Last week, a team of Booth students earned second place in the finals of the seventh annual MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT) competition at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
The win marked the first time Booth has placed in the MIINT competition, which featured student teams from MBA programs including Harvard Business School, London Business School, and MIT Sloan Management. Students competing on Booth’s MIINT team included first-year students in the Full-Time MBA program Jenny Sang, Jessica Green, and Riddhima Hinduja, second-year MBA/MPP student Shruthi Subramanyam, and Evening MBA Program student Jeremiah Hillebrand.
At the finals, the team presented their investment recommendation for The Graide Network, a Chicago-based company that connects K-12 schools with teaching assistants who grade and provide feedback on student work in an effort to improve student achievement and teacher retention. By placing second, the team secured a $25,000 investment in The Graide Network.
“Going through the MIINT program helped me understand the unique challenges inherent in impact-oriented investing,” Jessica Green said. “It also helped me affirm that this is a career in which I can be successful. Interacting with impact investors and students from the top business schools at the national competition highlighted the fact that impact investing is an important emerging industry with a strong community of successful people who believe that social outcomes can come alongside profit.”
Hosted by the Bridges Impact Foundation in partnership with the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, MIINT is an experiential learning opportunity for students at leading business and graduate schools to source and conduct diligence on early-stage impact investments. Booth student teams competed in the school’s semifinals event on February 27 for the opportunity to participate in the MIINT finals.
At Booth, the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation facilitated the MIINT program by providing coaching, workshops, and access to alumni mentors with industry expertise and student mentors who previously participated in the MIINT program. Students received coaching from Tasha Seitz, a partner at Impact Engine and MIINT national advisor; Brian Axelrad, ’09, chief investment officer of Beyond Capital Fund; and Priya Parrish, ’09, chief investment officer of Schwartz Capital Group. Parrish and Axelrad also serve as Rustandy Center impact investors in residence.
“The team made a compelling pitch, and we’re thrilled they were recognized nationally,” said Caroline Grossman, ’03, director of programs at the Rustandy Center and adjunct assistant professor of strategy at Booth. “MIINT is one of many programs we offer to our students, but there was a time when MIINT was one of the only impact investing programs we offered. This year, we expanded our impact investing programming to better reflect the evolving industry, as well as the interests of Booth students.”
In addition to MIINT, Booth students this year also participated—and placed nationally—in the UNC Invest for Impact Case Competition. The Rustandy Center facilitated that competition at Booth and also launched Perspectives in Impact Investment: A Series on Leveraging Capital for Social Good. Through the four-part series, students took a deeper dive into impact investing, learning about career paths, public and private markets, and where the field is heading.
“MIINT was a capstone experience that allowed me to apply skills and knowledge from both inside and outside the classroom,” said Shruthi Subramanyam. “I worked at a family foundation last summer and was introduced to the investment way of thinking. Building on that experience—and courses such as New Venture Strategy and Entrepreneurial Finance & Private Equity—I was able to translate classroom knowledge into tangible impact for an organization right here in Chicago. It was empowering and extremely fulfilling to be able to use what I learn in classrooms in this way.”