Yale School of Management

Jenn Burka ’21

MBAInternship: MBA Venture Intern, Equal Ventures; Perennial Fund Summer Associate, MAD Agriculture

  • Jenn Burka headshot
  • Person standing outside in front of Yale School of Management sign
    On the first day of class, fall 2019
  • With teammates after winning the Venture Capital Investment Regional Championship
  • group sitting together indoors
    With classmates during an annual ski trip to Killington, Vermont, before the COVID-19 pandemic
  • two friends outside in fall foliage
    On a trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire during fall 2019 break
  • Group of friends on a mountaintop
    With classmates during fall 2019 break in New Hampshire
  • At the summit of Mount Washington during fall 2019 break
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During my time working in the food sector, I kept coming up against the large macro-level problems facing our food systems, and I began to think a lot about the supply chain. It was clear that a strategic approach is key to making widespread change in the system; I want to a be a part of that change.

I needed a structured approach to learn about the systems and financial instruments that have shaped our current infrastructure. Yale SOM’s mission-driven approach to management and close relationship with the rest of the Yale community attracted me from the start. I wanted an MBA program with a rich tradition of graduates who were interested in more than just making money. I wanted to be at a place that attracted students who cared about the same things that I did.

I was impressed with just how much our core curriculum course frameworks were used in my internship. Industry analysis and other lessons from Microeconomics and Competitor were integral to the due diligence I performed. I also spent a good amount of time analyzing income statements, and the accounting skills and vocabulary I learned were critical to synthesizing reports.

During my second internship at Perennial Fund, I drew on behavioral lessons from Modeling Managerial Decisions to make a case for a more quantitative decision-making framework. I also called on lessons from elective classes, such as Private Capital and  Impact Investing, and from my experiences in investing case competitions to build out documents for potential investors. It was great to feel that I added significant value to the organizations I worked with this summer.

Taking part in the MBA Impact Investing Networking and Training competition helped me decide to pursue impact investing post-SOM. Not only did I learn the basics of what it means to be an impact investor; I also met likeminded students pursuing similar impact-driven careers. Leveraging the competition in my networking was invaluable for my recruiting efforts. Prominent investors were more than willing to talk to me about the companies I was sourcing and conducting due diligence on.

The competition also led me to join the founding team of Fishbowl Ventures, Yale SOM’s soon-to-launch impact fund that aims to provide students with more experiential opportunities in impact investing. I’ve been able to connect with so many fantastic alumni who are dedicated to enriching the investing community at Yale and to utilizing capital to change the world.

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