2016 MBAs To Watch: Luke Douglas, New York University (Stern)

Luke Douglas-NYU-PoetsAndQuants_MBAsToWatch2016

Luke Douglas

Shashank Krishnamurthy
New York University, Stern School of Business (Dual degree MBA/MPA with NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service)

Age: 29

Hometown: Belmont, MA

Undergraduate School and Degree: Middlebury College, International Politics and Economics

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Program Related Investment Analyst at Trinity Wall Street

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Washington, DC

Where will you be working after graduation? BCG, Washington, DC

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Founder, NYU Impact Investing Fund; Board Fellow; Consultant, Clinton Foundation Haiti Initiative; Social Enterprise Association VP of Academics; NYU Stern LeanIn Circle Leader; Management Consulting Association Mentor; Consultant, Luxury Retail Consulting Corps; Social Impact Internship Fund Fellow; Full academic scholarship to both NYU Stern and NYU Wagner

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Getting the NYU Impact Investing Fund, or NIIF, up and running with both its first class of student members and its first major donation. With the formation of the NIIF, NYU Stern can now provide practical, hands-on experience for students who want to enter the impact investing sector after school, all while deploying investment capital to deserving organizations in the NYC community. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a few other, amazing Stern students on the project, and we’re all so excited that what was once just an idea is now available to NYU Stern and the broader NYU graduate school community.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Hardest question to answer here — I still feel like I’m just getting started. I’ve tried my hand at all sorts of interesting projects that create positive social, environmental, and financial impact for the world, from publishing research on impact investing to rebuilding the prototype organization model of a major government agency. It’s not the output of any single one of these projects that makes me proud though, rather that I’ve been lucky enough to create positive impact and get paid to do it!

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Glenn Okun for telling it like it is — his brutal honesty is amazing.

Favorite MBA Courses? Advanced Macroeconomics with Professors Alexander Ljungqvist and Thomas Sargent; Investment Banking with Professor Charlie Murphy; and Managing Growing Companies with Professor Glenn Okun

Why did you choose this business school? NYU Stern’s unique structure that allowed me to take classes for my MBA and MPA simultaneously, rather than sequentially, really made it stand out. Coupling this with the access of NYU’s downtown-NYC location made it a no-brainer.

What did you enjoy most about business school? The jarringly fun blend of analytical thought and sociocultural training — simultaneously learning to calculate discounted cash flows and network around a cocktail party was enjoyable mental gymnastics.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? Focus! It was the ability to focus on what I actually found interesting and enjoyable over what I felt I ‘ought’ to be spending my time on. It was being able to shut off the little voice in your head that worries about going to an extra corporate presentation that all your friends are attending in order to work on projects I truly valued. This newly learned focus has enabled me to really slow down and build things instead of running around feeling busy with nothing to show for it.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The amount that it changed the way I looked at the world — I had no idea how enlightening it would be to look under the hood of the capitalist system that underpins everything we do as a society.

What was the hardest part of business school? Finding the energy to send that one last thank-you note or read that one last case when all you feel like your brain can do is sit quietly and mumble to itself.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Be authentic and trust the system — NYU Stern is looking for particular attributes that enable one to thrive here and in NYC. Playing up a certain background or personality for the sake of your application is only going to result in a poor fit once you get here!

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I was told that I wouldn’t get to work on a really interesting project because I didn’t have the right business background and skills.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… living in an underserved country running a development project.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels like they have to pick Elon Musk for both his fantastic vision for the future and his guts to double-down time and time again on the same.

What are your long-term professional goals? To reinvent the way that nonprofits approach their resource allocation decisions, either from within the industry or from the academy.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My fiancée for putting up with the crazy hours, travel, bizarre stressors, parties, and general uniqueness of the business school lifestyle — it must seem like a madhouse to those who are observing it from the outside!

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve taken part in the two largest annual human migrations in the world, traveling by train in China for Chinese New Year and by scooter in Indonesia for Idul Fitri.

Favorite book: Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

Favorite movie: Caddyshack

Favorite musical performer: Either Toots and the Maytals or Tïesto

Favorite television show: Can’t truthfully say that I watch much TV

Favorite vacation spot: Martha’s Vineyard

Hobbies? Good coffee, long-distance wilderness travel, and historical fiction

What made Luke such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Luke Douglas is a dual-degree MBA/MPA candidate at NYU Stern and NYU Wagner. Luke has an unwavering passion for and commitment to the triple bottom line, working to create blended social, environmental, and financial value.

“Over the course of his time at Stern, Luke transformed this passion into action by leading a team of students to create the first-ever NYU student-led impact investing fund. This fund will help to educate the next generation of impact investing professionals while deploying much-needed capital to social enterprises in the New York area. Under Luke’s leadership, the fund has already received its first evergreen investment and is actively building out its educational platform and investment thesis with a goal of becoming a cornerstone experiential learning class within our curriculum by 2017.

“Before Stern, Luke worked at Trinity Wall Street in New York City, managing the organization’s program-related investment strategy and performing internal impact assessments. Prior to Trinity Wall Street, Luke worked in Singapore at Impact Investment Shujog, an organization creating Asian social capital markets. At Shujog he performed field-based impact assessments on organizations throughout Asia, structured impact investment products, wrote grants, and performed research on the Asian social enterprise sector, publishing two papers with the Asian Development Bank.

“Luke was a Princeton in Asia Fellow in Indonesia and earned a BA from Middlebury College in Vermont. He speaks Bahasa Indonesia and Mandarin and spends his free time exploring, most recently filming a documentary in the Alaskan arctic.

“Luke will be working at the Boston Consulting Group upon graduation where he will continue to make a lasting impact in the world through business.”

Jamie Tobias
Executive Director
Office of Student Engagement
NYU Stern

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