Internships with Impact


By Rachel Fus, Communications Manager

Published 6.19.13


Although the academic year may have drawn to a close, students at Presidio are hardly taking the summer off.  According to Mitchell Friedman, the associate dean of career development and student affairs, more than 20 students will be participating in one or more internships between the spring and fall semesters.

“Internships are a great opportunity to gain practical experience, apply what you’re learning in class, identify job career options, and build industry contact,” said Mitchell.

Funding by Betsy & Jesse Fink Foundation

Three Presidio internships will be funded through the Betsy and Jesse Fink Family Foundation Internship Program

This foundation was started over 10 years ago to help fund innovative solutions to our biggest environmental and climate challenges. During the Fink family’s time in Colorado they got to know Presidio President and CEO William Shutkin, and through him they learned more about Presidio.

“We are excited to see a new generation of young people with a passion for sustainability use their collective brainpower to think about how capital and financial markets with an impact focus can help scale up some of the solutions to environmental challenges,” said Adam Rein, a Principal at MissionPoint Capital Partners and an advisor to the Fink Foundation.  “Our internship program is just the catalyst to help that process along.”

This is the second year the Fink Foundation will  sponsor internships in the field of impact investing for Presidio students. The program began in the summer of 2012 with five interns including Joshua Newman (PA2), who is the only MPA candidate to have ever been a Fink Foundation Internship Program participant.

Internship Morphs Into Full Time Position

“Throughout the MPA program, I became increasingly interested in solving macro economic problems, chief among them climate change, and I was trying to figure out what my preferred avenue was,” said Joshua. “My internship at Sonen Capital through Fink wasn’t what I thought I would be doing right out of school but I decided to give it a go; it turned out to be just the perfect spot to land.”

Joshua said he was so engrossed by the work that he started spending as much time as possible at Sonen Capital and quickly burned through his internship hours.

“I realized pretty quickly that there was a tremendous amount to absorb,” said Joshua.

The hard work paid off; shortly after the internship ended, Joshua was offered a full-time position at Sonen Capital as a Research Consultant.

“I’m not sure I would recommend this path for everyone,” said Joshua. “You need to be comfortable with a great amount of uncertainty and put in a lot of free hours for free, but the rewards are rich.”

Mr. Rein agreed; he said one of the reasons the Fink Foundation decided to renew the internship program was because some of last year’s participants were able to turn their experiences into longer-term commitments.

Meet the Summer 2013 Interns

This summer fewer internships are being offered, yet the placements will be full-time, something which appealed immediately to fall 2012 Fink Foundation Internship Program participant Sarah Vared (C13).

“Last fall I did an internship with New Island Capital focused on on-farm energy,” said Sarah. “I got a lot out of it, but because it was only 10 hours a week, it was a little more limited in scope.”

Sarah’s internship this summer, which will also be funded through the Fink Foundation Internship Program, will be a 40hour/week position with MissionPoint Capital Partners.

“Impact investing is very different from what my background has been in,” said Sarah. “That will be a great opportunity to test the waters before I dive in.”

Emma Allison (C17), another Summer 2013 Fink Foundation Internship Program participant said one of the main reasons she decided to apply for the position was because of the support she received during the application process.

“It was really nice not to just put my resume out there without a connection,” said Emma. “Mitchell was also able to put me in touch with the people who did the internships last summer. It was great to hear about the experience first hand from another Presidian.”

Emma will be working with Impact Assets, a nonprofit financial services company creating environmental and social impact through investment.

“This will be my first opportunity working directly with impact investing,” said Emma, whose background is in investment software. “I am excited to do something that creates value and leverages my skill set.”

Moving Forward

Despite the opportunities the Fink Foundation Internship Program has offered for Presidio students, Mr. Rein says he envisions a time when such programs won’t exist.

“We hope that one day these financial firms and Presidio Graduate School will be so closely linked that their will be no need for programs like ours,” said Mr. Rein.

The Fink interns agree that the future for impact investing is bright.

“The field has been growing in the last few years with movement from clean tech finance, which is more main stream, to cutting edge financial mechanisms,” said Sarah.

“The future is brighter and brighter for the industry and there are a lot of ways to get involved either directly or tangentially,” said Joshua. “The opportunities are out there, it just takes some patience.”

**This article was originally printed in the Spring/Summer 2013 edition of Presidian. Read more.

Rachel Fus, Communications Manager

Rachel Fus is the Communications Manager at Presidio Graduate School. She’s sad that she is no longer able to eat gluten, but it’s okay because she gets to eat cheese.

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