Journey Through Impact Investing: My MIINT Experience

Mariam Malidze, MSF’24  

 I am excited to share my journey through the Turner MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT), a program co-produced by Bridges Impact Foundation and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. MIINT was an incredible opportunity for me to gain hands-on experience and dive into the intricate world of impact investing. 

Embarking on a New Adventure 

Our journey in the MIINT competition began when five diverse minds—each from a unique academic and professional background—came together  with a shared goal: to explore the world of impact investing. Together with the amazing team: Kimberly Meehan (MBA ’25), Clint McHenry (MBA ’25), Margarita Orlova (PhD’ 27), and Ishan Basu Ray (MPH’25), and under the guidance of our campus leader, Parker Wilmon, we embarked on a mission to find a startup that was not just profitable but also made a significant social or environmental impact. Our team’s varied perspectives, ranging from mechanical engineering to health to finance and architecture, enriched my experience, making every step of the process a learning opportunity. 

The Challenge of Choice  

One of the challenges in the competition was the initial stage of selecting a startup to invest in. With an overwhelming array of options, each presenting compelling social or environmental missions, narrowing our focus was daunting. Our turning point came through a networking event where we were introduced to Cloud Apartments. This company intrigued us with its innovative approach to modular housing aimed at changing the urban housing landscape. From there, we dived deep into understanding its business and ensured it met the competition’s criteria, setting the stage for an intensive learning and preparation phase. 

Learning Through Experience 

The world of impact investing was a new territory for me. The process of due diligence and impact assessment, supported by MIINT’s comprehensive online modules, was both challenging and educational. Preparing a pitch for Cloud Apartments was a standout lesson; it involved crafting a story that connects a social issue with the startup’s solution, emphasizing that financial returns and social impact can indeed go hand in hand. This experience also gave us insights into what investors look for in potential opportunities and how impact can coexist harmoniously with profits. 

In addition, working with a team as varied as ours was incredibly enriching for me. Each member brought a unique perspective, which enhanced our approach to analyzing and presenting our chosen startup. The support from last year’s Owen team and ongoing guidance from Prof. Avila were invaluable, providing us with the insights and encouragement needed to navigate this complex field. 

The Competition and Beyond 

The pinnacle of our MIINT journey was undoubtedly the times spent with my team, especially during our trips to Chicago and Philadelphia. In Chicago, we connected with Owen alums involved in the startup scene in various capacities, absorbing invaluable insights from their experiences. These interactions not only enriched our understanding of venture capital investing but also our team cohesion. Another significant highlight was, of course, participating in the final competition at Wharton, where we encountered numerous bright minds from across the U.S. and beyond. Presenting our pitch and hearing a variety of innovative solutions to societal challenges at the competition from the talented teams representing different countries was incredibly inspiring, reinforcing my belief in the crucial role of business in driving social change. 

Looking Forward 

Reflecting on my MIINT experience, the journey was very rewarding. The skills, insights and relationships gained through the several months will inform my future endeavors in finance and beyond. For those curious about impact investing or seeking a platform to combine finance with positive change, I encourage you to seize this opportunity and join the MIINT team for 2025.