It was the early weeks of the Cambridge MBA and we (all 174 of us) were just acquainting ourselves with one another. Few of us had interacted over some Zoom sessions earlier that summer, but we had barely scratched the surface of the immense collaboration that was to follow. During the course of this entire year, we would all have worked in multiple teams together.
Definitely, one of my absolute highlights for this year, would be representing Cambridge Judge Business School in the extremely prestigious and coveted Turner MIINT (MBA Impact Investing Network & Training) competition. MIINT, a seven month-long competition, is a collaboration between Bridges Impact Foundation and Wharton Social Impact Initiative
It was the early weeks of the MBA and this was the first year that Cambridge Judge would be sponsoring two teams for the MIINT competition. So one Saturday morning, over a Zoom call, we split up 10 enthusiastic impact-driven individuals into two formidable teams.
Our team comprised some of the smartest minds I have engaged with in Charlie Foster, Stephanie Esuola, Yann Grandemange and Ashish Khanna. We were divided by our diverse cultural and professional backgrounds, but united by a strong passion in impact investing and the sentiment that “Doing Good” and “Doing Well” are not mutually exclusive.
During the sourcing stage of the competition, we were extremely lucky in our access to the University of Cambridge research and entrepreneurial structures focusing largely on solving environmental issues (e.g. Cambridge Zero, Centre for Circular Economy, Cambridge Cleantech and Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership to name a few). We were also benefited immensely by access to the entrepreneurial ecosystem courtesy of Cambridge Judge faculty, Dr. Chris Coleridge. As a result, we were able to source over 60 companies as potentially excellent investment opportunities. All of these start-ups were radically different from one another – from a sustainable fashion tech to battery as a service (BaaS), but were aligned in their goals of a better world. By mid-December, we were able to screen all these companies and narrow down to five potential investment opportunities, which we split among ourselves as the SPOCs.
It was during the next phase of the project, i.e. the due diligence phase, where we had the amazing opportunity to talk to the founders of impact-driven start-ups and discuss business ideals, innovative technologies and impact measurement. Eventually, we zeroed-in on representing “Zedify” at the competition. Zedify is a zero-carbon last mile delivery company operating in multiple cities in the UK.
While we ultimately were not successful in proceeding past the semi-finals of the competition, participating in MIINT has been one of my biggest learning endeavours this year. While I have worked in Mergers & Acquisitions before, impact measurement and sustainability in business was not something I was well acquainted with. We had some fantastic study material, made available to us by the Turner MIINT people, and were also able to tap-into previous knowledge, experience and skills of our selfless Cambridge MBA cohort.
It is the last few weeks of my MBA, as I bitter-sweetly write about how I spent seven enriching months of this MBA year. For incoming cohorts, I would highly recommend future students to seriously consider taking part in this amazing opportunity. Capitalism is evolving – today’s “buzz” of social innovation and sustainability are tomorrow’s indispensable business pillars.
The Turner MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT) is an experiential lab designed to give students at business and graduate schools a hands-on education in impact investing.
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