Career Guide Full Screen
Impact Investing Career Guide
Advice, Career Paths, and Interview Preparation
Understand Your Options
As an undergraduate coming out of college or a young professional coming out of grad school, there are many paths you can take to become an impact investment professional. Not all areas within impact investing need a prior investment banking or corporate finance background.
Think about what interests you- whether it is a specific environmental or social area in need, or a skill set you have. Exploring a specialized area of expertise will help when trying to identify what role you want to have in the industry.
Build Your Networks
Network with as many as people as possible- but do it strategically. Figure out what you are specifically interested in, why you are reaching out to this person in particular, and what you hope to gain by the conversation.
Don't know what role you want within impact investing?
Use these flowcharts to find the right career path for your skills and background- whether you have a finance background, or not.
Have a finance degree or coming from a financial background?
(If not, you can skip down to the non-financial background flowchart below.)
Don't have a finance degree? Don't worry.
Multidisciplinary approaches are becoming increasingly valuable in impact investing, as they ensure more diverse teams and more resilient solutions to the seemingly unsurmountable problems the field sets out to solve.
Match your skills
Skills employers are looking for in an analyst role - can you check them all off?
- Demonstrated excellence in quantitative and qualitative analysis
- Strong verbal and written communication skills
- Great interpersonal skills, ability to work effectively with team members and clients
- Relevant experience in investing, private equity, consulting, or financial services
- Highly motivated and ability to learn quickly
- Demonstrated interest in social impact or impact investing
- Proficiency in Excel:
Know how to:
- Calculate a net present value and discounted cash flow
- Perform pivot tables
- Utilize the VLOOKUP function
- Read a balance sheet and name the assets and liabilities
Prepare for your interview
Impact investing interview sample questions
How do you demonstrate a commitment to social and environmental change in your own life?
- Put your money where your mouth is
- Tie it into the company's mission
Tell me about a time you overcame a significant challenge on the job.
- Show problem solving skills
- Demonstrate leadership
When you are stuck on a project, what is your go-to response?
- Show resourcefulness and communication skills
- Be creative
Are you comfortable learning new skills?
In a growing-but still small-field like impact investing, you will get the chance to try your hand in various areas.
- Demonstrate a willingness and ability to learn new skills
- Show that you are capable of joining what may be a small team and pulling your weight
Are you comfortable managing more than one project at once? What would be your strategy to do this?
- Show you have a can-do attitude and that you can be held accountable for your projects
- Demonstrate good time management skills
Graduate Schools that offer courses in Impact Investing
Columbia University Business School
Queen's University Smith School of Business
Cornell University Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business
UC Berkeley Haas Institute for Business and Social Impact
Duisenberg School of Finance
University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Duke University Fuqua School of Business
University of Chicago Booth School of Business Social Enterprise Initiative
Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
University of Michigan Ross School of Business Center for Social Impact
Harvard Business School
University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy
Heidelberg University for Social Investment
University of Oxford Said Business School
University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler School of Business
John Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies
University of Pennsylvania Wharton School
Middlebury Institute for International Studies
University of St. Andrews Centre for Responsible Banking and Finance
MIT Sloan School of Business
University of Texas Austin Mccombs School of Business
Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
University of Utah, Sorenson Impact Center
NYU Stern School of Business and Wagner School of Public Service
University of Virginia Darden School of Business
Presidio Graduate School
Yale School of Management, Center for Social Enterprise