Columbia Bizcast: Clare Murray ’17

“Every investment has an impact — it’s just positive or negative.”

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Photo: Jacquie Henderson ’17

Not many people can say their life was changed by a whale.

Years before even thinking about Columbia Business School, Clare Murray ’17 was on a family whale-watching trip when she bumped into the chief financial officer of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. At the time, Murray was an undergraduate majoring in art history. But the chance encounter pushed her in a new direction.

“It was really memorable and transformative for me because it was the first time that I recognized that there’s this combination of finance and art management,” she says. “I thought, ‘I’m going to follow her track and go the more traditional route of finance and then build a skill set that I could then use at a museum potentially at a later point.’”

With that in mind, the native New Yorker joined Goldman Sachs and then BlackRock, soon transitioning to focus on sustainable investing. It happened to be just as the niche market was going mainstream. From 2012 to 2016, the portfolio of sustainable assets in the U.S. surged by 135 percent to $8.7 trillion.

While at BlackRock, Murray also began taking the subway uptown on weekends to earn her Executive MBA. Upon graduating a year ago, she moved to Sydney to work in sustainable investing with LeagFrog, a private equity firm that targets socially responsible investments in Asia and Africa. She’s since been named to Forbes30 Under 30 Asia list.

In this edition of Why CBS, Murray explains the trends driving impact investing, gives an insider’s view of what the sector is all about, and highlights how Columbia Business School deepened her understanding of the field.

“Every investment has an impact,” she says, “it's just positive or negative. So for me, I really wanted to work in sustainable investing to create products that had the financial return side where then institutions were able to invest and then also where it's doing good for society.”


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