As companies seek sustainability in the face of international challenges like war, hunger, and climate change, many aspiring business leaders are leveraging their background in social impact to help companies secure their future, and ours. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Lucie Holliday describes her journey to her MBA and how NYU Stern prepared her for the challenging and important work of sustainability.
Lucie Holliday, NYU Stern MBA ’22, ESG Associate at The Carlyle Group
Hometown: Palisades, New York
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of St Andrews, International Relations and Social Anthropology
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): NYU Stern, 2022, Sustainable Business & Innovation, Finance
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Philanthropy and Social Impact at Goldman Sachs (3 years) and BDT & Company (3 years)
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Joined Carlyle in August 2022, Private Equity
Current employer and title: Carlyle, ESG Associate
Why did you choose to attend business school?
I chose to attend business school because I wanted to learn how to apply my background in social impact to core business operations. The broad space of ESG and corporate sustainability was growing rapidly (and continues to today!) and an MBA seemed like a great opportunity to develop new skills and insights to understand and guide companies through this transition.
Why NYU Stern? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The biggest factors for me coming to NYU Stern were location and concrete opportunities to focus on sustainability and ESG issues, in addition to getting well-rounded training on topics like valuation and supply chain management. The expertise, classes, and career support provided by Stern’s Centers for Sustainable Business and Business and Human Rights gave me confidence that I could pivot to this growing space.
What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
I’m happy to say that the reason I went to business school is indeed what I got out of the experience and prepared me for my current career. While I had worked at financial services firms prior to Stern, the courses, projects, and internships throughout my MBA enabled me to take a more integrated approach to environmental and social issues as they pertain to finance and business operations. It also set me up with a fantastic network of peers with similar career paths who are now working in sustainability-focused roles ranging from fashion and food to renewable energy and ESG consulting.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
My internship during business school was a Sustainability Fellowship at King Arthur Baking Company, a food company that was a founding B Corp. I’m fascinated by food and agricultural supply chains, and this was an opportunity to learn from their network of farmers and flour mills what it takes to adapt a commodity crop like wheat to regenerative agricultural practices. This experience validated for me that building more sustainable businesses is challenging but important work, and I wanted to find a way to support more companies along this type of path.
Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
A big question in sustainability-focused careers is how close to the impact you want to be. Analyzing ESG ratings in public markets is very different day-to-day than designing reusable packaging or auditing factories for human rights risks. In my role at Carlyle, I can sit somewhere in the middle – helping individual portfolio companies develop their own impact-driven strategies, while analyzing issues and figuring out how to create value through ESG performance at a portfolio-level across a range of companies and industries. This mix of perspectives and levers to affect social and environmental change is what made me so excited to join Carlyle, and most importantly, gives me the opportunity to keep learning every day.
Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
The two guiding themes of my job search were patience and persistence. I knew I was charting an atypical path with less certain timelines and recruiting structures and staying true to that course allowed me to wait (and be ready) for the type of role I was hoping for.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
Not be so hesitant to reach out to anyone I thought had an interesting career! Specifically, I would spend more time networking than applying to jobs I didn’t necessarily want – sometimes it feels easier to fill out an application than to put yourself out there for a coffee chat, and I would flip those time allocations.
–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Perhaps not surprising, but I really loved that I could directly apply learnings from the classroom to a case I did as part of the interview process.
–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Not everything you do has to be squarely focused on getting a job. Focus on getting the job you want, while taking the time to foster interests that aren’t exclusively “career” focused. It is a rare moment in time when you have significant flexibility and control over your schedule – use it wisely!