Full-Time MBA

Social Impact at Booth - Wednesday, March 11, Noon - 1 p.m. CST

Social Impact at Booth - Wednesday, March 11, Noon - 1 p.m. CST

Join our live chat to learn more about the Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) at Chicago Booth. Learn how SEI aims to support the aspirations of students and alumni to impact societal issues and further research on how institutions help solve global problems. Ask about SEI’s student and alumni programming on impact investing, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit board service, and more, as well as get insights into how Booth can prepare you for a career in social impact.

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Mar 11, 11:50:32Moderator -> EveryoneThank you for participating on our chat. The chat will begin in 10 minutes. Please feel free to submit your questions at any time.
Mar 11, 11:55:56Moderator -> EveryoneThank you for participating in our chat. The chat will begin in 5 minutes. Please feel free to submit your questions now to any of the panellists.
Mar 11, 12:00:03Moderator -> EveryoneWelcome everyone. The chat has now begun. We look forward to answering as many questions as possible over the next hour.
Mar 11, 12:00:11Erica P -> EveryoneHi everyone. I'm Erica Phillips, Assistant Director of the Social Enterprise Initiative. I'd love to share info about our offerings covering topics of social entrepreneurship, impact investing, nonprofit board service, careers in the social sector, and other social impact areas. Looking forward to answering your questions.
Mar 11, 12:00:11Dana N -> EveryoneHi everyone! I'm Dana, a second-year. I'm also a co-chair of Net Impact and a student co-lead for our Booth Board Fellows Program, and am happy to answers questions about any of those!
Mar 11, 12:00:12Josh R. -> EveryoneHello everyone. I'm Josh, a second year full-time MBA student. I'll be working in impact-investing venture capital after graduation and I look forward to answering any of your questions.
Mar 11, 12:00:12Jody -> EveryoneHi everyone, I am a career coach and I also liaise with Net Impact and BoothEd student groups and support students interested in the social impact sector. Happy to answer any questions!
Mar 11, 12:00:15Shawn -> EveryoneHi, my name is Shawn Thomas, a second year at Chicago Booth. I'm happy to answer any of your questions on the education or start-up environments at Booth.
Mar 11, 12:00:15Beck -> EveryoneHi everyone! My name is Beck Pryor; I'm a second-year and worked in international development/non-profit before coming to Booth. Looking forward to chatting with you!
Mar 11, 12:00:16Ally -> EveryoneHi, all, I'm Ally Batty, and I'm the communications person at the Social Enterprise Initiative, where I get to share all the exciting ways Booth can help you make an impact on the social issues your care about.
Mar 11, 12:01:00Marcus P -> EveryoneHello all! I am a 2nd-year at Booth. I am a co-chair of Net Impact, and I helped organize the Net Impact career trek. I look forward to answering all of your questions!
Mar 11, 12:03:07Alicia_Ju -> Erica PHi everyone! I was wondering how does one go about getting involved with SEI. Is there some signature programming that you would recommend to an incoming student?
Erica P -> Alicia_JuHi Alicia - We love meeting new students and host two Open Houses in the first couple weeks of school to welcome you to our office and introduce you to our programming. A few cornerstone programs that we recommend are our Social Impact Leadership Series, On Board Conference, and monthly Lunch and Learns with alumni. You can see our events calendar at http://research.chicagobooth.edu/sei/events.
Mar 11, 12:05:08stephanie -> BeckWhat courses do people who are interested in social impact typically take?
Beck -> stephanieThanks for your question, Stephanie. Much depends on your particular interests, but a great class available specifically for students interested in social impact is the Social Enterprise Lab, which I'm in right now. It has a classroom component on how to think about and run social enterprises, and a practical component in which you work with a local client on a strategic project for their enterprise.
Mar 11, 12:07:29Lizzie -> Erica PThanks for having us! Could you please clarify the difference between this and the Polsky Center? Is it just the causes behind the business ideas? Do people use them somewhat interchangeably?
Erica P -> LizzieThe Polsky Center focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation for the entire university. The Social Enterprise Initiative focuses on supporting aspirations of students and alumni in solving social problems. We partner with Polsky a lot on programs involving social entrepreneurship and impact investing. Both are great resources for students and we encourage you to get involved in both when you arrive at Booth.
Mar 11, 12:07:42PN -> Josh R.Hi Josh R, what was your background before the MBA, and how did the MBA help in obtaining your role with the impact investment VC?
Josh R. -> PNHi PN, I did 2 years in investment banking and 4 years in equity research at investment banks in New York prior to business school. I guess those were useful in demonstrating my financial modelling skills to potential employers. Most of the skills and credentials that were relevant to recruiting for impact VC I got at Booth - there are a number of internships, lab programs and course offerings that are very helpful as well as a ton of alumni in the network who make great coaches and mentors.
Mar 11, 12:08:59stephanie -> Dana NAlso, what is Net Impact and Net Impact's career trek?
Dana N -> stephanieHi Stephanie! Net Impact is a national organization that connects students and professionals with business skills with social and environmental causes. At Booth, we have a student chapter that is the hub for students to connect who are interested in those causes, so we have professional development lunch and learns, and Board Fellows, a program that puts students on non-profit boards. Our website explains more: http://student.chicagobooth.edu/group/netimpact/index.htm
The career trek lets students who are interested in pursuing social enterprise as a career visit companies that are interested in hiring Booth talent. This year, for instance, they visited Bridgespan, IDEO, Dalberg, and Revolution Foods in the Bay Area.
Hope that helps!
Mar 11, 12:10:21CG -> Erica PHi everyone! Thanks for chatting with us. I'm an applicant with strong interest in helping scale innovations (products, therapies, aging in place models) that can improve life for older people (seniors). What are the opportunities to focus activities in SEI on gerontology and the senior space?
Erica P -> CGHi CG - We support all social start-ups, both nonprofits and for profits, focused on any topic in the social impact space. We have had students working on start-ups for seniors participate in our Social New Venture Challenge (www.chicagonvc.com), Polsky accelerator program, and meet with our social entrepreneurs in residence. There are also a ton of entrepreneurship classes which would help teach you the tools to work on your idea.
