My research project “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Integration by Asset Managers” under Professor Witold Henisz in the Management department, the Wharton School has been a fruitful one. The research’s goal is to explain 1) How do funds labeled as ESG perform on Environmental, Social and Governance factors according not to voluntary corporate reports but stakeholder discourse about those firms? 2) What is the correlation (if any) between the opinions of stakeholders and financial performance? 3) What distinguishes the strategies of funds who are high on ESG and high on financial performance from their peers?
From my research experience, I learned the importance of having a large data set as a lot of my data ended up being discarded because it was incomplete. The research experience overall also gave me a better idea of the timeline of doing research, where 70% of my time was spent cleaning data and the remaining 30% analyzing data. I also learned the importance of data visualization and how to make my results easily readable the general public. Analysis-wise, I learned the importance of looking at data in different angles and standardizing it to remove unwanted factors.
This experience is crucial as I will be part of the Wharton Research Scholars working on my own independent research this upcoming academic year. I look forward to putting my experience with data handling, data analysis and data visualization to produce useful results.