The course will provide an introduction to impact investing, or the growing practice of investing for both financial return and positive social and/or environmental effect. It will also involve students in the type of research that a junior analyst would perform to support an impact-oriented investment. No prior experience is required. The main focus of the course will be team-based project work. The class will divide into, depending on total enrollment, 3 or 4 groups of 4-5 students. Each team will be assigned to a participating investment firm to work on a specific project. Collaborating firms will be representative of the different actors in the impact investing ecosystem, i.e. asset owners, asset managers, and intermediaries that assist asset owners in allocating capital to asset managers. Projects may involve diligence on an investment opportunity that the firm is considering or research to understand a new area of possible interest. The mix of projects will provide exposure to a range of investment types (e.g., fixed income, venture capital, private equity), as well as to a variety of impact themes (e.g., climate change, community economic development, food and agriculture). The project work will include interaction with contacts at participating firms. Delivering to the expectations of collaborating firms will require substantial outside-of-class time. In-class meetings will focus mainly on complementary presentations by invited speakers and discussion of related readings. In-class time will average 6 hours per week. At the conclusion of the course, each team will prepare a report on its assignment (generally in the form of a PowerPoint presentation) and present that report to representatives of the firm that sought the team’s assistance. All members of the class will attend the presentations. Student evaluations will be based on the quality of the final reports and presentations, as well as participation in class meetings and discussions.
The Class: Format: lecture
Grading: pass/fail only
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: final project or presentation
Enrollment Preferences: based on a written statement of why the student desires to take the course and what specifically he/she hopes to gain from the experience
Unit Notes: In the 1990s, Bill McCalpin '79 led one of the early initiatives by a major philanthropic foundation (the MacArthur Foundation) to make investments that generated competitive financial returns and advanced foundation philanthropic objectives. More recently, he served as CEO of an impact advisory firm that was sold to Goldman Sachs in 2015 and later directed the impact advisory business of another registered investment adviser serving taxable high net worth clients and institutional investors.
Materials/Lab Fee: none
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- SPEC 15 - 01 (W) LEC Investing for Return & Impact