3 Questions with Michael Eddy, ’08, Director of Investments at Stanford Impact Labs

Welcome to “3 Questions with …”, a recurring feature on the Career Center blog. We’re asking alumni of all graduation years and career interests to share a bit of their experiences and advice. 

Michael Eddy, ’08, Director of Investments at Stanford Impact Labs

1. In just a few sentences, please tell us about your current job/graduate program/vocational endeavor.

I just started a new job as Director of Investments at Stanford Impact Labs. In that role, I fund teams of researchers, policymakers and practitioners putting the best social science to work on some of society’s toughest problems. Prior to this, I’ve co-founded a social enterprise (Instiglio), helped build an US/UK-backed investment fund that invested in other social enterprises (Global Innovation Fund), and worked in Philanthropy. I thrive in start-up environments and mentor a number of early-stage social ventures.

2. How did your time at Tufts influence your career journey?

I used Tufts to experiment with what I wanted to do and not do in my career. Some of the most informative experiments were summer internships and extracurricular projects working on things that I thought I would like based on coursework, but in practice I realized I wanted to stay far away miles from (Comp Sci, IR, international law–these all were not for me!). I was extraordinarily fortunate to meet some fantastic faculty who advised my thesis, which opened the doors for my first job as a research assistant in India with MIT’s Poverty Action Lab  (J-PAL).

3. What advice would you offer to a student who wants to pursue a career path like yours?

My best advice is to learn what works best for you. Try to find low-cost ways to experiment with not just what you want to be doing (which field or industry you want to be in), but also how you do your best work (what environments do you thrive in?). This might mean a summer internship, shadowing someone, short consulting projects, or, failing that, in depth informational interviews.  Optimize career choices in the early part of your career for learning about yourself and building career capital (skills, networks, etc.). Aim for Ikigai, but know you’ll probably fall far from it. Read broadly, particularly viewpoints that are different from your own. When applying to a job, ask yourself “what will make me stick out from the pile of 100 other applicants?” Stop reading what I have to say and go find what works for you!

Get advice and information through career conversations

Chat with people like Michael in our flash mentoring database, The Herd

By Sheryl Rosenberg
Sheryl Rosenberg Associate Director