Mar 11, 12:10:26Tiger -> Marcus PHello all MBA student panel, my name is David, and I would like to learn more about the Net Impact and Social Entrepreneurship program with Booth. Thank you!
Marcus P -> TigerHi Tiger. Net Impact is a student run organization that offers career help and fosters a community of civic minded individuals at Booth. One program for social entrepreneurs at Booth is the Social New Venture Challenge, through the Social Enterprise Initiative, with provides a wealth of resources to students interested in starting a start up.
Mar 11, 12:10:37stephanie -> JodyWhat career paths are available for someone interested in Social Impact?
Jody -> stephanieHi Stephanie, Great question. MBA career paths encompass many functions, such as finance, strategic planning, operations, etc and these are also entry points into the social impact space. So I suggest you think about your interests - such as education, health care, financial inclusion, food security, etc and how you want to apply your skills (what functional roles you are interested in) and then you can look at organizations in both the for profit as well as not-for-profit sectors.
Mar 11, 12:11:09Juan_Marino -> BeckHi everyone. Beck, based on your last comment, do these practical experiences are based on the US organizations, or do they also involve activities in developing countries?
Beck -> Juan_MarinoJuan_Marino, in the Social Enterprise Lab the clients are local (primarily Chicago-based) organizations - this allows us to spend a lot of time with the clients in person, visit their offices, and meet their beneficiaries. If you're interested in developing countries, there are opportunities to do consulting-based projects for organizations operating abroad.
Mar 11, 12:11:57Shelby -> Josh R.Hello. I am looking to attend Booth in Fall 2016. My question is more directed at Josh. Josh, would you be able to help explain impact-investing venture capital? How were youintroduced to such field? Were you able to intern with this firm specifically during your program?
Josh R. -> ShelbyShelby, every firm that does impact investing venture capital defines it a bit differently. The most common criteria is the double-bottom line approach in which non-financial returns are tracked and measured as well as the financial return to the investor. These criteria can vary depending on what's important to the limited partners (the investors) in the VC fund. I became interested in the field from following a few clean-tech start ups before coming to school and seeing who was funding them. I have had 3 internships while at Booth, all of which had some sort of impact-investing thesis in either VC or private equity, but the firm I will work for full-time after school was not one of the organizations I have previously interned for.
Mar 11, 12:12:18Jesse -> AllyHow does the school balance its focus between affecting an impact abroad versus in the Chicagoland-area? Is there a philosophy guiding where you choose to devote resources?
Ally -> JesseHi Jesse, good question. At SEI, we tend to think about social impact in terms of meeting our students, alumni, and faculty where they are.

For example, let's say you care about a domestic issue, like improving access to early childhood ed in urban areas like Chicago, and you want to move into the nonprofit consulting field. We can connect you with the BoothEd student group and one of our Career Services coaches, with whom you might decide to go on a trek to meet education firms and nonprofits. Or perhaps you are interested in an international issue, like making agriculture in Nigeria more profitable and efficient for small farmers, we can guide you through our social enterprise launch program (the John Edwardson, '72, Social New Venture Challenge) where you can get the skills, feedback, and resources to launch a start-up to address these issues. SEI is agnostic when it come to social issues and mechanisms for addressing those issues. Choose you own adventure and we can help you maximize your impact!
Mar 11, 12:13:23Joan -> BeckFollow up question for Beck: Can you share what local client you're working with in the practical component of the Social Enterprise Lab?
Beck -> JoanJoan, I'm working with the Gary Comer Youth Center, a youth center on the South Side of Chicago that works with students to get into and through college. In particular, I'm working with the Center's Urban Agriculture Program, which has both youth education and employment components.
Mar 11, 12:13:28ss27 -> Erica PHi Erica.. Even if i don't have prior experience in the social or non-profit sectors.. Could i still be involved in this? Would i need to do something differently?
Erica P -> ss27Hi ss27 - We have many students who come into Booth with backgrounds not in the social space looking to make a transition. I would suggest you get started early meeting with Career Services, attending SEI programs, joining relevant student groups, and thinking about your career path. SEI staff and our Social Entrepreneur in Residence are also available to meet individually with students. We look forward having you get involved.
Mar 11, 12:15:16ConorD -> Marcus PHello Marcus, can you tell me more about the Net Impact career trek?
Marcus P -> ConorDHello ConorD, this year's Net Impact trek was in San Francisco. The trek is organized by students, with help from career services. Each organization that we visited during our two-day trek, met privately with our group of Chicago Booth students. It provided a great way to network with social impact organizations in the San Francisco area. Some of the companies we visited included The Bridgespan Group, IDEO, and Dalberg.
Mar 11, 12:16:24Brano -> AllyHow big is the demand/community interested in social impact from among the currently enrolled Booth students?
Ally -> BranoHi Brano, the social impact community at Booth is made up of students, alumni, and faculty who are dedicated to helping solve social issues. It's committed and growing! For example, there are more than 10 students groups at Booth with a social impact focus. The Social Enterprise Initiative works closely with these groups to support their programming and to tailor our events and speakers to the interests (around both social issues and careers) of students.
Mar 11, 12:17:06Kavita -> ShawnWhat are the classes and opportunities available for students specifically interested in education social enterprise?
Shawn -> KavitaHi Kavita, Chicago Booth offers a host of opportunities for those interested in education. I personally took the Social New Venture Class in my Spring quarter that helped refine a education-related non-profit venture. The class then folds into a competition where you could compete for $25,000 of seed funding for your venture. I am taking another class with Terry Mazany on public education financing at the Harris school next quarter. I'm also the co-chair of Booth Education Group, where we have a number of opportunities: an Ed-tech trek to San Fran, a New York trek visiting innovative charter schools, talks with education-related venture capital firms, etc. The group also brings in speakers and panels that has discussions on ed-tech trends, education and non-profit consulting, and international education perspectives.
Mar 11, 12:17:35amcpike -> JodyHi everyone! I'll be starting at Booth this Fall. I currently work at a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Bank. I'm looking to pursue a career in social enterprise/impact investing to some degree. My first question applies to the recruiting process for summer internships. Once I start at Booth, what is the recruiting process like for Socially-minded people, compared to more traditional B-School career paths? What is the general timeline for recruiting? Basically should I know exactly what I want coming into school, or do I have some time to still figure it out once I start? Sorry that was three questions. Feel free to tackle whichever.
