For Harvard Business School students eager to make a positive impact on the world, one exciting path forward is investing in mission-centered businesses. Areas like healthcare, education, energy, and the environment attract innovative and entrepreneurial minds, and just like the team at Bridges Fund Management, HBS students are motivated to propel the success of those businesses.

Meet Bridges Fund Management

Founded in 2002, Bridges, the UK-based impact investing fund, is committed to building a more inclusive and sustainable future through business and investments. As the fund has expanded over the past two decades to include funds in the US and unique collaborations with impact investing peers and graduate schools, their mission remains central to their work.

Over the past three years, three interns from HBS have joined teams within Bridges Fund Management, working in new business development, operations, and project management. Conor Sullivan, Investment Director for the Social Outcomes Fund, and Claudia Cheung, Program Director for the Bridges Outcomes Partnerships, shared their experience as HBS recruiting partners and offered insight into building an internship program that offers equal benefits for the student and company.

The Bridges Fund Management Recruiting Process

A key way Bridges connects with prospective MBA interns is through the Turner MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT) Competition. The competition is a collaboration between Bridges Impact Foundation and the ESG Initiative at the Wharton School and attracts graduate student teams from around the world, including students from Harvard University. Teams compete to pitch their selected ventures with a chance to secure up to $100K in investments.

In addition to gaining exposure through Turner MIINT, Bridges Fund Management also participates in the Impact Investing Trek. Organized by student clubs, treks provide HBS students an opportunity to visit companies around the world as they explore industries and functional areas of interest. Students who visit the Bridges offices in the UK meet team members from across various business units and gain a deeper understanding of the projects they are working on.

Setting Interns Up for Success

In previous iterations of the Bridges MBA internship program, student interns were assigned to a discrete project working across teams to make progress toward an operational goal. However, in 2023, Bridges made a shift in their internship structure, assigning an HBS intern to an Investment Associate role reporting directly to Sullivan.

“(She) ended up getting involved in coordinating a bid for a new project and led some business development work for another project,” Sullivan said. “She also supported us with financial modeling and producing presentation material.” This internship structure allowed her to have direct support along with exciting opportunities to dig into live projects.

“We look to understand the intern’s experience, preferences, and areas of interest,” Cheung said. “We also have examples of interns taking on discrete pieces of work that worked out quite well based on their specific background, for example, in public policy or in government.” That emphasis on flexibility to build an eight-week experience that allows the student to learn while adding tremendous value benefits both parties.

The Bridges and HBS Partnership

When recruiting interns, Bridges looks for core skills including a strategic mindset, financial modeling experience, and ability to create standout presentations. In addition, the ability to be proactive and pick things up quickly is essential.

“With an internship, you don't have a long time to make an impact,” said Sullivan. “The key is to ask questions to understand what is going on quickly and identify where you can contribute.”

Cheung referred to this trait as the ability to “exercise curiosity” and she has found the business school environment fosters that curiosity in students. “Even when an MBA intern is not working directly on a project, that level of curiosity benefits the whole organization.”