Just before Pinnapa Satitpatanapan headed to Manila to take up a position at the Asia Development Bank, Michael Waitze caught up with her to discuss her experience studying at Yale, her passion for impact investing, and how to support the growth of impact investing in Thailand.
Pinnapa did a Bachelor of Business Administration at Thammasat Univesity before gaining experience in the investment banking unit of Bangkok Bank and as a Thai real estate developer. She then headed to the US for an MBA at the Yale School of Management.
While her BBA at Thammasat prepared her well, Yale posed new challenges, particularly the dynamic classroom discussions and the mountains of readings for each class. The most valuable lesson she gained at Yale, she says, was how to prioritize and manage time effectively.
A pivotal experience during her MBA was taking the School of Management’s Global Social Entrepreneurship course, which has students team up with mission-driven social enterprises in India. She found herself supporting an enterprise called Onergy which delivers solar energy solutions to farmers, helping them engage in organic farming practices and linking them to buyers through an e-commerce platform. Inspired by the passion, hard work, and can-do attitude of the people at Onergy in India, Pinnapa asked herself how she could use her skills to make a difference in the world. She turned to social impact investing, which was unfamiliar to her before arriving at Yale.
After graduating from Yale, she landed an internship and then a full-time position at Calvert Impact Capital. Then, on returning to Thailand she discovered a dearth of knowledge on impact investing. While impact investing has gone mainstream in the USA, very few people in Thailand are aware of it as an investment option.
But awareness is not the only challenge the sector faces, Pinnapa points out. In the US, impact investors utilize standardized metrics to report on the impact of investments and funds. At Calvert Impact Capital they use IRIS metrics managed by the Global Impact Investing Network. However, social enterprises in Thailand have been reluctant to adopt measurement practices due to a number of reasons. They are either too focused on getting up and running or lack the resources and capabilities to measure their impact. So, Pinnapa recommends that supporting institutions like the UNDP and universities should be focusing on improving the capacity of SEs to use existing metrics and frameworks to measure impact. After all, investors need to see impact goals and measurements that track progress to those goals.
Pinnapa is now settling into life in Manila at the Asian Development Bank where she is excited to learn how infrastructure projects impact people’s lives on a large scale. We look forward to connecting to Pinnapa again and hearing more about her work at the ADB.