Students at Haas School of Business are being given the opportunity to apply their understanding of corporate social responsibility to real investment decisions.
The school at the University of California, Berkeley is to establish a socially responsible investment fund which will be managed by the school’s MBA students and MFE (Masters in Financial Engineering) students. Advice will be on hand in the shape of an investment advisory committee and a Haas school faculty advisory committee.
“We expect this experience to train students for careers in socially responsible investing,” says Kellie McElhaney, executive director of the school’s Center for Responsible Business.
“But we also hope that our students will take their new-found skills to traditional Wall Street firms and raise awareness about social responsibility issues from inside the companies.”
The fund has been established thanks to a $250,000 gift from Haas alumnus Charlie Michaels and his wife. Students will begin investing when the fund reaches $500,000, a goal which Prof McElhaney anticipates reaching in a few months time.
Students managing the fund will be required to take a new elective on socially responsible investing techniques which Haas is offering for the first time this term. The student investors will assume the roles of fund managers and portfolio analysts and will be expected to determine socially responsible investment critieria, focusing on those companies where sustainablity forms a core part of their business strategies, practices and investments.
Haas’s Center for Responsible Business will use investment data gathered from the fund to help understand how well socially responsible investment funds can perform.