Founded by the MBA Class of 2017, the IESE Impact Fund (formerly known as IESE For Impact Community Fund or IFIC) is IESE’s own student-led impact investment fund. Its mission is to create the next generation of impact-focused leaders, investors, and businesses poised to deliver tangible and sustainable good. Practically, this means giving students hands-on experience of working in an impact investing fund that generates transformational positive change by investing in innovative and sustainable businesses.
You may be asking yourself – what is impact investing apart from a fancy buzzword that is increasingly mentioned by fellow MBA students? In short, impact investing is about investing capital with the intention to generate positive, measurable environmental and social impact alongside achieving positive financial returns. Impact investing rests on two important pillars: intentionality and measurement. This means that the intention underlying the investor’s decisions needs to include both social / environmental and financial returns. Furthermore, the social and environmental impact generated by an investment needs to be measurable in a way that allows for objective reporting.
From a broader industry perspective, impact investing has seen tremendous growth over recent years with the development of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and global discussions around net zero carbon emissions. These topics highlight the need for the financial sector to be part of the drive to net positive investments. In a 2020 study, the Global Impact Investing Network estimated that impact investors globally manage $715+ billion in assets, a figure that has since increased significantly. Similarly, the number of players entering the impact investing field is increasing. While this comes with its own challenges (e.g., impact washing), it represents a great opportunity for businesses offering impactful products or services, such as investors seeking to invest available capital and individuals wanting to work in the sector.
IESE Impact Fund – past, present, and future
This brings us back to the IESE Impact Fund and impact investing at IESE. The IESE Impact Fund was initially established for three primary reasons:
1. Impact: supporting businesses driven by an aim to positively impact society
2. Learning: providing hands-on and valuable experience for IESE MBA students
3. IESE Mission: putting IESE’s mission into practice—to develop leaders who strive to have a deep, positive, and lasting impact on people, companies and society through professional excellence, integrity, and a spirit of service
The IESE Impact Fund is a fund with its own legal structure, which sets it apart from the traditional IESE clubs. It is managed by both 1st and 2nd year MBA students, 17 in total, split into teams that cover sourcing, due diligence, fundraising, and events. As Co-Presidents, we develop the annual strategy and vision, manage legal aspects, and write thought pieces (such as this!).
Since inception, the fund has made one platform investment, Ciclogreen Move and Win, S.L. (“Ciclogreen”), a sustainable mobility digital platform based in Sevilla, Spain. Ciclogreen rewards individuals and employees for traveling sustainably. Mobile users win gifts and discounts by cycling, walking, using public transport, sharing a car, or even skating and running. Ciclogreen’s technology positively impacts the environment through CO2 reduction and enables cities to better understand and visualize sustainable transportation routes.
Starting with last year’s President, Natalia Krueger (Class of ’21), the IESE Impact Fund has seen a significant increase in activity. We are planning on making our next investment this year, we will be co-hosting an Impact Investing Masterclass together with the Responsible Business Club, and we have secured a €25,000 sponsorship contract from Arcano Partners, a €4.6bn private equity fund based in Madrid. We are absolutely thrilled by this opportunity to work with and be supported by Arcano Partners, allowing us to equip future leadership teams with financial continuity and expert support. We will also host our first Fundraising Reception at the end of February, with Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of the CDC Group, as the keynote speaker.
Arcano – IESE Impact Competition
In March, we will be hosting the 11th Impact Investing Competition, a one-day event in which eight MBA schools, including ESADE, LBS, HEC Paris, CEIBS, will carry out an entire impact investing process and compete for a €1,000 prize. Over the course of the day, real-life start-ups will present their businesses, and MBA teams will perform due diligence, develop a term sheet, and negotiate with the start-ups. Throughout the process, experts in the field of impact investing will act as judges to not only determine the winner of the competition, but more importantly to equip participating students with advice and insights.
Impact Investing as a Career Choice
It is encouraging to see so many fellow MBA colleagues as well as prospective students interested in pursuing a career in impact investing. We consider the IESE Impact Fund to be a great opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the impact investing ecosystem. It also allows students to build a network of like-minded people and exchange ideas for internship and full-time opportunities. Moreover, the support and insights of Prof. Fabrizio Ferraro who teaches the ESG and Impact Class in 2nd year and Marcela Giron, Career Advisor from the Career Development Center have been invaluable for us students. With an increasing number of students aiming to enter impact investing post-MBA, the IESE Impact Fund helps create strong connections with stakeholders in the field and widens the network of alumni working in the industry who are able to share their experiences.
For us, pursuing and driving impact investing at IESE has been and continues to be a stimulating experience – we hope future students can reap the benefits from our efforts and take impact investing at IESE further still.
Written by Katharina Klohe and Alex Biehl (MBA 2022), Co-Presidents of the IESE Impact Fund 2021-2022.
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