Business Students Keen To Change World

You might think young M.B.A. students and graduates would primarily want to land high-paying jobs. However, a growing number of students seem keener to learn how to change the world through business.

Among those who are at the vanguard of this initiative are students at Columbia Business School in New York. They founded Microlumbia, an impact investment fund, which measures its success by the yardstick of social benefit, not just financial return,

Katie Leonberger co-founded Microlumbia with David Del Ser Bartolome 10 years ago as M.B.A. students at Columbia.

44We were young

A decade later, Leonberger is chair of Microlumbia's board and president and chief executive of a nonprofit consulting firm. She says Microlumbia focused on investing in microfinance organizations at first, but over the years it has extended its investment portfolio.

Jesús Salas, a 28-year-old second-year MBA student at Columbia, is currently co-president at Microlumbia.

He says Microlumbia's typical investments are $20,000 to $25,000 with an interest rate of 5 percent to 15 percent. Current investments include microfinance organizations in Uganda and Zimbabwe.

74the most rewarding thing75You are in this cauldron of learning at business school

Others are also trying to provide business students practical impact investing experience.

Six years ago, the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, part of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, collaborated with Bridges Fund Management to start a contest for business students.