Impact Interns: Let’s Meet Our Interns

Although this summer was filled with unprecedented changes and unique challenges, one thing was certain: our interns were up to the task. Working alongside our research team, our interns were an integral part of our adjustment to remote work. But enough about us, let’s meet the interns!

Saba Alemnew — Summer Associate

Bio:

Saba is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business with a focus on finance, strategy, and emerging markets. She has a background in healthcare consulting and investment advisory experience in Ethiopia. She is actively engaged in the investment community at her university as an Investment Associate at the University of Michigan’s International Investment Fund focused on SMEs in emerging markets. Saba holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a minor in Communications from the University of California, Davis.

Why did you want to transition careers/why did you choose your MBA?

While working in Ethiopia, I gained exposure to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem specifically the challenges entrepreneurs faced gaining access to financing. Often, commercial loans from banks were difficult to obtain so the options were to bootstrap the business, which isn’t feasible for most people, or begin raising capital from outside the country. I saw first-hand how impactful capital access was these businesses as it allowed them to scale. I knew I wanted to be a part of that movement and getting an MBA would allow me to round out my skill set, preparing me to be a more effective investment professional in the future.

What interested you about Flat World Partners?

I was interested in Flat World Partners because of its broad coverage within impact investing. The firm covers both public and private markets all over the world as well as a broad range of impact themes. I knew this would give me a comprehensive look at impact investing as a whole.

What are one or two highlights from your experience thus far?

A major highlight of my experience was working on projects related to emerging markets, specifically landscaping private equity and venture capital opportunities across Africa. I am very interested in working within the African investment ecosystem after graduate school, so speaking with fund managers across Africa was very insightful and helped shaped my understanding of the investment landscape.

What do you think is the future for impact investing?

Because of COVID-19, our work environment is now virtual and many investment firms can conduct operations across multiple markets much easier. For example, instead of weekly flights for meetings, many of those can be done virtually. I think this will fundamentally change the world of impact investing as more firms may be more comfortable conducting operations remotely making them more open to investing in emerging markets like Africa, South East Asia, and Latin America as they can have some local presence but still manage a good portion of operations from headquarters.

Meghan Fitzpatrick — Summer Associate

Bio:

Meg is currently an MBA candidate at The University of Oxford focusing on finance and private market investing as a member of the Oxford Finance Lab. She is co-chair of the Entrepreneurship Oxford Business Network where she interfaces with Oxford-affiliated entrepreneurs. Her background is in business book writing; she has ghostwritten twelve books for CEOs and executives across various industries focusing on business process management, customer experience, and virtual transformation to name a few. She co-founded a medical device small business that manufactures clothing that provides best-in-class scar therapy for patients who have undergone mastectomies and other breast surgeries.

Why did you want to transition careers/why did you choose your MBA?

I found through my book writing career that I loved researching and interviewing stakeholders to understand the inner workings of a business. I felt that through an MBA, I could improve and expand my skill set to better dive into what makes a business successful or unsuccessful. My past in due diligence is a great precursor to investment and I will transition into private market investing after I graduate. I chose Oxford because of its reputation for being on the cutting edge of impact. I believe impact is the future of investing and wanted to study how impact intersects with private markets and emerging markets.

What interested you about Flat World Partners?

FWP was interesting to me because it is a thought-leader in the impact investing world. It also knows that when it comes to progress, ‘better’ is more important than ‘perfect’; that is the exact type of thinking that I believe most effectively evolves nascent industries such as this. I also loved that it was a small firm and therefore I could support the team members across the entire due diligence process. Lastly, and most importantly, FWP is female-founded and led and it is inspiring to be able to work with a team that looks like the future.

What are one or two highlights from your experience thus far?

My favorite experience thus far has been interviewing team-members of and writing an investment memo for a large education fund. This experience was educational because I got to see how a real investment memo flowed but it was also rewarding in the sense that my book-writing background prepared me to feel competent doing the work that was required of me.

What do you think is the future for impact investing?

I believe that all investing will eventually become what we consider today to be “impact investing”. All companies, public and private, will maintain some sort of impact imperative, but more importantly, they will be required to cut out any practice that results in negative externalities. Measuring and reporting standards will converge and become standardized across the board, but it will take a trial and error period (like we are in now) to gauge what framework will do the most good.

Jack Shane — Summer Analyst

Bio:

Jack is currently a sophomore at Bowdoin College where he is double majoring in Economics and Math. He is very interested in emerging markets and environmental economics. On campus, he is a member of the Bowdoin Finance Society, an Economics and Math tutor, and an editor for the campus satire magazine, the Bowdoin Harpoon. After undergrad, he hopes to continue helping people by either entering impact investing or going to graduate school to become a professor.

What interested you about Flat World Partners?

I was interested in FWP because it merged two of my passions, having a positive impact on the world and economics, into one experience. FWP allowed me to gain financial experience in an environment where I was supported and could feel proud of the work I was doing. Furthermore, FWP’s mission to deliver market-rate returns while delivering impact perfectly aligns with my own belief that impact is not only socially beneficial but financially too.

What are one or two highlights from your time thus far?

My favorite experience thus far has been working on an emerging market sustainable energy fund. This experience not only exposed me to the process by which an investment memo is produced, but it also showed me that making a positive impact does not require lower returns. I also am so thankful for how helpful and friendly all of my teammates were throughout my time at FWP.

What do you think the future for impact investing is?

I believe that impact investing, especially in the wake of COVID-19 and social movements like Black Lives Matter, will have massive tailwinds. Those companies that strive to actively make a positive social change will benefit greatly from increased social oversight. I also believe that current trends and companies like FWP are breaking down the stereotype that impact investing requires concession on returns. I believe soon the market will care about social profit as well as financial profit.

Jared Foxhall — Summer Analyst

Bio:

Jared is a rising Junior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME studying comparative government and history. He has experience as a venture capital investment analyst at SOSV, a $700m AUM global VC, in Shanghai doing tech-startup sourcing and vetting. Jared currently works in the social sector as a business development strategist for an educational nonprofit, New Era Creative Space, in his hometown of Peekskill, NY. He aspires to combine his interests in growth capital and social impact in his future career and is eager to gain exposure to private equity impact investing through FWP.

What interested you about Flat World Partners?

I was interested in the way FWP’s approach to impact investing is very much so about market-rate opportunities for clients. I think that there is a tendency in financial services to think of investing for impact returns as strictly concessionary. FWP takes a sophisticated approach and brings forward best-in-class assets. This kind of intentionality and rigor has the potential to really change the outlook of social impact investing in the culture of finance to rally more assets that make for positive social outcomes.

What are one or two highlights from your time thus far?

My first highlight in this experience is how the team goes above and beyond to help advance interns professionally while providing such deep industry exposure. It is unusual for rising juniors to have this kind of access, especially being able to meet so many managers from all over the world. I also greatly enjoyed working on a direct deal with a Brazilian food-tech startup, helping with the due diligence and the writing of the memorandum.

What do you think the future for impact investing is?

I am confident that Impact Investing is going to take over and change the culture of finance. Trillions of dollars are expected to enter the space in the next few years — with that kind of shift, you will see opportunities for new kinds of professional and financial services as well as impact compliance frameworks getting better and better at holding capital accountable. Once those flood gates for transparency and intentionality open up, there’s no going back.

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