Jody -> amcpikeHello amcpike! The recruiting process for more specialized career paths, such as your interests, are more network-based verses campus-based recruiting.Organizations with internships in this space operate more "just-in-time", so actually that can be an advantage for you as far as timeline goes. Many of these positions have job postings in our system, and many are self-sourced. So what I would do in advance is think about the kinds of organizations you are interested in - for-profit, not-for-profit, government, etc. Also, there are many fellowships and structured internship opportunities that have deadlines in late fall and early winter, for your planning purposes.
Mar 11, 12:18:03ConorD -> Josh R.Hello Josh, can you share how the quantitative strength of Booth has helped you analyze impact-investing opportunities? What other metrics do you take into consideration and how has Booth helped you know what data is important?
Josh R. -> ConorDConorD: When I've interviewed against candidates from other schools I think I've been able to demonstrate a really solid quantitative background that has cleared any technical hurdle fairly easily. For VC the modelling is kind of table-stakes, you need to know how to do it but it won't distinguish you. Being able to build rapport with entrepreneurs, source deals well, do really solid due diligence, and add value once you've made an investment seems to really help a lot.
Mar 11, 12:19:48Brano -> Erica PHow important is to have finance/banking background prior coming to Booth when one wants to enter a career in impact investing afterwards?
Erica P -> BranoHi Brano - While it is important to have investing experience before doing impact investing, there are many opportunities at Booth to help expand on your resume in this area. There are a number of academic courses as well as programs such as MIINT (http://www.themiint.org/), VCIC (http://student.chicagobooth.edu/group/evc/vcic/) and SPITC (http://www.polskycenter.com/spitc/). We also offer an impact investing seminar which is a great foundation for the industry.
Mar 11, 12:20:13Jimmy -> Josh R.Can you share some about impact-investing. What would be an example of a company that an impact-investing venture capitalist would invest in?
Josh R. -> JimmyJimmy: I recently pitched a deal for a solar garden developer that would allow apartment/condo dwellers to own off-site solar panels and sell back to the grid at retail prices. Impact in this case was lower carbon emissions and more choice for consumers about where they source their electricity credits without potentially weakening the transmission and distribution infrastructure of the grid.
Mar 11, 12:20:52Jess -> Dana NI am interested in the Net Impact Board Fellows and read that it is a 14 month term. Do students who participate in this have to choose an internship that keeps them in Chicago over the summer to continue serving on the board?
Dana N -> JessHi Jess, that's great that you're interested in Board Fellows! The quick answer to your question is no, most of the current Board Fellows had internships in a variety of roles that were not with their assigned non-profit. For instance, I'm going into consulting full-time and interned this summer with a consulting firm. The expectation with your non-profit is that you'll complete a consulting project in the Spring or Fall of your term on the board and will be available to attend board meetings while school is in session.
Mar 11, 12:22:43Lauren_Marsh -> JodyHello! Could you speak to the recruiting process for social impact career tracks? Is most of the recruiting done via student clubs (like Net Impact) and alumni, or do you host socially impactful companies/business leaders on campus?
Jody -> Lauren_MarshHi Lauren, great question. It is totally a mix. There are a few larger, established organizations that may come to campus for interviews, such as Education Pioneers. The student groups host so many educational events and panels with professionals in the space. We also host a couple of panel programs in the fall. Plus the Social Enterprise Initiative hosts many programs and events. So there really are so many ways to interface with social impact-oriented professionals and leaders both on campus as well as via community events. Last year, students in the space reported over 50% of their internships were sourced via Booth-facilitated opportunities!
Mar 11, 12:23:34JSieg12 -> Marcus PHi all. I have a few questions about Net Impact. I was wondering if you could talk about some of the work you did as a Net Impact Board Fellow? What organization did you work with and what are some of the projects you worked on? How did it tie into what you were learning in the classroom?
Marcus P -> JSieg12Hey JSieg12! I was paired with an organization called "Moneythink". As a Board Fellow you serve as a non-voting board member for the organization during your tenure. In addition to attending the board meetings, you will get the opportunity to do a consulting project for the non-profit. I helped Moneythink with a market entry project. This experience was very useful. It allowed me to make use of the concepts that I had learned in class (Marketing Strategy and Competitive Strategy were particularly useful), and apply them to a real world situation. If you like experiential learning, it is a great opportunity.
Mar 11, 12:23:44Lizzie -> AllyDo you have any success stories of social initiatives coming out of this program? Also, how many years has this program been going on?
Ally -> LizzieHi Lizzie, we sure do! One of our most recent (and visible) successes was the appearance of a Booth start-up LuminAID on ABC's Shark Tank. An inflatable, solar powered lantern, LuminAID won first place in won the Social New Venture Challenge, which is our social enterprise launch program. Because the lantern packs flat and is waterproof, it works equally well for disaster relief agencies and outdoor enthusiasts. And thanks to this duality of use, the LuminAID team has employed a similar "give one, get one" model to Toms and Warby Parker, sending lights to areas without stable electricity all over the world. Ps. LuminAID got offers from all 5 sharks and will be working with Mark Cuban!
Mar 11, 12:23:46PeterSt -> Erica PHi everyone - could you tell me a little bit about the Impact Investing Seminar and your search for internships in the Social Enterprise sector?
Erica P -> PeterStHi PeterST - The Impact Investing seminar is taught by an alum of Booth who is an impact investor in Chicago. Students participating in the seminar divide into teams in which they write an investment thesis, source companies, complete diligence, and then present an investment recommendation to a panel of judges as part of a competition. It runs parallel to MIINT (http://www.themiint.org/) and the winning Booth team travels to Wharton to represent Booth against 10 other top business schools. Internships in impact investing are available to students - I would recommend talking with career services early and getting involved in MIINT. SEI can also connect you with our alumni network in the impact investing space.
Mar 11, 12:24:47Nahum -> ShawnHi, My Name is Nahum Ball, I am a round 2 applicant form Mexico City. I started up an online company that provides low income students with a high quality, low cost, online prep course for application exams at public universities in Mexico. This is a for-profit startup focused in social development; one of our main goals is to support social mobility through education in top universities. I was wondering which classes, seminars, networking activities with VCs and other entrepreneurs, and university support, will I be able to find at Booth to consolidate my company?
