25 business schools from around the world compete for $50,000 investment opportunity
Students from the world’s top business and policy schools gathered on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia for the culmination of the MIINT—the MBA Impact Investing Network & Training program. Three winning teams secured a total of $100,000 in potential investment for the companies that they presented.
MIINT is an experiential lab designed to give business and graduate students a hands-on education in impact investing. It is co-sponsored by Wharton Social Impact Initiative, a center within The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Bridges Fund Management, a dedicated sustainable and impact investment firm, as part of a shared commitment to building the field of impact investing.
Through six months of training, 500 student participants learn how to think like an impact investor, and are asked to define an investment thesis, source investments, conduct diligence, and present their recommendations to a panel of experienced impact investors.
At the end of the program each spring, MIINT concludes with a final competition, where teams present real-life impact investing opportunities to a team of expert judges in the hope of winning a potential investment for their selected company from MIINT’s sponsors, The Moelis Family Foundation and Liquidnet for Good. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is also a major sponsor.
The winner of this year’s competition was a team from INSEAD’s Singapore campus, who presented a health-tech solution improving online medical education in India. Their prize was the opportunity for a $50,000 investment in their selected company (pending further independent review).
The first of two runners-up was a team from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, presenting a behavioral health virtual platform. This was the fourth time Kellogg has made it to the finals; they won in 2014 and 2015.
The second runner-up was a team from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, who presented an online marketplace fueling innovations in agricultural finance.
For the first time in the competition’s history, deliberation was so close that MIINT judges declared six finalists instead of five.
Teams from The Schulich School of Business (York University), Saïd Business School (Oxford University), and The MIT Sloan School of Management were also selected as finalists, presenting companies focused on innovating health, early childhood education technology, and employment recruitment, respectively. A team from Ross School of Business (University of Michigan) won Best Diligence.
The competition’s judges noted the extremely high caliber of presentations across the board. Judges included Surya Kolluri, WG’92, of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Ron Moelis, C’78, W’78, of L+M Development Partners, Brian Walsh, of Liquidnet for Good, Susan Balloch, WG’84, of Golden Seeds, Suzanne Biegel, W’84, of Catalyst at Large, Matt Greenfield of Rethink Education, Sarah Morgenstern, WG’11 of Omidyar Network, Dustin Rosen, of Wonder Ventures, Manuel Navas, WG‘00 of Bamboo Capital Partners, Gerry Pambo-Awich of Prudential Financial, Zoe Schlag, Mentor-in-Residence at TechStars, and Shuaib Siddiqui of Surdna Foundation.
MIINT’s growing popularity highlights the rising interest in impact investing, particularly among the millennial generation.
“We see the MIINT as an important way to satisfy growing, global student demand for impact investing training opportunities, and to build a pipeline of investment talent,” says Nick Ashburn, Senior Director for the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. “We’ve been improving the program year-over-year, and we are observing an increased sophistication from the student teams, which we’re delighted to see. We hope to increase MIINT’s reach even further next year.”
With a strong focus on impact investing careers, the MIINT also organized one-to-one career conversations with judges and a number of other leading impact investors, in addition to a speaker panel during the competition. There were also numerous opportunities for the students to network and learn from each other.
“Impact investing is still an emerging practice without a lot of natural entry points into the industry or networks for students. Bridges is committed to building a pipeline of talented people who combine investment experience with a deep understanding of how to think critically about impact, and the one of the best ways to do that is to look at a specific opportunity and form a clear opinion” says Brian Trelstad, Partner at Bridges Fund Management. “We recognized that business schools might find it difficult to meet the growing interest in impact investing among MBA students, so we created the MIINT as a new kind of course: one that is experiential, and one that is inherently collaborative, by working across campuses around the world. The MIINT’s remarkable growth in the last several years demonstrates the global appetite for this kind of program.”
For more information on the program, its process, or participating schools and judges, visit themiint.org.