As we cut the cake on ten years of the Oxford Impact Investing Programme, we reflect on the programme’s journey, its alumni community and the future prospects.
For the past ten years, the Oxford Impact Investing Programme (OIIP) has been building a cohort of talented professionals that are playing pioneering and leadership roles in advancing deals and field building efforts to deliver positive financial, social and environmental returns.
In 2013, OIIP was the first global impact investing executive education programme in the world. Around that time, the Global Impact Investing Network estimated $4 billion was invested in the emerging impact investing market - today, the total market size is $1.164 trillion. The faculty at Saïd Business School saw this potential, and in typical Oxford fashion, pushed boundaries to launch a programme in a relatively new area of finance.
That first five-day programme was launched in thanks to the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, with Debra Schwartz and the MacArthur Foundation generously providing scholarships to ensure that non-profit organisations could also attend the programme.
At the helm and directing the programme for the past ten years have been Associate Fellow Gayle Peterson and Professor of Social Entrepreneurship Alex Nicholls, witnessing nearly 1,000 students, from all over the world, take up the impact investing challenges before them and flourish. In Gayle’s words, ’Through our shared alumni stories, we witness today’s heroes - extraordinary and fearless. Their gifts of impact give us all hope that we can successfully address climate change and the world’s greatest problems.’
One of the programme’s first alumni was Fumi Sugeno, now head of business development at Japan Social Innovation and Investment Foundation. Reflecting on her experience, Fumi says: ’It has been ten years since Oxford, but I continue to use what I first learned on the programme. It is not necessarily technical knowledge per se, but about having a mindset that helps you to think about the long term in a broad, deep, and meaningful way.
‘Oxford Saïd gave me the springboard to follow my passion and professional path in this sector. It is a testament to the programme that I still communicate regularly with some of the faculty and fellow participants. There is a sense of belonging to a global community of leaders who are building this exciting financial sector.’
In addition to promising the academic rigour of Oxford Saïd, the OIIP faculty made a commitment to bringing experienced impact professionals into the classroom who have launched and led impact investing initiatives globally.