Students from UCLA Anderson School of Management, Dartmouth Tuck School of Business, and Chicago Booth School of Business claimed victory at the tenth annual Turner MIINT (MBA Impact Investing Network & Training) competition on Friday, April 9 — securing a total of $100,000 in impact investments for three real-world companies they sourced, conducted due diligence on, and presented.
A collaboration between Bridges Impact Foundation and Wharton Social Impact, the Turner MIINT is a year-long experiential learning program designed to give students at business and graduate schools around the world a hands-on education in impact investing. Students learn about integrating social and environmental impact into the investment process as they source and evaluate seed-stage impact investments.
The program culminates with a high-stakes competition, an event that students look forward to all year long. Though students typically travel to Wharton’s Philadelphia campus to compete in the semifinals and the final competition, the Turner MIINT competition was conducted virtually for the second year in a row. But that didn’t diminish students’ passion and enthusiasm for the program.
“I have been blown away by the constant positivity and commitment throughout our entire team, even through some intense adversity,” said Charlie Cook, a Turner MIINT participant from Boston University. Members from the University of Virginia Turner MIINT team added, “It’s easy to stay positive when you’re working to benefit a company creating great impact on the world.”
Demand for this experiential education in impact investing continues to increase. More than 500 students from 38 graduate programs across the globe enrolled in this year’s academic program, making it the largest cohort to date. Over 165 students joined the Investment Committee competition from Los Angeles to London to Singapore.
“Impact investing has never been more important to society. We have to recognize that we need to educate the next generation of investors on how to be great impact investors,” said Bobby Turner, CEO of Turner Impact Capital and Turner MIINT steering committee member. “Impact investing is the perfect intersection between profits and purpose and the MIINT is truly the preeminent competition in the world that enables our students to get exposure to the essential tools to being a great impact investor upon graduation.”
Katherine Klein, vice dean at the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, added, “What struck me as an educator was seeing the incredible learning opportunity for these students. They’re working in teams, evaluating the financial potential of early-stage startups, talking with management, assessing impact, presenting their findings — it is a multifaceted, incredibly rich learning opportunity.”
Yuri Seung and Adwoa Asare from Wharton Social Impact and Bridges Impact Foundation respectively run the Turner MIINT program operations. Aside from planning the massive competition, they’ve spent the last six months putting together the program curriculum, leading networking events, organizing webinars, and more.
During the semifinals of the Turner MIINT competition, 35 student teams presented their diligence on an impact startup that they had sourced to one of seven semifinal Investment Committees, composed of over 35 experienced impact investors. Seven teams were selected to continue to the final competition, where they presented to a prestigious panel of impact investors and entrepreneurs. The winning team earned the Moelis Family Prize and, with it, a potential investment of $50,000 for the impact startup they presented. Two teams took runner-up awards and a potential investment of $25,000 each.*
The judges for the 2021 Turner MIINT finals were Michele Giddens, co-founder and co-CEO at Bridges Fund Management; Lisa Hall, impact chairperson at Apollo Global Management; Eduardo Medeiros, president of 11 1/2 Holdings; Maddy Moelis, co-founder & board member at Great Jones; Sarah Morgenstern, venture partner at Flourish; Tasha Seitz, partner at Impact Engine; and Brian Walsh, head of impact at LiquidNet. Title sponsorship for the program comes from the Lauren and Bobby Turner MIINT Fund. LiquidNet was the principal sponsor of the 10th Anniversary Turner MIINT, having been a philanthropic supporter of the program and investor in the MIINT winners through its Donor Advised Fund at Impact Assets since 2015.
Implementing a best practice from last year’s competition, schools remained anonymous through all rounds of presentation and judging. “We added this dimension to remove the potential for unconscious bias that might be associated with a school name. It was very successful and also added an element of suspense and excitement to the virtual competition that we did not anticipate,” said Adwoa Asare, program manager of the Turner MIINT.
