During my tenure, we have grown from 14 students to a team of 28. All students on the fund get 1.5 credits. We have a strong board of directors and we’ve identified four circles of interest which function as mini portfolios managed by the students. The four circles are education, environment, health& nutrition, and urban revitalization. Urban revitalization deals exclusively with Detroit and Southeast Michigan.
With the work we’re doing with the SVF, we’re really trying to raise awareness for social impact investing. We recently closed our call for national business plans as we seek to invest in start-up companies that have the potential to make a social impact. One such example is a local entrepreneurial venture called Local Orbit. This is an online platform that connects local farmers with local businesses.
Right now, SVF is focused on providing experiential learning opportunities for students, building out expertise in our circles of interest, and making our first investment by the end of the academic year. We’ve launched our long-term capital campaign that we hope will supplement the 2010 graduating MBA class’s pledge of $100,000.
One of my personal goals for the fund is to increase access to impact investing careers for students. The field itself is very non-traditional and is generally lacking a lot of infrastructure. Also, the current opportunities don’t match the rising student interest. These factors make it next to impossible for students to find jobs.
I am so grateful to be here at Ross and to have access to the incredible resources I’ve been able to tap into; from the professors to the various centers. Likewise, social environment themes are woven throughout the program and curriculum which says a lot about the school. I’ve also been really impressed with the extent of support and the ways in which the support is cross-cutting. For instance, the engineering school is doing some very interesting entrepreneurship activities and they’ve been really supportive of what we’re doing with the Social Venture Fund.
Four words that come to mind when I think about Ross are thoughtful, innovative, collaborative, and forward-thinking leadership. When I was exploring business schools, Michigan topped my list. I wanted to be at a place that could build strong general management skills, but also one that was conducive of the career change I was seeking. When I looked at the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes ranking, Michigan topped the list for its social environment theme and the resources that are made available to students who are exploring this field. For me personally, I don’t think I would have been able to make a transition from technology to social impact without the Ross experience.
After graduation, I hope to remain in this field so that I may continue in impact investing. What I care about most is providing guidance and expertise to small and midsize enterprises that are making a social impact in the world. My goal is to apply what I’ve learned in B-school to this general context.