A seven-strong group represented Cranfield at a sustainability conference, bringing together MBA and MSc participants from business schools across Europe. Supported by the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility and alumni funding, full-time MBA student and team member Sarah Hatcher reflects on an “inspiring” couple of days.

“The DGDW [Doing Good Doing Well] 2016 conference at IESE in Barcelona was a truly inspiring two days away from our Cranfield ‘bubble’. Held in the beautiful city of Barcelona, the campus is majestic in presence and is set elevated above the north-east of the city with panoramic views that encapsulate all of Barcelona’s famous sites. The presenters and participants who came together for one cause sparked insightful debate, and the content was perfect in motivating commercially driven MBA students into “Doing Good and Doing Well”.

“As an ex-City worker, the key message for me from the conference was “Impact Investing”. For those who haven’t come across this, it combines the skill and analysis of investment management with the core value of investing in causes that have a positive impact on society. These causes are not charitable by nature, but deliver high returns and respectable investment choices. Michele Giddens from Bridges Investments kicked off by showcasing a handful of portfolio assets. Bridges invests in Warby Parker a fascinating start up that sells optical glasses online for $95 per pair, for every pair sold the company gives a pair of glasses to individuals in need. A lively panel with Michele, Jaime Calonje from European Investment Funds and Tom Kagerer from LGT Venture Philanthropy discussed how impact investing can work from a diversified fund of funds approach along with the operational structures of such a portfolio.

“The post conference networking in the beautiful conservatory overlooking the whole City proved that the MBAs and MSc participants from all over Europe who attended are driven to contribute further than just to a commercial bottom line, and they feel a passion to give back. Leaving IESE and Barcelona, I feel motivated and inspired that commercial employment doesn’t have to just be 8-6 desk based, corporate values can be flexible, can inspire you and can contribute to making a different.”

Sarah was joined by Alok Kumar, Stalo Kakouilli, Holly O’Connell, Claire Dyason and Diane Chan.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.