Shawn -> NahumHi Nahum, I also had an education-related company prior to Booth that focused on providing test preparation courses for students, and I wanted to find a better way to provide resources to the low-income student segment in Chicago. I found a lot of support at Booth for this venture. I visited SEI one day and received a host of contacts to other people in this space who could help mentor me in accessing the market and refine my offering. Chicago Booth also offers a host of other classes and opportunities. I personally took Social New Venture Class in my Spring quarter that helped refine my test prep venture. The class then folds into a competition where you could compete for $25,000 of seed funding for your venture. I am taking another class with Terry Mazany on public education financing at the Harris school next quarter. I'm also the co-chair of Booth Education Group, where we have a number of opportunities: ed-tech trek to San Fran, a New York trek visiting innovative charter schools, talks with education-related venture capital firm.
Mar 11, 12:26:16Tom -> Josh R.Josh R, what areas does impact-investing VC get involved with: social welfare assistance, clean environmental initiatives, infrastructure, etc? VC is typically known for high risk, high rewards. What is the monetary incentive for investors? Is it purely philanthropic?
Josh R. -> TomTom: There is philanthropic impact investing. I don't personally know much about that. The stuff I'm involved in is for-profit. These are businesses that have potential to lead to environmental improvements (clean tech), improve health outcomes for underserved communities, increase financial inclusion, etc. Impact VCs, while still risky, balance the social mission by instead of looking for a portfolio of all high-risk potential multi-billion dollar companies, try to pursue a more balanced approach to returns. There's a lot of good academic literature on this and I'd suggest taking Brian Axelrad's impact investing seminar at Booth for more info if this is something you'd like to learn more about.
Mar 11, 12:26:59Anita -> Erica PHow to better prepare myself for switching career to impact investing from banking industry? or even before applying for Booth MBA :D
Erica P -> AnitaHi Anita - I would definitely suggest participating in MIINT (http://www.themiint.org/) when you get to campus and our impact investing seminar (these run in parallel with each other). Then I would suggest trying to build your network of impact investors by reaching out to fellow students, alumni, SEI and Career Services, etc.
Mar 11, 12:27:32Chad_Wetzel -> JodyHi everyone! I was hoping someone could speak to the non-profit/social impact recruiting process. Is it typically done off-campus? Also, are there any initiatives going on that are aiming to bring more non-profit companies to campus?
Jody -> Chad_WetzelHi Chad, great question - many organizations in this space do not have the resource or talent strategy to come to campus - and if they don't - we go to them! We have a dedicated employer development professional calling on firms in this space and often this results in more engagement and postings that come later in the cycle. The search process is more self-driven, but there is a ton in the Booth "ecosystem" to support you. Keep in mind that campus-based recruiting is a firm strategy, and many of these organizations do not do advance hiring or hire multiple positions that can justify a campus-based process.
Mar 11, 12:27:35Navita -> Dana NHi Erica, Thanks a lot for this chance to speak to Booth students and faculty. I actually plan to convert my current start up into a non profit which encourages entrepreneurship among women. My main worry is to have a sustainable financial business plan and get a real working experience towards a successful start-up. I am looking for governance and financial skills among others in order to fulfill my dream. How do you think SEI can help me in this and how can we as students contribute to the culture of Booth?
Dana N -> NavitaHi Navita, the great aspect about Booth culture is that there will be a ton of people wanting to help you with your start-up. Check out Social New Venture Challenge (http://research.chicagobooth.edu/nvc/socialnvc/), which is part of New Venture Challenge focused on social ventures. There are also a number of resources through SEI that will help connect you with students and faculty that will help refine your start-up (http://research.chicagobooth.edu/sei/students/courses-and-labs). Most generally, there are a ton of students interested in social ventures that want to help out start-ups, and attending events through SEI and the 10+ student groups that are focused on social enterprise will help you meet them.
Mar 11, 12:28:34Larry -> Marcus PHi everyone. If I am interested in healthcare or biotech field, is this program helpful for me to build the career?
Marcus P -> LarryHello Larry! This program will be helpful. First, you can take part in GPHAP, which offers academic programming and numerous networking opportunities to its participants. Additionally, there are labs such as the Healthcare Analytics Lab that you can take part in. There are also student groups geared towards the space. As a career switcher, I have found the resources at Chicago Booth to be incredibly helpful in transitioning into a career in healthcare.
Mar 11, 12:28:44EC -> AllyHi-- I'd love to hear about any experiences anyone may have had in working with a current or former Social Entrepreneur in Residence. Also, does the Social Entrepreneur in Residence teach any classes during his or her stint?
Ally -> ECEC- We love the Social Entrepreneur in Residence (SEIR) program, so I'd love to answer this one. Our current SEIR Dave Friedman is a Booth alumnus and the founder of Autonomy Works, a BCorp employing individuals with autism. You can read more about Dave and the SEIR program here: http://research.chicagobooth.edu/sei/events/social-entrepreneur-in-residence. Dave offers one-on-one career coaching, mentoring to teams taking part in the Social New Venture Challenge (our social enterprise launch program), and coaches students taking part in the Social Enterprise Lab (an experiential learning course where students do consulting projects for nonprofits). Past SEIRs have offered body language/presenting workshops (our last SEIR is a dancer and started his own dance company and nonprofit).
Mar 11, 12:31:29julweis -> ShawnHI all! Shawn, can you speak to Booth's access to and connection with the Chicago Public School system, and the opportunities for experiential learning in EdTech?
Shawn -> julweisHi Julweis, I haven't mentioned yet that the Booth Education Group also has an offering called Education Consulting. We partnered with Chicago Public Schools, as well as a few charter schools, on interesting problems they are facing. Chicago Booth students then work on teams to help consult them. The projects are typically months long and provide a great meaningful way to connect to the local public schools. As for ed-tech, we host a San Francisco, New York, and Chicago trek every year where we visit a host of interesting ed-tech firms. We provide the firms with the resumes of the attending students to help drive those connections. Booth also provides an EIP internship program that provides funding for students who wish to work for start-ups that cannot provide sufficient compensation for the student to work there.
