I went to London Business School primarily to transition from working for the Clinton Foundation to a job in impact investing. At London Business School, I used a variety of resources at my disposal to improve my financial acumen. I builtfor school assignments, enrolled in extra-curricular valuation courses run by , and participated in a school-wide private equity competition.
However, during my first year of business school I didn't find the companies or business models particularly interesting. That changed when I had to evaluate impact investments in my. While reviewing the financial projections for a network of private schools in South Africa and interviewing impact fund managers in Southeast Asia, I began to understand how the concepts I had studied could create social impact. My summer internship in investment advisory was my first exposure to impact investing and confirmed my interest in the sector.
While applying for full time positions at impact investing firms, I realized that my MBA and 10-week internship still wasn't enough for certain roles. After almost a year of searching I found an internship at Capria, the first global impact fund accelerator, which became a full time role last month. I learned through my experience that it's not easy to transition to impact investing. People with a more traditional finance background don't always have the experience working with social enterprises and people from the social-impact sector sometimes have issues analyzing financial statements or structuring deals.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of resources for people interested in this sector. MBA students can participate in the MBA Impact Investment Network and Training (MIINT) where they can interact with top impact investors and participate in a global competition at the end of the program. The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) also runs a one-week investment manager training for professionals on multiple continents. I attended this training in Brazil, which a former venture capitalist who founded an impact investing deal flow network facilitated. It lasted five days and included:
* Case studies on impact investments and exits including a Fin-tech company in Sub-Saharan Africa and a healthcare company in India
* A presentation from the MD of the leading impact investor in Brazil and a visit to one of their portfolio companies which provides loans in the favelas of Sao Paulo
* Group activities and discussions on topics such as valuation, due diligence, impact analysis and .
As a former MBA student with some experience with due diligence, I didn't find the sessions on discounted cash flow analyses or DD informative. However, I really enjoyed learning about innovative ways to structure deals in illiquid markets such as demand dividends and revenue based financing. I also found to session on impact analysis beneficial, as it is important for impact investors to quantify the social value of their investments with the same rigor as financial performance. I would definitely recommend the training to anyone looking to transition to a role in impact investing, both to develop technical skills and for the networking opportunities.
Impact investing is a growing industry and it is important to provide people with the resources they require. In order for the field to continue to advance, we need more programs like the MIINT and the ANDE Investment Manager Training to prepare the next generation of impact investors.