Jennie Goldstein '15

I am a second-year student at Columbia Business School.   Prior to business school, I worked as an operations specialist in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department of a large apparel company.  In that role, I worked with vendors and factories on remediating labor and wage issues, educating vendors on social compliance, and ensuring they scrupulously followed its objectives.  The role was most rewarding when vendors became CSR advocates upon realizing that social responsibility practices can positively impacted the bottom-line, and the experience demonstrated that there can be a clear business case for integrating sustainability into firm operations.

One of my key goals in enrolling in Columbia Business School was to gain exposure to other industries and expand my understanding on how business and sustainability are integrally connected.  I first learned about the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Fellowship through conversations with some of the firm’s staff involved in sustainable finance, and each conversation reinforced my interest in the opportunity.

I joined Morgan Stanley as a Sustainable Investing Fellow and worked on the Sustainable + Responsible team within Equity Research.  I contributed to a research report that identifies seven key sustainability themes and links them with stock picks from Morgan Stanley Research analysts.  Some of the themes considered included climate change, ageing population and water scarcity. Global stocks were identified with companies that have exposure to at least one of these mega-trends and, at the same time, have an attractive risk-reward on a 12-month horizon.

The new report, out in August 2014, begins with an important point – sustainability will materially impact the operations and results of companies across many sectors, both in the short-term and for many years to come.  Those that are finding solutions to these issues or whose products and services align with these themes are well-positioned.

This summer, working at Morgan Stanley as a Sustainable Investing Fellow, I have had the opportunity to see sustainability through the lens of a global financial firm.  I’ve seen the many ways that companies – and private capital more broadly – are creating positive impact, and I am taking this to heart as I return to Columbia Business School. 

My summer at Morgan Stanley has truly reinforced my interest in sustainability and looking forward, I plan to continue working on the integration of finance and sustainability.  I am thrilled to be part of such an innovative part of the financial industry, and I’m excited to see how the program evolves.