Kash Patel '15

I knew early on in my career that I loved helping drive positive change – within institutions, processes, and especially, for people in need. After completing college, I cycled between technology and strategy consulting, assisting clients across a broad range of industries with operational and strategic issues. During that time, I accepted a yearlong transfer to work in Mumbai, India. Experiencing the realities of life in a developing country further stimulated my passion to help others.

To better understand international development, I enrolled in a Masters in Public Policy program at Harvard Kennedy School, and worked in various roles at the intersection of consulting and public policy. My work included consulting roles with a foreign government, a large intergovernmental organization, and a Central Bank. For two years, I also helped lead the Harvard Social Enterprise conference.

Collectively, these experiences made me realize the importance of capital – an essential catalyst for improvement on development issues. I enrolled in Columbia Business School knowing that I wanted to find a role that operated at the intersection of business and public policy, with potentially far-reaching impacts on sustainability.

Hearing about the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Fellowship immediately sparked my interest on a number of levels. The first was that the role combined my MBA specialization, finance, with my passion for social impact. I was also drawn to the role because it was the first time I saw such a significant, top-down push, by one of the world’s largest financial institutions, to help directly drive solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

My role this summer focused on two projects related to the Institute’s thought leadership agenda. The experience has also underscored a key barrier to success in sustainable finance, namely, a gap in research. Without guidance, investors interested in deploying capital are potentially exposed to negative impacts in financial performance, or heightened investment risk due to environmental, social and/or governance factors. Through the process of research, I began to more fully appreciate what investors faced, and how complex sustainable investing really was. Finally, I realized how critical thought leadership was to helping drive investor confidence in sustainable investing.

The Fellowship has also given me a chance to bring my collective experiences to work. I have been able to use the tools I have gained during my professional career, and apply the theory I have recently gained during my graduate work in public policy and business.

I always wanted a role that has social impact at-scale. If you are passionate about challenges in sustainability, the Fellowship is an incredible opportunity to help tackle these challenges using finance, and backed by the scope and scale of Morgan Stanley.