Simone Shaheen

MPA in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy

Headshot of Simone Shaheen.

Please describe what you were doing before you came to NYU Wagner?

Prior to Wagner, I worked on microfinance projects in emerging markets in East Africa. In an institutional partnerships role, I supported the first-ever Development Impact Bond (DIB) aimed at increasing income through a small business development program in rural Uganda and Kenya. At the time, the DIB was an exciting new instrument that introduced private capital to international development programs, ultimately providing a “return” to the investors of a nonprofit. This experience was my impetus for going to Wagner; I wanted to learn about other mechanisms in sustainable finance.

Please describe how your experiences at NYU Wagner prepared you for your career?

One of my most formative experiences at Wagner was working on NYU’s Impact Investment Fund (NIIF). NIIF is a class - and a fund - where students are direct stewards of capital through an evergreen fund. They form into deal teams, build investment theses, source deals, and ultimately select an enterprise with which to deploy capital. The program is multidisciplinary in nature. As a Wagner student, I loved meeting and learning from fellow students at Stern and the Law school. Through NIIF I got a front-row seat to how an impact fund is structured, how to persuade investors and allocators, how to conduct due diligence on startups, and how to pitch to an investment committee. This was a unique opportunity to gain skills and prepare me for a career in social finance.

Can you tell us a bit about your job responsibilities now?

I now work for MSCI, a financial services firm that provides the global investment community with research, data, and technology. At MSCI, I oversee Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing and Climate relationships with banks, asset managers, and wealth managers. My role helps investors build their ESG capabilities through portfolio construction and analytics, climate risk management, data analysis, and in preparation for regulatory disclosures. 

In what ways have you engaged with NYU and Wagner networks after graduation?

Amid the pandemic, a group of NIIF students and alumni came together to create NYU’s Impact Investing Club (NIIAC), a unique alumni club that fosters new relationships across the alumni community interested in impact investing. While the genesis for the club was from the NIIF program, it is by no means restricted: we invite any alumni who are passionate about the impact investing space to join us!