For Juan DeJesus, his summer internship at PanAfrican Investment Company isn’t simply about gaining business experience. It’s also about making a difference.
DeJesus, who is entering his senior year at the Gabelli School of Business, was attracted to the company, a small investment firm founded by businessmen Richard Parsons and Ronald Lauder, because of its commitment to social impact in sub-Saharan Africa.
“I think what’s most appealing about it is that in most situations where you find charitable contributions for social impact, it’s not really sustainable,” said DeJesus, a 21 year old from Queens. “This business model allows social impact to be sustainable because we’re also seeking a return on our investments.”
PanAfrican invests in startups that either are located in Africa or do work in Africa. Those startups in some way have to affect positively the quality of life of Africans.
DeJesus, a finance major, holds the role of junior analyst.
“I support with modeling and creating marketing material … and then operational stuff like putting together investment reports,” he said.
Working at a small firm such as PanAfrican has its advantages, he said.
“I get to every step of the business, from negotiations to board meetings to conference calls,” DeJesus said. “It’s really good for a starting spot, so I can see all the moving parts of the business.”