Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) instructor Eric Maltzer shares his experience teaching students finance and investing in the FMS Certificate Program. Eric is the Director for Impact Investments at Medora Ventures, one of the leading impact advisory firms in the country.
I still remember what I was thinking just before sunset last January 7th, the day before the FMS class started. I had rounded the bend in Highway 1 to see for the first time the city of Monterey, sparkling through the fog. I mouthed a silent "Wow," and whispered, "I don't think it gets better than this." Over the next two days, I had more fun than I'd ever had in a classroom as I taught the tenets of impact finance and learned how creative and engaged FMS students could be. But I was wrong in one respect. It did get better. I got to come back and teach a new (dare I say, even better?) cohort this year.
Middlebury's FMS program is one of the most exciting, targeted, and remarkable academic efforts I've ever experienced. The staff is hyper-organized. Yuwei and the administration are gracious, welcoming, and helpful. And the students are the most fearless, hopeful people I've ever met. I don't know how Middlebury attracts such brilliant, committed, creative thinkers, but the caliber of the student body makes my work incredibly fun.
This year I was able to bring to the class stories from my forthcoming book chapter, Investment for Impact: A simple primer on how money can serve values (Routledge 2019). I was able to explain in new ways how funds form, why finance is designed to be impenetrable, and how socially minded financiers can outperform in an incredibly competitive market.
Impact investment needs fewer good hearts and more skilled minds. The FMS program helps equip talented students with the specific skills they need to be successful in impact investing. I have already recommended several people from the class for jobs and internships in impact investing and I look forward to doing more of that in the weeks and months to come.
As I left Monterey this year, I felt more impressed than ever with the program. It's hard to imagine a cohort better than the one I taught this year, but then again, for a program on the move, FMS promises to be even better next year.