, said

Kaaryn Nailor Simmons, director of the SBDC. This, along with the Columbia

Emergency Loan Fund for SmallBusinesses and the Small Business Pandemic

Resiliency Guide, are examples of what institues of highter education can do 

to build and sustain a thriving community, especially in the cace of catastrophic

events like the COVID-19 pandemic, she added.

Alonso Martinez, a lecturer in marketing at the Business School led the

program and worked with Joe Timko and Toos Daravula, two former

McKinsey partners who are Executives in Residence at the school, served

as advisers to the students participating in the program. They were all thrilled

to join forces with the SBDC to help support the community and enjoyed

working with the fellows such as Rebecca Bergmann (BUS'21) and Lauren

Ehrlich (BUS'20) whose previously scheduled internship and job plans

were put on hold by the pandemic 

IT really was terrific learning experiecnce for the students and valuable

support for the companies involved, said Martinez. 'The fellows took full

responsibililty for their clients, from defining the problem to delivering real

impact in a two-month project.