Professor Emeritus

Yuwei Shi
McCone Building M220A

Yuwei Shi is Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He was the founding dean of Middlebury’s Graduate School of International Policy and Management, and led the integration of its two predecessor schools in policy and business. He was also the founding director of the Frontier Market Scouts Program, an award winning education program in social entrepreneurship and impact investing. Yuwei is an expert in competitive strategy, early-stage venture business model development and venture performance evaluation. He has published over three dozen papers in peer-reviewed journals and a number of books and book chapters. He is an award winning teacher and researcher who has taught MBA and doctoral programs in nearly a dozen universities across the globe.

He had over a decade of experience building programs and companies as administrator at the Nanyang Business School and Middlebury, consultant to Andersen Consulting and Bain & Co, founder and executive at SFKX, PeerView, DeepK and Scholarly Exchange, and columnist for the China Economic Daily and other business media. His last non-academic job was Advising Partner at Indachin, a boutique venture capital firm, responsible for business model methodology to help grow the portfolio companies.

Yuwei earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Master of Comparative Law from the Dedmen School of Law at Southern Methodist University, and PhD in international management from University of Texas at Dallas School of Management.

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past two years.

  • Current term
  • Upcoming term(s)

In spring 2020, we will divide the semester into two parts: literature review and research design. During the first part, we will read and do critical literature review of the current scholarship on topics related to your specific research questions and develop research proposal and outline. Then we will move to social science research design training by working closely with Meta lab to learn skills on conducting field research, i.e. surveys, interviews, data collection and analysis. Right before the departure, we will also hold a session on inter-cultural competence training.

During the study trip ( May 20-June4), we will explore different development experiences in China – discovering the hidden China –beginning with an orientation in Shanghai, and then travel by train to nearby Anhui province. We will visit social enterprises in Shanghai, agribusiness started by Mao’s “sent-down youth” in Anhui, village-government tourism models in the ancient town of Hongcun (UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the artists’ commune in Bishan with its international film and music festivals, handicraft schools teaching urban students traditional skills, and farmers using wechat to sell organic vegetables. Through this practicum you will explore how China is developing in often unknown ways, as well as enjoying the beautiful mountains, ancient villages, and bamboo forests of Anhui province.

We will continue to work on analyzing the data we have collected during the practicum trip and completing the final deliverable under the supervision of Prof. Wei Liang and Prof. Yuwei Shi. Students will submit their final deliverable by the end of summer.

Spring 2020 - MIIS

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Impact Capital Stacks & Management Strategies

Eric Maltzer, Partner, Medora Ventures

As the growth of impact investing has accelerated in recent years, so have the capital structures of impact funds diversified. However, though the ecosystem of impact capital stacks is as varied as ever, not all are succeeding. In this module, we will talk about the shapes, sizes, and characteristics of impact capital stacks; we will learn to distinguish between the funds that succeed and the funds that struggle; as the discussion develops, we will address what cross-sector financial models have been tried already, what we can learn from them, and how we might continue to innovate in the coming years.

Spring 2020 - MIIS, MIIS Winter/J Term only

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Getting Real About Impact

Morgan Simon, Founding Partner, Candide Group

The objective is to teach students to be “conscious consumers” of the current practice of impact investment and social enterprise. What is it, and what are its advantages and pitfalls as a strategy for social change? What kinds of questions and practices will help maximize its potential? Combining lecture, discussion, group work and public debates, our objective as a teaching team is to host a lively day of tough questions, leading to strong insights about the sector.

Spring 2020 - MIIS, MIIS Winter/J Term only

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Impact Measurement and Management

Sara Olsen, CEO, SVT Group

Methodology Subcommittee Co-chair, Social Value International

All impact investing is a combination of two things: intention and measurement. So, how can impact be measured? What is “impact management”? What is the role of the impact professional in ensuring that quality information about impact is used to inform design, management and resource allocation decisions to improve social and environmental value? What is the right impact information to obtain, and what are the relevant reporting standards to use? How can the necessary information be acquired given that existing market and cultural dynamics do not provide sufficient financial incentive to investors to devote resources to measuring impact? And, if at the highest level impact investing as a movement is intended to rapidly put the global economy on a trajectory that will avert climate catastrophe and defuse geopolitical instability driven by economic inequality, what must impact professionals do now to shift the culture of investing so that it supports appropriate impact management?

Spring 2020 - MIIS, MIIS Winter/J Term only

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Impact Measure Practice

Ashley Speyer, Senior Associate, 60 Decibels

We’ve allowed ourselves to believe that understanding social performance is academic, complex, and separate from business operations. It doesn’t have to be. Acumen built Lean Data to help companies incorporate impact measurement and customer-centricity into business-as-usual. This course provides an overview of impact measurement within the impact investing field, more specifically the Acumen contexts, by discussing how Lean Data was built to address core challenges faced by social enterprises and funders, along with case studies to illustrate some appropriate impact measurement strategies in those contexts and Lean Data implementation.

Spring 2020 - MIIS, MIIS Winter/J Term only

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Scaling Social Enterprises

Alex Lazarow, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation

This module focuses on key challenges and methods in scaling a social enterprise from seed-stage to growth. We will highlight the differences in scalable business models, and discuss the operational stages and capital needs of growing businesses. In addition, we will evaluate unit economics and the unique challenges of scaling. Finally, we will discuss the importance of scaling sectors along with firms. Through case studies and in-class group activities the class will explore the process of scaling start-ups.

Spring 2020 - MIIS, MIIS Winter/J Term only

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Social Innovation & Investment in Emerging Markets: Current Affairs

Patricia Chin-Sweeney, Co-Founder and Managing Director, I-DEV International

Impact Investing and Social Enterprise has evolved over the years as parties involved learned the unique dynamics and challenges of operating and investing in emerging markets. This course will discuss the latest topics with a focus on the forefront of East Africa, Latin America and a focus on new investment models and new entrepreneurship approaches. The course will provide case studies of leading innovators and trends, especially those from East Africa, where social innovation and impact investing has built out particularly strong over the years. Class participants and guest speakers will weigh in with different perspectives, and the differing philosophies around impact and international development from Silicon Valley to DC to those operating and investing on the ground.

Spring 2020 - MIIS, MIIS Winter/J Term only

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Mobilize Capital for Impact Investing

Scott Nance, Vice President of Business Development, CapShift

This module provides an overview of the realities facing impact industry stakeholders as they seek to mobilize financial capital towards solving the world’s toughest social and environmental challenges. Major topics to be covered include institutional and individual sources of capital, public and private impact investments, and sales distribution strategies. Concerns about “impact-washing,” i.e. the use of impact jargon or marketing to raise money or inflate reputations without delivering real impact, will also be considered. Real world examples of capital fundraising will be discussed, as viewed through a collective lens of senior business development and marketing professionals. Students will actively engage in groups on a case study designed to explore strategic alternatives for the distribution challenges faced by impact investment solutions providers.

Spring 2020 - MIIS, MIIS Winter/J Term only

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Winter 2020 - MIIS, MIIS First Half of Term

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Areas of Interest

Social venture management, impact investing, and corporate social innovation

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Organization, Strategy and International Management, University of Texas at Dallas Jindal School of Management

Professor Shi has been teaching at the Institute since 1999.

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