Doing the Work with Ashley Wei, BS ’22
Q&A with Ashley Wei, BS ’22
Because the ESG sector is still growing at companies around the world, students who are interested in responsible business might not have a chance to experience day-to-day responsibilities in this area until their first full-time job. Not so for the 11 Gabelli School of Business students who held sustainability-oriented internships at Estée Lauder Companies this year. Below, Ashley Wei talks about being an intern at Estée Lauder and where she hopes to go from here. (Note: text has been lightly edited for the web.)
What does "responsible business" mean to you?
Responsible business has to do with a corporation's impact on society and the environment, which I would explain as having to do with everything from climate and energy to diversity and inclusion. Responsible business extends into the corporate strategy, beyond the business and functions under its direct control, and goes further across the value chain to the consumer and their community.
What kind of work do you do in your internship at Estée Lauder?
I am a Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability, or “GCCS” intern, working directly with the climate team while taking on stretch assignments from other sectors within GCCS. I've been performing benchmarking analyses of ESG goals and updates from peer companies in the consumer goods industry, building a business case for creating a Climate Narrative Action Plan, and finalizing data-driven guidelines to inform compelling strategy documents and decks for the company’s leadership. I support the climate team on campaigns and communications, such as the RE100 Enterprising Leader Award application.
Is there a project that you're most proud of?
I've worked on various projects that I am so proud of, but my work on the RE100 Enterprising Leader Award has been some of the most rewarding work, as Estée Lauder Companies was awarded this honor at Climate Week NYC earlier this fall. I was able to work with the GCCS communications team and helped draft the supporting statement for the award submission. Being able to contribute to the recognition for Estée Lauder Companies’ work in renewable energy while publicly sharing my excitement within my own community made me proud of the company I work for.
What have you gained that you might not have gotten from being an intern in a more "traditional" area of business?
The insight into corporate sustainability, especially from working on climate and energy initiatives. I've been very fortunate to work on the climate team, learning how a company begins to set goals or guidelines and design its ESG reporting. I've also gained access into the behind-the-scenes work of corporate strategy and internal and external communications around social impact and sustainability.
What do you hope will be your immediate next step?
As a senior graduating in spring 2022, I hope I will be able to step into a full-time position in corporate sustainability. I've been lucky to work at Estée Lauder Companies over the past year, and I'd love to continue my work post-graduation. Until then, I'll be pursuing my degree in global business with a concentration in digital media and technology and taking classes for my minor in sustainable business. I'm excited to be following my passion for sustainability not only in my career but also in my academic courses at Fordham.