Sustainability Is the Way Forward

Kogod School of Business Alumna Nichole Powers leverages her career in business with the hands-on experiences and networks she gained as an MS in sustainability management graduate student.

NicolePowersOption2

Nichole Powers in Stockholm for Kogod's MS in sustainability management global immersion program.


 

Environmental social governance (ESG) indicates the qualitative and quantitative data that describes a business’s environmental status, societal characteristics, and corporate governance. ESG also reflects an organization’s ability to manage environmental, social, or governance-related risks. 

As climate change and the social impact of capitalism become increasingly illuminated, companies are racing to differentiate themselves by seeking a competitive advantage among investors. Understanding ESG and its implications for business is vital for aspiring changemakers.

Recent Kogod MS in sustainability management graduate Nichole Powers leveraged her undergraduate background in finance by incorporating ESG into her education. As an undergraduate student at Pennsylvania State University, Powers held a full-time internship working with ESG data at Bloomberg.

“I was exposed not only to what ESG data and sustainability mean to companies and investors, but also to how impactful the concept of sustainability is to all levels of society,” says Powers. 

Exposure to ESG through Bloomberg was the catalyst behind Powers' choice to forge a long-term career in the business sustainability field.

“I’m encouraged by recent proposals from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require public companies to disclose their greenhouse-gas emissions and how climate change risks may affect their business, along with proposals to improve the transparency of US investment funds labeling themselves as sustainably-minded or green-focused," says Powers.

Powers hopes that by establishing business regulations around ESG issues that align with traditional financial principles, businesses will begin to think more critically about their sustainable practices while improving the general population’s knowledge of these issues.

This fall, Kogod is launching a first-of-its-kind ESG course that will allow students to invest using 1 percent of the university’s endowment fund.

This will be a great opportunity for Kogod students whether they are interested in a career in sustainability or not because professionals need to understand the wide spectrum of strategies that fall under the ESG umbrella."

NicolePowers

Nichole Powers

Kogod Alumna

“For students in the MS in sustainability management program, the ESG course will provide an opportunity to see what investors are looking for when they analyze companies for inclusion in an ESG investment strategy which is beneficial knowledge whether you go into consulting or work directly for a company," says Powers.

At Kogod, we believe that students learn by doing. For students to have the new Environmental, Social, and Governance Funds course at their fingertips is a game-changer. Students will make investment recommendations to the Finance Committee of AU’s Board of Trustees, which will be funded once approved. Students will also gain networking opportunities by working with AU’s financial advisors at Cliffwater.

Beyond the new ESG course, Kogod MS in sustainability management students also have the opportunity to learn on a global scale through the Stockholm immersion program, which was most recently held in spring 2022.

“The immersion was impactful and the perfect way to finish my time at Kogod,” says Powers. “Having the chance to take concepts we learned in the classroom and apply them to real-world scenarios by engaging with some of Sweden’s largest corporations was an incredibly unique opportunity.”

Students in the Stockholm immersion program actively engaged with sustainability practitioners. 

We got to see firsthand how initiatives worked for real businesses, and just how many instances there are to make our world more sustainable."

NicolePowers

Nichole Powers

Kogod Alumna

Powers also enjoyed taking courses with peers from diverse backgrounds who were passionate about the same things as her. Hearing perspectives from classmates with different worldviews expanded Powers’s way of thinking and ability to frame issues. “Being among so many bright minds has been instrumental. The knowledge I gained and the network I am leaving Kogod with will be invaluable to my career going forward,” says Powers. “I plan to work in sustainability consulting for several years to continue applying my knowledge to a wide range of business sectors to help transition them to more sustainability-minded practices.”

Visit our website to learn more about Kogod’s MS in sustainability management program.