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Impact Investing Career Guide

Advice, Career Paths, and Interview Preparation

Advice

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.

Get Specific

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.

Career Paths

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

Insead

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