Mar 11, 12:32:00Mahi -> Josh R.Greetings Josh R. Please elaborate on the internships, programs and course offering available at Booth for people interested in Impact VC.
Josh R. -> MahiMahi - I'd suggest the first barrier to entry to impact VC is to really build up your venture capital credentials. Three courses I found very helpful were Commercializing Innovation (w/ Scott Meadow), Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity (w/ Steve Kaplan) and the Private Equity /Venture Capital Lab (w/ Jason Heltzer, Ira Weiss, and Chris McGowan). I also got internships during the term at the Innovation fund on campus, at an impact-focused VC through the lab class, and over the summer worked at an impact investing growth equity-firm for a Booth alumna. In addition to that I'd say the VCIC competition, the MIINT competition, the impact investing seminar, and networking in the broader VC community as well as the Impact VC community are helpful. The CEO of Impact Engine has been very willing to engage with Booth students, as well as another impact-incubator called Panzanzee that regularly attends our startup networking nights.
Mar 11, 12:33:00PeterSt -> BeckI read that the city of Chicago issued a Social-Impact Bond. Did Booth support this placement in any way and do you cover Social-Impact Bonds in class?
Beck -> PeterStHi PeterSt, Booth wasn't involved in the Social Impact Bond here in Chicago (though the Deputy Mayor is a Booth Alum!), but we do discuss Social Impact Bonds in class. In Social Enterprise Lab, we have a lot of discussion around financing and funding of social enterprises, and one of the things we covered was Social Impact Bonds.
Mar 11, 12:33:22Navita -> Marcus PHi Marcus, Can you also share what makes the SEI and Booth's Non profit board fellows program special and different especially in terms of the culture, skills and experiences.
Marcus P -> NavitaHello Navita, I think one thing that makes our board fellows program different is that it is student organized. Because of this, the Net Impact co-chairs actively seek out partner organizations based on the exact desires of the Board Fellows. This differs from places where the partner organizations may be pre-determined. As a result, the students are going to be incredibly engaged and this creates an exciting atmosphere within the program.
Mar 11, 12:34:19LAK -> BeckHello, thanks for taking the time to lead this session! Are there specific opportunities focused on international social enterprise opportunities?
Beck -> LAKHi LAK, thanks for your question! The International Development Group here on campus has opportunities to do consulting projects with social enterprises working internationally.
Mar 11, 12:34:30Fahad -> Erica PHello. I am a prospective applicant for Class of 2019. How much of a background in social impact (career, extra curricular) does one need to have prior to applying to bschool, esp. if one of the main aspects that attracts one to UChicago is the focus on social impact?
Erica P -> FahadHi Farhad - Great job thinking ahead! Students come into Booth with different levels of background when it comes to social impact. Before you arrive, you could try and narrow down what sector areas you are most passionate about, check in on the SEI website (chicagobooth.edu/sei) to stay up to date on what we are up to, and start making a wish list of companies and organizations in Chicago you would want to learn more about when you arrive. Good luck with your application!
Mar 11, 12:35:53CG -> AllyI'm curious about opportunities for students to learn and practice the principles of design thinking in developing solutions/products/services to tackle social problems, as well as the ways SEI fosters collaboration with students from the other University of Chicago schools. Would one of you mind speaking to that?
Ally -> CGHello, CG, as part of our social entrepreneurship programs, we offer opportunities to think about how to apply traditional entrepreneurship philosophies to social enterprise. This year, we were able to send a few students to BarnRaise (a very cool design conference for social issues) and an alumna wrote for us about the experience here: http://research.chicagobooth.edu/sei/about-sei/highlights/2014/2015-01-06-design-thinking-for-the-social-entrepreneur. One of the biggest ways we foster collaboration from across UChicago is through the John Edwardson, '72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC), which is our start-up launch program for enterprises with a social mission. SNVC teams come from across the university and often include Booth students and students from other UChicago graduate programs.
Mar 11, 12:36:27Moderator -> EveryoneWe've crossed the halfway point in our chat. Please continue to send us your questions about the various social impact resources at Booth.
Mar 11, 12:36:42AbhiChandrasekhara -> Josh R.Josh - would love to hear about the recruiting experience for impact investing post MBA. Is it a mostly off campus search, and which specific resources did you find helpful to secure your position?
Josh R. -> AbhiChandrasekhara@AbhiChandrasekhara: the recruiting experience is definitely more challenging than a typical career path like investment banking or consulting. That said, the on-campus offerings have gotten MUCH stronger since I got to Booth. I'm jealous of all the great summer internships that got posted on GTS (our recruiting system) for first years that weren't available even last year for me. My prior response touched on many of the resources I found helpful for networking and establishing my credentials, but I'll just add that the job I'm going to was actually an on-campus recruiting process from a firm that came to Booth for the first time this year. It's a growing industry and I expect the recruiting process will become easier and more defined as Booth builds its credentials in the space.
Mar 11, 12:36:51Joan -> JodyI have a question for current students who are hoping to work in the the non-profit space, or in a social impact-focused role in a for-profit organization. How have you found the recruiting process? Has any of the on-campus recruiting been useful to you, or has your internship or job search been more driven by off-campus recruiting and networking? Can you describe some the internships that you or your peers have gotten in the social impact space?
Jody -> JoanHi Joan, I'll grab this question. As I've indicated, more than likely this search is outside of campus recruiting. That is mainly because these organizations don't employ a campus-based strategy. That said, we get a ton of job postings as well as many opportunities to engage in networking via conferences, programs, student groups, panels, and treks. Some examples of recent internships include MacArthur Foundation, Gates Foundation, US-AID, Civic Consulting Alliance, WHO, National Parks Service, and Save the Children. The roles for these vary so much! Finance, strategic business planning,consulting, investing and asset management, and business development.
Mar 11, 12:37:27Ramzi -> Erica PHi, I am still awaiting a confirmation from Admissions if I get accepted this round hopefully :) Just a curious question: Are there students who join the SEI with a broad idea to start a Social Impact Enterprise (without really knowing exactly what), obtain an idea during the interactions with others and the SEI, partner with other like-minded students, work on this idea during Booth and start it up post Booth?
