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Student Profile: Jon Fish, MA '14

Jon Fish, MA ’14 looks to the future of socially responsible business.


By Tate Herbert ‘15
August 2, 2013

Jon Fish, MA '14 is well on his way to achieving his dream of becoming a leader in socially responsible business.
Where is the next big thing going to come from? What will be the latest in a line of industry influencers, like Facebook or Kickstarter? No one knows, but there is one thing we can tell you right now: when it does come, start looking for Jon Fish’s name in the headlines.

Fish, a Cleveland native and MA student from the class of 2014, is not only interested in new and unique ideas, but also in socially responsible business practices. He admits that he doesn’t have all the answers – but that doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm for finding them.

“If you look at a company like Tom’s Shoes, for example, they have a for-profit business, and they also have this social side of it, with the buy one get one model,” Fish explained. “But I don’t think it’s completely worked out yet. As a whole, we haven’t really figured out what the optimal model is for a business to do something that makes a profit, and at the same time benefits people. So I want to figure that out.”

He says he chose the Brandeis International Business School’s (IBS) Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance (MA) – Lemberg Program because he wanted to be well-prepared, while still jumping into the fray as soon as possible. After one short year in Waltham, Fish has become the president of both the International Behavioral Economics Association (iBEAF), which he also helped found, and NetImpact, where he was the lead organizer for last year’s Bunson Impact Investment Challenge.  He also participated in the 3 Day Startup Challenge, helping his team to produce an app called Sizl.

“The basic idea was that it’s really awful when you want to organize a dinner or lunch with your friends, and the process of trying to organize that makes everyone angry – and you may or may not get a good place anyway,” said Fish. “Essentially, it’s a system that takes people’s preferences and what time they’re free, and makes the decision for you.” 

“It’s not the next Apple, or anything,” he added. “It’s definitely a small, fun thing.” The project is on hiatus for the summer, but its business plan and some basic development are already drawn up as a result of the startup challenge.

For now, and hopefully into the fall, Fish continues to work for Boundless, an education technology startup in Boston that synthesizes non-copyrighted material to create alternatives to pricey textbooks. Fish has enjoyed the experience, and says that he wants to keep exploring how businesses can impact the world.

“I think starting my own business would be awesome,” he said, “but I’m not tied to ‘I have to start it.’ The long-term goal is to run the business that sets the new standard for how companies interact with their community.”

Idealistic? Perhaps. But, for Fish, it’s entirely doable.