Before students leave the Smith School and College Park for
the summer CSVC sat down with MBA student Adam Coile to learn
about how he spent his first year in Smith’s Full Time MBA
program and how he plans to spend the summer.
CSVC: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me
today. Can you tell me about your professional work before Smith
and what you hope to pursue when you graduate from the MBA
Adam: I have my undergraduate degree from
American University in business and knew that I wanted to pursue
an MBA eventually. During undergrad I focused on finance and
interned at two investment firms, Glenmede Trust Company and
Mission Capital LLC. After I graduated I worked as an Analyst
for Himmelfarb Commercial, a small real estate investment and
development firm. I worked directly with the owner to analyze
new acquisitions and perform due diligence on possible
investments. I also managed all of our properties, construction
and development and handled all internal finances. It was a
great experience to evaluate our tenants’ companies and gave me
a useful skill set, but in the end I wasn’t passionate about
When I came back to school I was unsure of exactly what I
wanted to do. I had thought about renewable energy because I had
exposure to it at my pervious company but I had always been
interested in impact investing. I had originally thought you had
to choose between a business career or a non-profit career.
Living in the Washington, DC area I found out that I could do
both and started seeing companies like Grassroots Business Fund,
Calvert Foundation and TechnoServe that work in both worlds.
After I came to Smith I realized that I love investing and that
I am good at it and want to apply this skillset to social
impact. This is what led me to impact investing.
CSVC: It sounds like you have some great work
experience that you bring to the Smith community. What are your
plans for the summer?
Adam: This summer I will be working for
MicroVest Capital Management. I will be working specifically on
their portfolio of investments in microfinance institutions in
30 countries. I will be working with each of their regional
divisions to conduct due diligence on new investments and will
also be involved with creating a risk portfolio for different
investments. The part that I am most excited about is that I
will be involved in developing a social measurement tool. This
will be a learning experience for me and a great opportunity to
have a long-term impact on the company and field.
CSVC: What made you choose to get your MBA at Smith?
Adam: I knew that I wanted to stay in the
Washington, DC metro region for school so Smith was a great
option. Additionally, the resources at the Dingman Center and
CSVC really made Smith stand out and demonstrated that there
were resources on campus for students with similar interests to
myself. This, along with attending the Social Enterprise
Symposium before I enrolled and reaching out to current
students, convinced me that Smith was the ideal place for me.
CSVC: Since beginning the Full Time MBA program in
the fall of 2011 what have you most enjoyed getting involved
with outside of the classroom?
Adam: I just recently became one of two
Portfolio Managers for the Mayer Fund, Smith’s $2.6 million
student-run equity investment fund. As a co-manager my job is to
manage 10 student analysts who will follow different sectors
throughout the year and manage the performance of the fund. My
job is to continuously evaluate risk, review sector ratings,
follow the markets and know what is going on at all times to
understand how it may impact our investments.
In addition to the Mayer Fund, I am the Vice President of
Marketing for Smith’s Net Impact Chapter, which has been a great
new skill to add to my finance background. Being immersed in the
culture of students that want to use business to have
environmental and social impact has been inspiring and is great
energy to feed off of.
I am also a volunteer business analyst with Vort Port
International, which is a technology incubator founded by a
group of engineers that builds technologies for implementation
in developing countries. They are currently working on solar
lamp technology in India, biodigesters in Madagascar and the
project I am working on, bamboo bikes in Uganda. I came on this
year to help develop a business model and plan to launch this
technology in Uganda with the aim of creating a local
sustainable business that takes full ownership.
CSVC: You seem to be on the cutting edge of the
impact investing field. How did you decide that this is where
you wanted to transition your career and become an expert and do
you have any advice for students looking to break into a new
Adam: I am an avid reader and take advantage
of every moment I can to read blogs, newspapers and books. When
I realized that I wanted to move into the impact investing field
I began reading biographies and books by the leaders in the
field. I wanted to understand their career paths to help me
better shape my own. For example, the weekend after attending
the Emerging Markets Forum put on by CSVC and CIBER I read the
Social Entrepreneurs Handbook by Rupert Scofield, the founder of
FINCA and keynote speaker at the at forum. Seeing his path and
the impact of his career reinforced my choice in shifting my
career path and focusing on social impact. Being in the DC area,
a hub for social entrepreneurship, and gaining access to the
organizations and professionals focused on using their careers
for good has been inspiring and I would highly recommend
students take advantage of those resources. In the end I think I
have been successful so far by identifying my skill set and
leveraging that into a field that I am passionate about and
where I can directly apply these skills.
CSVC: You started to talk about all the things you
love to read. Can you give us your daily “must read” list?
CSVC: When you’re not reading, doing school work or
any of the other things you are involved in (if you have the
time!) what are your hobbies or interests?
Adam: I love being outdoors, traveling and
running. My passion for the outdoors has directly impacted by
professional interests, where I see impact investing as a tool
to protect the environment. I try to run or ride my bike every
day and I have completed multiple ultramarathons and mountain
CSVC: Thanks so much for speaking with us today Adam.
Good luck on your summer internship and keep us posted on how it