Alumni in Sustainable Business
We interviewed several Stern alumni about their careers. Read on to find out how sustainability impacts their work, along with other helpful insights for the Stern community
Umar Belal, MBA '20 – Founding Partner & Director of Operations at ONE432
"If we are the ones who lay the foundation and someone else builds a building on top and that's what everyone can point to for decades to come, we're good with that."
Essma Bengabsia, BS '18 – Sustainable & Impact Investing
"I networked with every person, read every report, and attended every event I found related to impact. It paid off! I met my current boss at an event on sustainable investing by NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business, and the rest is history."
Casey Clark, MBA '17 – Managing Director, Head of ESG Investments at Rockefeller Capital Mangement
"It's becoming more and more important to have sustainability knowledge along with another functional skill set, such as marketing, investment analysis, or supply chain management."
Tom Conboy, BS '17 – Associate, Transportation & Smart Mobility at ICF
"My proudest career accomplishment to date is developing a partnership between Clean Air NY and a top 5 largest private employer in New York State. We’ve connected thousands of employees with alternative commute and air quality resources. "
Amy Dong, BS '20 – Author and Economic Development Analyst at Dalberg Advisors
"If you want a career in sustainability, fight for it. There are plenty of opportunities in sustainability as long as you’re willing to look and willing to put in the work to get there. It’s easy to be swept up in the traditional corporate recruiting cycle in a place like Stern, and it’s easy to convince yourself that these jobs offer an easy path forward. But more often than not, the easy path forward is not the most meaningful one."
Rachele Haber Thomson, MBA '12 – Co-Founder of Blue Dot
"There is a tremendous need for smart, driven and talented people who are passionate about sustainability. There are also a lot of people interested in these jobs. Get the internships, do the networking, learn the industry you want to be in, and follow your passion."
Richmond Mayo-Smith Partner, MBA '86 – Partner at Climate Finance Partners
"It occured to me that I just can't sit idly by, and let the world burn. This is the problem of our generation; of our century. It has to be addressed and everything else is going to be secondary. Everything will eventually be dominated by the climate change issue."
Mark Hanna, MBA '72 – CMO at Richline Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company
"Be open to opportunities, read everything you can relevant to your passions, utilize this new world of “alerts” on topics known and unfamiliar. Keep learning and mentor others."
Stefan Jekel, MBA '07 – Head of International Listings at NYSE
"It's important to realize that investors are paying more and more attention to corporations being socially responsible and sustainable. Investors are basing investment decisions on factors that include CSR and ESG. Whether you go to a corporation or investment fund, themes of sustainability are becoming more relevant for everyone."
Trish Kenlon, MBA '10 – Founder of Sustainable Career Pathways
"Spend as much time as you can networking and doing informational interviews. The time that you’re a student is incredibly short, but it’s the time when people will be the most open to talking with you and willing to help you. One of the things I learned during an informational interview was that a lot of the jobs in renewable energy companies were either in marketing or engineering. Since neither of those areas were strengths, I learned that should be looking elsewhere to start my career."
Diana Lee, BS '14 – Senior ESG Research Associate at AllianceBernstein, AVP
"Careers related to sustainability do not necessarily need to include the word 'sustainability' in the title. You can start in a traditional investment team as an equity analyst, and evolve your role to become an ESG expert of your team as these factors are, and should be natural part of the risk assessment of companies in your fundamental research process."
Jessica Marati Radparvar, MBA '15 – Founder & Social Impact Strategist at Reconsidered
"Brands and retailers need to grapple not only with their social and environmental impacts, but also with the business model itself. Some brands have started to take innovative approaches to the "growth question," investing in circularity start-ups and starting peer-to-peer marketplaces for second-hand branded clothes. This is encouraging to me."
Samantha Reiss, BS '12 – Strategy & Corporate Development at Bloomberg LP (former)
"I am a strategic adviser and former product manager of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, a first-of-its-kind reference index launched in May 2016, which measures the performance of global companies recognized for supporting both data disclosure and best-in-class policies and practices in the gender-equality space."
Judy Sandford, MBA '05 – Managing Director of Sustainability & CSR at Addison
"My best piece of advice is that you don't have to have sustainability in your title to make a difference. Sometimes the biggest opportunities exist in companies where no initiatives are in place. Every employee should find ways to increase corporate sustainability by employing better ESG practices in their role."
John Scott, MBA '00 – Chief Transformation Officer, Subway HQ
"I am most excited to see the many others I have worked with or managed carry forward the mission of sustainability at their companies or organizations. I hope the work I’ve done has helped them advance their own ideas and energy to make a positive impact all over the globe — whether it is in the public or private sectors."
Jeff Sybertz, MBA '17 – Accountability Associate at Fair Labor Association
"Be patient, be persistent, be inquisitive, and understand that one person or one company cannot fix everything. It is crucial to make connections across job functions, across companies, and across industries because collaboration is essential to success in the sustainability world."
Devin Taylor, MBA '13 – Investment Strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
"Across asset managers, sustainable investing approaches are moving from historically negative screening to positive inclusion of companies that are leading across a number of sustainability themes. There are systemic shifts happening in sustainability data as it has improved and proliferated in recent years, which is creating positive feedback loops for corporations, asset owners, and asset managers to ask for and utilize this data."