Erica P -> RamziHi Ramzi - Yes, this happens all of the time. We do specific programming in the fall quarter around ideation and team formation to help facilitate these conversations. The Social New Venture Challenge (http://chicagonvc.com) is our premier social venture launch competition. Teams are formed after students arrive and ideas are often formed then as well. We offer a large set of support and mentorship opportunities for these social enterprises both during and after your time at Booth.
Mar 11, 12:37:59Joan -> Dana NI've had leadership marketing and development roles in non-profit, and I'm pursuing an MBA to round out my quantitative skills so that I can be a more effective business generalist and analyst. I don't have very strong quant skills yet, though. Does Booth offer support to students taking classes in these areas who don't have as strong a foundation?
Dana N -> JoanHi Joan, great question! Prior to Booth, my role was similarly light in development of quantitative skills. The great thing about Booth's flexible curriculum is that I was able to immediately dive into the finance and modeling courses that would help me develop those skills, and they were a great help in both my summer internship and the project that I was working on for my Board Fellows non-profit. There are also a number of seminars offered throughout the year that are focused on helping students with similar backgrounds develop quant and modeling skills, so I definitely would not worry about not having enough opportunities!
Mar 11, 12:39:41Reza -> ShawnHi everyone, thanks for taking the time. I have a follow up question for Shawn: you mentioned you were taking classes at the Harris School next quarter on public education financing. How common is it/what opportunities exist for collaborations with the Harris school, be it taking courses there or getting involved in projects with its students? Is there a lot of overlap? Thanks!
Shawn -> RezaHi Reza, taking a course at Harris or another school at UChicago is fairly common. It requires the professor of that course to send you approval (which they almost always do). A lot of my classmates took a wide variety of courses, from Crime Policy to a Tamil Language course at the University. You also have the option to audit a course at another school, if the professor allows. The Booth Education group has connections to the education group at Harris. We have collaborated, however infrequently, on joint mixers and offerings in the past.
Mar 11, 12:40:57fernandakneese -> AllyHello! Thank you for hosting this chat. I would to know if you have developed any social projects in Brazil or other emerging markets.
Ally -> fernandakneeseHi fernandakneese: Booth students come from all over the world and many are interested in international development, especially as it relates to impact investing and social entrepreneurship. We have a team in this year's Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC) that plans to improve access to early childhood education in Peru and another team with an idea to connect local artisans in Central America with better access to markets. There are Booth student groups on international development and emerging markets (believe the main one is called Booth Global Impact group) that bring in speakers, do consulting projects, and plan career treks.
Mar 11, 12:41:07Devesh -> Josh R.Hi Josh! Thanks for telling us about impact-investing venture capital. For someone with a similar background as yours and who wants to consider impact-investing venture capital as a career prospect, what would you recommend as preparation to be better equipped while entering Booth (apart from studying more about the investors in the field). Also, what are the special classes focusing on impact investing at Booth?
Josh R. -> DeveshDevesh: There's only 1 impact-investing class, and it's actually a non-credit seminar at the moment available by application (taught by Brian Axelrad of Beyond Capital). But I found I really needed to establish my core venture capital credentials before any impact-focused VC would take me seriously. I've mentioned 3 classes already I found super helpful - Commercializing Innovation, Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity, and the Private Equity / Venture Capital lab. I'd also say just getting internships at any VC where you can get exposure to deals and practical experience meeting with entrepreneurs is very helpful. I found the VCIC and MIINT competitions really helpful and great networking opportunities as well.
Mar 11, 12:41:38ConorD -> JodyHi Jody, thanks for taking our questions! At Booth, everyone was successful before they arrived and have likely had accomplished MBA careers, so what sets a Booth candidate apart from other Booth candidates when recruiting?
Jody -> ConorDHi ConorD, you are welcome! Well - every Boothie is unique in the combination of past experiences, skills, domain knowledge, interests and passions. I can tell you that recruiters and professionals always talk about how intellectually curious Booth students are, apply analytical skills, able to look at issues from a variety of perspectives, solution-driven, and great leadership and people skills. What makes Booth students really stand out in a company interaction is their level of preparedness - they can make a case for why they are interested in that firm and that industry.
Mar 11, 12:42:32Shelby -> Marcus PHi Marcus, could you provide additional information on the Net Impact career trek? How many students were involved? Whatthe project entailed?
Marcus P -> ShelbyHi Shelby. The Net Impact career trek was in Chicago this year. The trek is not really a "project". It is really an opportunity to get out and develop relationships with organizations in the social impact space. When we visited the organizations, we had meetings with executives at the organizations as well as Booth alums.
Mar 11, 12:43:24Moderator -> EveryoneWe have less than 20 minutes remaining in our chat, but please continue to send us your questions and we will try our best to get through as many as possible. We realize there is a lot of good information being shared and will post a full transcript of this chat within 48 hours.
Mar 11, 12:44:06Evan_H -> AllyGood afternoon everyone! Is it possible to enter a prospective business venture/idea into the Social New Venture Challenge as well as the New Venture Challenge?
Ally -> Evan_HHello, Evan_H, yes, it is possible! We always encourage teams thinking of applying to meet with SEI staff and our social entrepreneur in residence (more info on that here: http://research.chicagobooth.edu/sei/events/social-entrepreneur-in-residence), as well as Polsky Center staff and their entrepreneurs in residence, all of whom can help teams figure out which program is the best fit for their aims.
Mar 11, 12:45:22Charo -> ShawnHello. How is the Booth offering of courses and experiential opportunities if we want to grow in non-profit management knowledge and skills? I know we have discussed the Social Impact Lab course and Board Fellows.
Shawn -> CharoAnother offering is the Education Consulting program, which provides an opportunity for students to help Chicago public schools with an interesting issue that they are currently grappling with. Students work on teams on months-long projects, usually working directly with the school administrators.
Mar 11, 12:45:38Daniyal -> BeckHello everyone. I'm an aspiring social entrepreneur and want to work in the foods industry (specifically dairy) in my long-term future. Can anyone of you let me know about the networking opportunities available to booth students within this industry. Also, in exactly what ways can the SEI help in creating a social enterprise in a third world country?
