HBA Sustainability Certificate
Empowering the next generation of sustainable leaders
My name is Yashika Sharma, and I am currently a fourth-year student at the Ivey Business
School, pursuing the HBA with an inclination towards finance. I am passionate about female empowerment and diversity within the finance field, especially at the senior levels where mentorship and guidance are the most impactful. After working for an Investment Bank this past summer and experiencing working in the energy sector/energy transition, I came to realize that I enjoy learning about sustainable finance and the rapidly changing landscape of ESG integration in institutional investing.
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
Sustainability to me is being able to look back at my life’s work and feeling proud of what I have accomplished regarding the development of the community around me. I have always wanted to create an impact, no matter where I went. Sustainability is also a way for individuals and groups to achieve collective goals without compromising the integrity of future generations. Now as I grow older and have more ability to incite impact, I want to create, set, and achieve measurable goals that will allow me to enact change in communities and industries that were overlooked in the past.
What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?
This past summer, I had the opportunity of working at one of Canada’s leading investment banks within their Mergers & Acquisitions division. During my time, I was staffed on a clean energy deal that introduced me to the world of energy transition. I was fascinated by the quickly adapting world of sustainable finance and new products that were being offered by banks to help companies achieve their ESG goals. I can see sustainability being an integral part of my life in the future as I embark on my investment banking career within the energy transition team at BMO Capital Markets. My job will entail structuring sustainable debt instruments geared towards helping publicly traded companies achieve SDGs like carbon reduction targets, diversity improvement goals and ethically sourced resources agreements. Over the long term, I want to work in sustainable investing, where I would participate in the buy-side of the capital markets and invest in companies that are transforming the future by helping them find the resources they require to achieve their targets. Overall, I wish to develop a career where I not only feel fulfilled with my work, but also can measure the impact I was a part of.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
I have strived to integrate sustainability into every aspect of my life and work towards bringing attention to issues I cared about. In high school, I co-founded my school’s first Zonta chapter which is an organization that works to support marginalized female groups in the city. With the help of my team consisting of 25 powerful female-identifying students and 2 faculty members, we were able to raise over 500 feminine sanitation products to donate to women’s shelters across Toronto. In my first two years of undergrad at Schulich, I joined the York Women Empowerment Club to help bring awareness to issues surrounding female representation in various industries. I later assumed the role of President of the club where I was able to launch the first ever mentorship program, that paired York students with women working in all sorts of career paths where mentorship is difficult to find. We successfully paired 30 students with female-identifying lawyers, dentists, engineers and other professionals across Toronto. Finally, I was involved in an affordable housing development project during my internship at Starlight Investments which focused on providing affordable rental units to marginalized communities in the Greater Toronto Area.