My research was named “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Integration by Asset Managers” under Professor Witold Henisz in the Management department. The research’s goal was to answer 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 PURM research experience, I learned how to build complex VLOOKUP functions in order to sift through and match data simultaneously in order to rank ETFs according to equity-weighted ESG scores of composite companies using ESG scores. Secondly, I learned that in order to build a coherent narrative, I had to not only sift through data, but sift through my findings. At the end of the day, data visualization was also significant in order to make sure the final thesis is articulated compellingly and succinctly to the public.
Altogether, I am honored to have participated in this PURM research project as it further honed my interest in ETFs and belief in the synergy between financial return and social impact.