Beck -> DaniyalHi Daniyal, thanks for your question. I'm also particularly interested in social impact in the food/agriculture industries and am going to be working at Cargill next year to better understand the for-profit side of global food systems. There are a range of food companies that come to campus each year as well as a student group specifically devoted to the food industry (FEAD) that brings a ton of interesting speakers to campus. To your second question, the Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC) is a great way to leverage Booth resources to start a social enterprise in the developing world.
Mar 11, 12:47:08Reza -> JodyHello everyone, thank you for taking the time! I'm curious to know, for students who enter Booth interested in Social Enterprise, what are the jobs they tend to get involved with after graduating? Do they tend to differ from short- to long-term? Are their any tracks that are particularly well-traveled, in your opinion?
Jody -> RezaHI Reza, we have many students that pursue social impact internships, and for full time they may focus on applying that function in a for-profit. An example might be a shift to consulting for full time recruiting. Many students I speak with are either interested for full time or at a later time in their career. That said, we have several students who do pursue social and government roles directly after Booth. Education is also of strong interest now as well. We have MBAs pursuing Education - operations and strategic planning roles for example.
Mar 11, 12:48:46doconnell -> Dana NHi all, if I'm coming in from the non-profit sector, and I'm interested in consulting, would it be more beneficial to focus on some of the more traditional business skills and classes, or is it possible to balance involvement in social impact with training in private sector experiences I may not have from my professional experience?
Dana N -> doconnellHi doconnell, the great thing about recruiting for consulting is that they value a variety of backgrounds, including non-profit experience. We have a number of Net Impact members who are pursuing consulting full-time, and the decision to balance recruiting and social impact is definitely a personal one in regards to your own time-management ability. That said, the Board Fellows program is a great way to gain consulting experience while balancing a desire for involvement in social impact, and a good percentage of Board Fellows are going into consulting full-time. The Social Enterprise Lab is also another way to gain that consulting experience in a social impact setting.
Mar 11, 12:48:54Devesh -> Josh R.Hi Josh, how else would one differentiate impact-investing VC from a general VC apart from the social sector focus. Probably in terms of industry outlook, career prospects, and any other dimension that I am missing out on?
Josh R. -> Devesh@Devesh: Impact investing VC is very similar to core VC, with the difference that you have to do additional due diligence and forecasting on non-financial measures as well. The industry is relatively nascent but appears to be growing rapidly. Long term career prospects are hard to judge, but I'm optimistic (hence why I'm working in the sector after school). VC in general is an extremely challenging recruiting path that will be more work than most other career choices. The total VC space is extremely small - 100 new post-MBA jobs open up in the industry in the country in any given year. Within the impact-VC space that's a small subset of those jobs. I think the opportunities are there for Booth students, especially given our growing alumni presence in the space, but make no mistake you'll really be working hard on recruiting during your whole time here.
Mar 11, 12:51:32Atri -> AllyHello! First off, thank you Booth team for hosting this chat! I did some work in impact investing in a previous job and found it to be a very interesting topic. Could you share a little about work the SEI does on the topic - research, internship / volunteering opportunities for MBAs etc.?
Ally -> AtriHi Atri, you are in good company! There's a lot of interest and energy around impact investing at Booth. This fall, the social enterprise initiative offered a 10-week impact investing seminar taught by Booth alumnus Brian Axelrad, who is chief investment officer at Beyond Capital Fund. The seminar ran in conjunction with the national MIINT competition (MBA Impact Investing Network and Training), an experiential learning opportunity during which students source investments, perform due diligence, and then pitch their investment theses to a panel of impact investors. There are impact investing firms and also foundations that recruit at Booth (MacArthur and Gates and Grameen, for example) and our career services team is awesome at helping students think about how to network and make connections in this field!
Mar 11, 12:52:50Evan_H -> Josh R.Good afternoon everyone! Josh, through your interaction with VC recruiters, did you find that they were more interested in your background in modeling/quantitative skills or already possessing a deep understanding of a particular sector (through your experience in equity research)?
Josh R. -> Evan_H@Evan_H: Honestly, my banking/equity research modelling skills were not the most important thing to VC recruiters. Anyone coming out of a quantitatively-strong school like Booth will have those skills. maybe having a bulge-bracket investment bank on my resume added some credibility, but it wasn't the focus of any interviews I had. Sector knowledge from my internship experiences were more relevant. There is a big difference between being able to talk about large companies in a space knowledgeably and being able to talk about the challenges facing small cash-constrained companies in the space well.
Mar 11, 12:53:12RJ050 -> ShawnHello All - Interested in a career in social impact post Booth dealing with access to resources that promote higher education in disadvantaged areas but current background lends nothing (outside of personal experience) to that career track. What steps can you take prior to applying to the Booth MBA to help facilitate this transition?
Shawn -> RJ050Hi RJ050, some students find pre-MBA internships the summer before school to get more exposure to a field that they are interested in transitioning into. If you reach out to SEI, they could help assist you in making contacts to organizations that are interesting to you. But once you get into Booth, there will be many opportunities (treks/classes/internships/consulting projects) to prop up your resume with experiences that make you appealing to a potential employer.
Mar 11, 12:54:02Daniyal -> BeckHello Beck. If there are any, can you please provide examples/cases of social enterprises that the SEI has helped in creating in the emerging markets.
Beck -> DaniyalHi Daniyal - a really neat enterprise that came out of SNVC with the support of the SEI is LuminAID, which was just featured on the show Shark Tank. You can read more about it here: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/about/newsroom/news/2015/2015-03-06-luminaid-on-shark-tank?source=hpr-student-20150306.
Mar 11, 12:54:27Alicia_Ju -> JodyHi Jody! I was wondering if you could talk more about recruiting in the social impact field. Do many employers come through to campus to do recruiting?
Jody -> Alicia_JuHi Alicia_Ju, I've spoken to this in earlier questions and I really appreciate you asking as the process is a bit more specialized and it's good to know this. We have a small number of employers that come to campus, and many more in this space will post roles (job postings and campus-based interviews are different channels!) We also have a list of organizations that offer more structured opportunities such as fellowships and all of these have application deadlines in fall and early winter. I work with many students who pursue more self-directed searches and the same skills and tools apply! I really fell this expands opportunities rather than limits to what firms come to campus, as in this space many of these organizations have great needs but lack resources to recruit in the same way that larger for-profit firms recruit.
