MBA Fellow Develops Tools to Track Science-Based Targets at Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

Isa Ballard Headshot
During the summer of 2022, Isa Ballard (MBA '23) interned as an NYU Stern MBA Sustainability Fellow at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Read on to learn more about her time there:

Name: Isa Ballard
Year: 2023
Specialization: Sustainable Business and Innovation

Briefly describe your internship experience (company, department, your focus projects/deliverables)
As a Sustainability Fellow at Williams-Sonoma, Inc., I worked on data analysis projects related to the company’s climate goals. I spent most of my time building tools to track progress against WSI’s Science-Based Target: I created dashboards rolling up projected Scope 1 & 2 and Scope 3 emissions reductions across many separate initiatives, and designed a climate scorecard for vendors that summarizes their factories’ energy use and manufacturing emissions. Outside of my main projects, the Sustainability team made sure to pull me into a variety of strategy meetings, presentations, and brainstorming sessions, which allowed me to gain a broad understanding of all of the work streams happening across the function.

How will this experience add value to the rest of your time at Stern? How did it prepare you for your future career path?
I came to Stern with a strong interest in sustainability, but a somewhat hazy understanding of what sort of jobs might be a good fit for me. My internship gave me the chance to gain hands-on experience in the ESG space and to immediately apply what I’d learned as an MBA1. It’s an exciting time to do this kind of work, with many opportunities to solve hard, interesting, important problems, and I now feel better prepared to execute a career pivot.

After a decade in the nonprofit sector, it was helpful to get to know the culture of a global team within a large public company. I also had a lot of fun getting into the weeds of emissions data: figuring out how to manipulate a large, messy dataset without crashing Excel; using visuals to pull out key insights; understanding the challenges of measuring and managing emissions across a firm’s value chain. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I’m planning to add an additional specialization in Business Analytics!