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DUAL DEGREE ERB STUDENT HONES INVESTMENT SKILLS ON SOCIAL VENTURE FUND

Berry Kennedy, MBA/MS '14

Berry Kennedy, MBA/MS '14, is passionate about changing the way businesses and markets function to make them work for the benefit of society. Through the Zell Lurie Institute — and the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, where she is pursuing a dual degree in business and environmental sustainability — Kennedy is building the tools, experience and understanding she needs as a social entrepreneur to solve real-world problems. “Finding a way to make money by doing good in society is one of the most interesting and exciting challenges a business could face,”she says. “A socially oriented, for-profit enterprise has to be extremely creative in exploring new business models while balancing all the demands placed on a traditional for-profit company.”Kennedy gained insights into social enterprise and investment during her two years on the student-led Social Venture Fund, which makes venture-capital investments in for-profit organizations pursuing social change. For a consulting project with Mindful Meats, she and her multidisciplinary team assisted the organic meat producer in developing a strategy to measure its social impact. “I enjoyed looking at impact investing from the market level all the way down to the level of the individual social entrepreneur,” says Kennedy, who is a Zell Lurie Institute and Erb Institute scholar. She gained practical experience during summer internships at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., where she helped the retailer refine its global renewable energy strategy, and at a major consulting firm, where she worked with a global food manufacturer seeking to expand its healthy snack line for children. Kennedy also completed a team master's project with the Dow Chemical Company that addressed the company's challenges in securing adequate freshwater for its manufacturing processes. “One of the great lessons I've learned is that to tackle substantive social and environmental problems, we can't leave the private sector out,”Kennedy concludes. “Policy advocacy and work by nonprofit groups is essential, but it must be accompanied by a change in the way business is done.”