Mar 11, 12:54:28trezende -> AllyHi everyone! I’ll be attending the next First Day event at the end of April and I would love to get in touch with SEI. Will there be any specific event then?
Ally -> trezendeHello, trezende, first of all: get excited! The First Day in February was so much fun. SEI will have a panel at First Day during which you can meet some of the students interested in social impact at Booth, as well as SEI staff. You can also swing by our office any time. We love visitors and are happy to talk about which of our programs would be a fit for your interests and career aspirations.
Mar 11, 12:56:26Surbi -> Marcus PHi! I am interested in the Board Fellows as well and was hoping a current student could share a bit about their experience...what sorts of tasks they were given and how they interacted with the board?
Marcus P -> SurbiHello Surbi, I can give my perspective. I worked with a financial literacy organization, Moneythink, over the past 15 months. During this time I helped them with a market entry project. You will have a lot of access to the various board members during your tenure. Additionally, I attended their quarterly board meetings. Each board fellow is also paired with a mentor on the board of directors.
Mar 11, 12:56:38Charo -> ShawnI'm currently in education management. What are some of the companies or systems that have hired Booth graduates in the field of Education? I know you mentioned Education Pioneers.
Shawn -> CharoHi Charo, off the top of my head, I know classmates who have or are entering into full time positions with the following companies: Edmodo, Bellwether Education Partners, Uncommon Schools, Broad Residency, Nobel Charter Schools, New Schools Ventures.
Mar 11, 12:56:58Josh R. -> EveryoneIt was great to chat with everyone, unfortunately I have to sign off a bit early. I hope you found the conversation helpful.
Mar 11, 12:58:21Akshay -> Dana NCan a student propose a project that they want to pursue under the Net Impact Board Fellows?
Dana N -> AkshayHi Akshay, great question! Students can definitely propose a non-profit, and have done so multiple times, that they'd like to work with. Usually these students had an existing relationship with that non-profit and knew of existing barriers or problems that they, with Booth's resources, could help solve. For many students who haven't lived in Chicago before, Board Fellows is a great way to connect with new non-profits and to make an impact on their new community.
Mar 11, 12:58:25EC -> BeckFor the Social Enterprise Lab, approximately how many students are assigned to a client? Is the Lab generally offered each term or is it dependent on the availability of interested non-profit clients?
Beck -> ECHi EC, we work in groups of 4-5 with the client. The Lab is generally offered one quarter each year.
Mar 11, 12:59:27Dino -> AllyHello everybody! Two routes I'd like to explore during b-school are social entrepreneurship (e.g. Toms or Warby Parker) and social impact investing. Is it possible to do both, or one has to focus on only one route to make it worthwhile?
Ally -> DinoHi there, Dino, it is absolutely possible to do both. And, in fact, many students feel that understanding social enterprise from both the entrepreneur and investor lenses is really helpful. SEI runs the Booth arm of the national MBA Impact Investing Network and Training (MIINT) competition as well as a 10-week seminar designed to complement MIINT and offer increased access and opportunities to learn about impact investing. The seminar is during winter quarter and MIINT finals are in April. The Social New Venture Challenge, which is our social start-up launch program, takes place during the spring quarter and finals are in May. So it's definitely possible to do both. There are really active student groups that work on PE, VC, and entrepreneurship, as well as social impact groups on a broad range of social issues that help you get subject area expertise and meet movers and shakers in those industries.
Mar 11, 13:00:22Moderator -> EveryoneThe chat has now ended. Thank you again for participating in our chat and for all of your questions. As a reminder, the chat transcript will be posted within 48 hours.
Mar 11, 13:00:29Dana N -> EveryoneThanks for the great questions, everyone! It was great to meet you all, and I hope we were helpful!
Mar 11, 13:00:32Joan -> JodyHave you seen graduates enter corporate social responsibility roles at for-profit organizations full-time after graduation? Is that a common path for Booth graduates interested in social impact?
Jody -> JoanHi Joan, CSR is a very desired path for many MBA students. I usually recommend that students pursue internal corporate roles, such as finance, marketing, operations, general leadership rotationals, etc and then they can shift to a CSR role as they progress post-grad. In my experience it is the exception rather than the usual that students go directly into CSR, at least if they have no experience. This is mainly because the companies really have folks in these roles (which are few anyway) who have deeper experience with that company, as CSR is so connected to their strategies and mission. That said, again with a good corporate internship you can network within the firm and be well positioned for full time and beyond.
Mar 11, 13:00:34Beck -> EveryoneGreat talking to all of you today, and thanks for the wonderful questions! We hope this was helpful.
Mar 11, 13:00:45Erica P -> EveryoneGreat questions, everyone. For more info, you can always visit http://chicagobooth.edu/sei to read about Social Enterprise Initiative programs and events. You can also follow us on twitter @boothsei. Best of luck!
Mar 11, 13:00:51Ally -> EveryoneThis was so much fun! To learn more about all things social impact at Booth, feel free to follow us on Twitter @BoothSEI or visit our site at http://research.chicagobooth.edu/sei/
Mar 11, 13:00:52Marcus P -> EveryoneThanks everyone! I hope you found our answers helpful. It was great to meet everyone.
Mar 11, 13:01:22Jody -> EveryoneThanks for participating in the chat everyone! Hope to see you here at Booth!
Mar 11, 13:01:25Tiger -> ShawnI have 2 questions to the student panel. #1 What is the greatest challenge that you have endured while working in the non-profit sector for social/community development programs? #2 How can you leverage what you have learned at Booth to overcome the challenges? Thank you!
Shawn -> TigerHi Tiger, I had a non-profit venture in the education space, and the greatest challenge was just getting an opportunity to get access to potential schools who I could help. Before school, it was really difficult to get introductions, just to see if there was a way my venture could help them. While at Booth though, the Booth and SEI network helped connect me with many schools, non-profits, and other Boothies in the space. This helped me understand the market and how to refine my product in a way I couldn't have done on my own.
Mar 11, 13:01:47Shawn -> EveryoneThanks everyone for your questions! Best of luck!