Winning Teams and Finalists
UCLA Anderson School of Management
Once the judges made their decision, the anonymity of the schools was lifted. The winner of the 2021 competition and the inaugural Moelis Family Prize was a team from UCLA Anderson School of Management. The students, Christy Tsui, Emily Dinino, Katie Quilligan, Lucy Maybank, and Morgan Owens, presented InScribe, an AI-powered app that provides community support and on-demand resources for college students. Their win gives InScribe the opportunity to receive a $50,000 investment from the MIINT’s donor-advised fund at Impact Assets.*
Dartmouth Tuck School of Business
One runner-up team was from Dartmouth Tuck School of Business. Alex Krass, Ayokunle Adare, Emily Bergan, Eva Greene, and Lulu Carter presented Golden Leaf Energy, a company committed to reducing carbon emissions through an innovative insulation material. The Tuck School’s finish gives Golden Leaf Energy the opportunity to receive a $25,000 investment from the MIINT’s donor-advised fund at Impact Assets.*
University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Finally, the other runner-up team was from Chicago Booth School of Business. The students, Chap Michie, Isabel Rodriguez, Jahnvi Vaidya, Sneha Kasuganti, and Tiana Pidgeon, presented Harvest Thermal, a heating, hot water, and cooling system that dramatically reduces carbon emissions. Their win gives Harvest Thermal the opportunity to receive a $25,000 investment from the MIINT’s donor-advised fund at Impact Assets.*
Teams from Emory University, London School of Economics, INSEAD, and Oxford University were also selected as finalists. A team from University of Southern California Marshall School of Business won the award for “Best Diligence.” This award can go to any Turner MIINT team (not just finalists) and it celebrates a team that executed a strong and researched diligence process, whether or not their company was recommended for investment.
This year, judges noticed that a significant number of presentations highlighted ed-tech and environmental sustainability companies. Judges deliberated for over an hour as they looked for a number of factors in choosing winners — a compelling and scalable impact proposition, rigorous diligence, and a demonstrated potential for strong financial returns.
“The quality of the presentations this year was exceptional,” noted Brian Trelstad from Bridges Fund Management. “Students had done a lot of diligence, beyond just talking with the companies’ management teams, but speaking with customers, experts, and others to truly understand the investments’ commercial opportunity and potential for impact.”
*Note: all investments into winning companies are pending further diligence by Impact Assets.
Reflecting on the Competition
Here’s what some student participants had to say about the experiential learning opportunity of the Turner MIINT:
Alex Krass from Dartmouth Tuck School of Business: “This year’s competition allowed us to engage with each other and with diverse entrepreneurs from around the world, even during this COVID environment. We highly recommend this [program] for future MBAs.”
Victoria Sansone from the Wharton School: “It was extremely helpful learning how to write an investment memo. I loved being able to apply what I’ve learned in my business and finance classes to the real world and to a company I was truly passionate about.”
Isabel Rodríguez García from Chicago Booth: “This year’s virtual Turner MIINT competition was awesome because we managed to talk to a lot of people all around the U.S. from the comfort of our homes.”
Lucy Maybank from UCLA Anderson: “Our favorite parts of the competition were being able to work together as a team and represent a company that we know will have a positive impact.”
The student team from Yale: “Our team has most appreciated three key aspects of this experience: (1) the opportunity to get a robust, panoramic view of the impact investing process and build our impact investing skills, (2) the chance to meet and work with one another, and (3) the experience of working with a phenomenal company that we truly believe in, and being able to advocate for that company in a meaningful way.”
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended solely to provide information on an educational program — the Turner MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT) program — at the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. Neither the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Bridges Impact Foundation, nor the Turner MIINT’s sponsors provide any endorsement, either implied or explicit, in companies that participate with Turner MIINT.
For more information on the program, its process, or participating schools and judges, visit themiint.org.
— Nisa Nejadi
Posted: April 28, 2021