Interning at IFC

Jamison Friedland
During the summer of 2019, Jamison Friedland (MBA '20) interned at IFC. Read on to learn more about his time there:

Tell me about your summer internship experience. Where did you work and what types of projects did you work on?

I spent this summer as a fellow at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private arm of the World Bank, working within IFC’s Climate Business Department. One of the recent focuses of IFC has been on continuing to develop an environment where investable climate projects are more easily initiated. On that front, I was fortunate to work on a variety of projects, including being tasked with creating a proposal for instituting a network of energy regulators in Latin America to focus on the issue of battery storage and as a member of the financial tools working group of the UN Fashion Charter, identifying best practices and funding vehicles for greenhouse gas reduction projects.

How did sustainable business practices play a role in your internship?

In IFC’s role as a global development institution, it targets investments and opportunities in the developing world. While IFC’s overarching goal is to advance economic development, in recent years, there has been a mandate within the organization to increase the percentage of investments that are focused on climate-related initiatives. As research and awareness have risen about the climate challenges facing the world, IFC has recognized the necessity of incorporating sustainability into as many of the projects as possible. This has been why the climate business department has seen so much growth and I was able to work on such a variety of projects. In addition to the projects that I worked on that addressed climate challenges, when interacting within the broader organization, I was also actively looking for ways to make investments more environmentally sustainable.

What were your top three learnings from your internship?​​​​​​​

One of the biggest takeaways from the internship was to be flexible. I was brought into the department with a specific role focused on assisting the Invest4Climate initiative. Shortly after my arrival, my manager realized that during my summer, there would not be enough work on that initiative to keep me busy and so pivoted my role to include all capital mobilization projects. These great projects allowed for incredible exposure across the organization. Next, I would say that my experience reinforced the message of being proactive. Before my role pivoted, I proactively was asking my manager for more responsibilities to contribute and with her approval even was able to assist some other teams. I believe that because she was happy with my work and seeing my initiative, she allowed me to take more ownership over projects at an earlier stage than would have been typical. Finally, it is important to stress communication. The consistent dialogue I was able to maintain with my manager allowed me to be far more productive during my internship. Communication was also important across the organization as I was able to tap into areas outside my department and understand what some of the obstacles were that prevented climate projects from being implemented. Bringing this information back to my team allowed us to shift the focus on the work to maximize the likelihood of success.

Did your summer internship experience change your thoughts about your career trajectory moving forward?​​​​​​​

Seeing the variety of sustainability-focused projects reinforced my belief in the opportunities and need within impact investing. Additionally, I recognized that investment dollars are only part of the solution as often policy and regulation can dramatically affect the implementation of sustainable business initiatives. Having this appreciation is important for my career goals of evaluating and investing in sustainable solutions because investments will be dependent on more than just the need and business case.