By Pericles Gadri, BS (Neuroscience, Psychology) Class of 2023, University of Rochester
CARBON Group gave me the opportunity to work on a strategy to launch Ecofiltro in Nigeria,
and I took it. At the end of my internship, it was one of the most fulfilling projects I worked on in
This summer 2021, I had the rare opportunity to work for an innovative company (CARBON
Group) with a team of equally energetic and brilliant students from across the US. Together, we worked on a business model, and a strategic plan to break into the Nigerian water economy with a cutting-edge water filtration technology called the Ecofiltro, which would impact thousands of families in Nigeria by giving them access to clean, safe and quality water with a single tap, some of which (families) would be their first time. As an intern, my work focused on operational analysis and identifying partners in Nigeria for the company. I focused on understanding and identifying large scale, medium scale, small scale partners/companies to work with, and create a strategy for manufacturing, distribution, storage, and marketing of product by identifying local manufacturers, logistics companies, and target launch site (or city) for company’s operations. At the end of internship, we (my team) had successfully enacted a comprehensive business plan with facets such as market niche of Ecofiltro, financial viability of product in carving a share of the market in the water industry in Nigeria, partnerships, manufacturing, and distribution logistics, target geographical triangle launch site and other factors.
Working to provide access to affordable, efficient, and clean water technology that is going to dramatically improve water quality and increase the richness of life for many Nigerian families was the most fulfilling experience of my summer in 2021. I just couldn’t help it but feel excited I was part of an effort creating real change in people’s lives every time I opened my laptop to work on a strategy to deploy the Ecofiltro technology to Nigerian families.
Needless to say, this internship was a positively challenging and transformative experience for me, as I gained practical hands-on-job experience in project management, and honed my skills in research, data extraction & presentation, and effective communication.
I enjoyed the experience because it offered me the opportunity to challenge the status quo when it comes to providing access to quality water and leverage the strength of my team to execute some of the most difficult tasks in our project and achieve our weekly common goals while building an invaluable relationship with everyone on my team. I learned to build mutually beneficial relationships with my team (Rithwik and Yusuf), collaborate effectively, learn from other interns’ experiences and knowledge, and share innovative ideas, especially with Abdul who helped me on understanding the geography and economic landscape of Nigeria as well as assessing the “fit” of partners to the mission and goals the Ecofiltro project. Also, I built a strong interpersonal relationship with my supervisor, Ratan, who, thanks to his strong leadership and mentorship, helped us to meet some of our most challenging milestones. More importantly, working with a team with diverse backgrounds and experiences helped me to be more
culturally aware, be aware of my implicit biases, privilege and develop a strong leadership to
engage and communicate within different cultural contexts. This growth is an invaluable asset in my professional arsenal which has made me a better leader at the workplace and will help me to successfully lead and engage with my team in my career.
Overall, this was my first time working on a country I had little knowledge about, and through the support of my team, and mentorship of my supervisor, I became comfortable with failing and learning to improve, I adapted, grew more resilient, and through the challenges I faced, I have become a better thinker and a practical problem solver. I feel equipped to take on some of the most challenging tasks on future projects, and this is why I had a great summer interning with CARBON Group.