Aug 17, 2015

Private Sector Investments for a Better World

By Bernhard Marschitz T'16

Bernhard earned an MA degree with the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 2010. *This post originally appeared on the Tuck Center for Business and Society blog.

While my four years in consulting were no doubt enjoyable (and also turned me into somewhat of an Excel and PowerPoint Ninja), I wanted to experience something completely different during my summer internship. Ideally my MBA internship would expose me to private equity in emerging markets, have a positive impact on peoples’ lives, allow time for personal commitments and provide enough income to pay for monthly expenses. Based on these lofty aspirations, I realized that my job search would have to focus off the beaten path and most likely not conclude until late into the first year of my MBA program. After countless informational interviews with extremely helpful Tuck and SAIS alumni over the course of many months, I was fortunate enough to earn a position with the International Finance Corporation’s Fintech team in Washington D.C. by April, supported by funds from Tuck GIVES. The IFC’s Fintech team is one of the largest investors in financial technology companies in emerging and developing markets. Since 2010, the group has invested $180M in equity and debt in early- and growth-stage Fintech companies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Two months into the internship, I can already say that my experience at the IFC has not only met all my requirements, but exceeded them. My daily work with the Fintech team allows me to get invaluable insights into the IFC’s culture and its unique investment approach. Because my summer internship at the IFC is less structured than a typical MBA internship, it allows for flexibility and unique learning experiences. Over the last few weeks I have been able to assess potential new investments in Latin America and help the team exit a portfolio company. More importantly, I feel like a full-time team member whose voice and suggestions are heard and appreciated. In addition, having a tight group of T’16s in DC and living together with one of them makes for some great experiences and somewhat eases the hard separation from my wife and child.

Overall, I am very happy that I pursued this path for my MBA internship, and did not end up compromising my initial requirements in order to shorten the search process. Although I am looking forward to going back to management consulting for many years to come, I am delighted to have had this experience and found another field of work that I am extremely passionate about.