The Social Enterprise Initiative at Goizueta named social entrepreneur David Kyle its new Executive in Residence this month, adding an outside perspective to a program designed to marry business and market-based principles to make lasting, societal impacts.
Born in New York and raised in South America, Kyle attended Trinity College and John Hopkins University before joining Citibank. He then hit the road, crisscrossing the globe for 20 years and running aspects of the investment and corporate banks in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, England and Portugal.
He returned to New York in 2001 and was downtown when the World Trade Center towers were attacked and collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Like many Americans, his life changed in an instant.
“I realized I needed to do something different,” he said.
Kyle worked with Save the Children and later took on roles as Chief Investment Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Acumen Fund. He moved to Hyderabad, India in 2007 and founded the Indian School Finance Company which provides medium-term loans for private schools in slums. One of the main investors was Atlanta-based Gray Ghost Ventures.
He moved back to the United States in 2010 having helped 400 private schools add 2,000 teaching positions and reach more than 150,000 students.
Kyle will make monthly trips to Goizueta’s campus to meet with students, fostering entrepreneurial thinking and melding business practices with social enterprise efforts. He says working in developing countries and gearing business toward social good is “more mainstream than people think.”
“This is really hardcore business made all the more hardcore because your expense base has to be lower and the pricing of your product has to be cheaper,” he said. “If anything this is going to reinforce your core business skills.”
According to Kyle, Fortune 500 companies need people who understand the dynamics of emerging markets. The world also needs eager minds to work in non-profit organizations or as venture capitalists specializing in small to medium loans.
“The label ‘social enterprise’ sends some conflicting messages,” Kyle said. “For a business school student to really develop their business skills this forces them to the wall in terms of really being the best.”
Kyle said he’s already met about 60 Goizueta students and will continue to do so in his role with the new, Social Enterprise Fellows Program. Incoming MBA students can apply for the fellows program and, if accepted, will have an opportunity to work one-on-one with Kyle during their education to discuss career paths and opportunities. Beyond executive mentoring, fellows will have access to an internship stipend.