Impact Finance Lab at Oxford Saïd: leveraging capital to create impact

3 minute read

The University of Oxford's Saïd Business School is a forerunner in integrating social impact education into the business school curriculum. Oxford Saïd delivers an Impact Finance Lab in addition to more conventional programmes for skill development such as the Finance Lab, Consulting Development Program (CDP), and Asset Management Masterclass. The two-day Impact Investing boot camp that takes place as part of this lab introduces participants to impact investing. Its curriculum is arranged in a way that both beginners and experts can benefit from it.

I joined Aunnie Patton Power at the impact investing boot camp over the weekend of 5-6 November 2022. Aunnie is an accomplished expert in impact investing. She has more than ten years of expertise in the fields of academia, writing, consulting and angel investing. She also founded Impact Finance Pro, a comprehensive impact jobs platform that connects professionals with job opportunities, tools, and training materials as well as with networking opportunities and mentoring. She was kind enough to invite some MBAs with a background in impact investing to attend a mixer event with senior industry professionals. I got the opportunity to learn from senior investment professionals from Gavi- the Vaccine Alliance, P&G's social investment division, as well as a start-up entrepreneur who also oversees her family's estate in order to achieve greater social impact. 

About 60 MBA, MSc in Law and Finance, and Msc in Financial Economics students were introduced to the fundamentals of investment, impact, and the two topics combined on day 1 of the boot camp. We discussed impact definitions, how it is viewed in various circumstances, and debates over how to interpret it. Edward Yee, a Rhodes scholar who manages a fund that provides scalable catalytic concessionary capital to underutilised South Asian social entrepreneurs, was also introduced to us by Aunnie. He is also an expert in impact measurement and management (IMM). Edward talked to us about IMM frameworks and the confusing terminology associated with them. He also demonstrated how he personally measures impact and how Limited Partners (LPs) react to this methodology.


Aunnie spoke with us about careers in impact investing toward the end of the day. We talked about the most recent developments and the more specialised skills needed for employment in this field. The conversation grew more complex on day 2. We talked about several fund formats, blended finance's prospects and challenges, as well as the biggest players in the market. I found day 2 of the boot camp to be especially helpful. I had experience working with an impact investor in my home country, so I could relate to many examples and thematic discussions. In order to fully comprehend the end-to-end investment process, we also simulated an investment cycle.

This was a fantastic weekend that several of my friends spent touring the lovely city of Oxford. For others like me, it was an intensive 2-day boot camp that took us on a different kind of academic tour - one that I enjoyed thoroughly.