What did you do before you came to Morgan Stanley?
I’ve been here my whole career. But I got interested in sustainable investing when I was in college. When I studied abroad, I wanted to see if microloans would work there. In Shanghai, there’s a bustling suiting market—tons of local tailors that can make you anything. Most of the people in Asia can invest in a sewing machine or cloth, but what they needed was more business. I thought, “Wow, this is a great value proposition for people.” Especially women, who usually don’t do custom suiting, or men who can’t afford to get a bespoke suit when they’re in college. So I started a small business where I got orders for these tailors. It wasn’t expensive at all, but that was a lot of money for a Chinese tailor.
How would you describe your role at Morgan Stanley?
I work within the Equity Model Portfolio Solutions team for Wealth Management Investment Resources. I’m the lead research analyst for the sustainable impact portfolio. My job is to manage model portfolios of individual equities. All of our division’s portfolios are defensive, long-term oriented, high-quality and concentrated. The sustainable impact portfolio is no different but it aligns with seven key sustainability themes. If a client is interested in climate change, water scarcity, waste management, food availability, health and wellness, improving lives and aging population—we actually pick securities that address those themes.
What’s a project you’ve worked on that excited you?
Before my current role, I worked in collaboration the Global Sustainable Finance Group. We helped structure and launch the Investing with Impact Platform, which is offered to financial advisors that wanted to invest sustainably. And that’s really what got me interested in sustainable investing. I think what’s really cool is that four years after working on that project, I actually run a product now that’s focused on doing that as well. It’s kind of come full circle, thinking about what it means to do good without compromising returns.
What was it like starting at Morgan Stanley?
I started off as a summer intern and I haven’t left since. It’s always been very collegial. You get a lot of opportunities if you raise your hand and you’re passionate. I actually asked my manager last summer if I could put together a proposal for a new sustainable portfolio, because as an asset category, sustainable investing has grown over 76% in the last three years. I’ve always felt like my manager has encouraged me to do more, even when it might seem like too much responsibility for a young person. But they were willing to let me take a shot at it. Lo and behold, we launched the portfolio a few months ago. It’s a very ownership-driven culture.
What’s a typical day at the office for you?
The majority of my time is focused on reading, research, and meetings with other parts of the firm. Our team has a very good relationship with Morgan Stanley’s institutional research department and we talk a lot with our sell side research analysts. A predominant amount of my time is focused on trying to synthesize all that information and put it in a portfolio context: where should we be positioned in the portfolio? Where do we see attractive risk-reward opportunities in individual stocks?
What are your hobbies and interests and passions outside of work?
I really enjoy dancing and horseback riding. Outside of that, I’m a chapter president for the alumni association of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. I work a lot with minority students, trying to help them in professional development and in networking. That’s really close to my heart, because if it wasn’t for the Gates Foundation, I wouldn’t have received the scholarship that helped me go to college.
What would you say to a student considering a career at Morgan Stanley?
I would say is that our firm is actually very creative. I think a lot of kids think, “To be creative, I have to work in tech.” That’s not true. My portfolio, for example was a creative idea that became a product I think is going to be very much in demand. When you join a firm that’s global in reach; we have lots of divisions and lots of roles. There’s opportunity for all kinds of students and what fits their skillset. It's a great place that fosters innovative ideas and innovative solutions for our clients. I wouldn’t limit Morgan Stanley to just an investment bank just for investment bankers. It’s really a place for anyone.