BSc Ecological and Environmental Sciences with Management, the University of Edinburgh
Rotational Graduate Scheme (Energy & Sustainability), SSE Airtricity, Dublin
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
Prior to studying on the MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance programme, I was working at Entec (Environmental Technology) S.A, a Greek solar-tech company specialising in project financing and implementation at both a commercial and residential scale. Additionally, I have worked as a trainee as part of a university enterprise consulting project, specialising in bespoke wave energy applications for Mocean Energy LTD.
I also have had some involvement in social innovation startups as part of my undergraduate degree, specialising in solar infrastructure, think-tanks, pitching competitions and youth innovation forums at Clinton’s Global Initiative, Berkeley California. Additionally, I have co-founded a student-led social enterprise called Elpis Solar, which brings mobile phone charging, and water filtration services to off-grid refugee settings in Europe and Africa, all through solar power.
Why did you decide to study an MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance at Imperial College Business School?
I applied for the programme, aiming to further develop my holistic understanding of environmental sciences, green management and innovation. The multidisciplinary nature of the modules offered, in my eyes, are accurate requirements of the modern, dynamic work environment. The programme title aligns well with my passions and aspirations, for the integration of sustainability and environmental remediation in addressing climate change through financial and business modelling.
During my time at Imperial, I wanted to explore the interconnectedness of environmental sciences and climate change mitigation, while delving into the ways in which organisations can respond to the climate and social challenges of our times.
The degree complimented my previous studies (BSc (Hons) Ecological and Environmental Sciences & Management) at the University of Edinburgh, having explored disciplines ranging from conservation and community ecology, land atmospheric interactions, climatology and climate change mitigation to sustainable development, green entrepreneurship and enterprise consultancy projects on renewable energy startups.
Did you receive a scholarship?
Yes, I feel truly grateful to have been granted the Social Impact and Leadership Scholarship covering my full tuition fees, which has been a great financial boost for my me and my family. Moreover, this scholarship motivated me to continue developing sustainable solutions through solar power for communities around the world. Finally, it gave me a unique opportunity to become part of a community of changemakers, interacting with like-minded peers while actively engaging in various on-campus events.
What aspects of the programme do you enjoy the most?
I would say what makes this programme unique is its multidisciplinary nature, enabling us in a short period of time to explore various topics of global significance, which are shaping the current financial/business ecosystem. I enjoyed the learning environment and the guest speaker events every Thursday, listening to working professionals sharing their experiences and insights, as well as having the opportunity to talk to them in-person and ask questions that would help me in my future professional career.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
It is hard to distinguish one and I am running the risk of being potentially biased towards the ‘Science of Climate Change’ module, as this has been the subject of my undergraduate degree and it always fascinates me the most. However, out of the new topics taught, I would say ‘Risk Management and Climate Change’, ‘Innovation in Clean Tech and Climate Change Solutions’ stand out, along with ‘Climate Finance' and Sustainable Management and Strategy.’ Primarily because these modules really enabled us to develop portfolios of energy infrastructure projects, to pitch innovative climate mitigation solutions in the built environment associated with energy efficiency improvements, as well as to design websites, pitchbooks and other relevant tangible deliverables that will help us in our future professional pursuits.
What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
The most rewarding part has been the feeling of learning by doing, as I was engaging in unchartered territories with the modules. Seeing your efforts paying off and feeling that you are producing some meaningful pieces of work is very rewarding, especially when it is achieved by a team.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
At times the workload felt overwhelming as deadlines are tight and time management becomes important. Working with teams has always been something I enjoy, however working with new people in a very short period requires patience, understanding and a lot of coffees!
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
The people are what makes this class a creative, fun and engaging learning environment. This programme brought together a very diverse group of individuals of different ages, cultures, professional and academic backgrounds - all having very interesting and inspiring stories to tell, sharing a common passion to give back to humanity and be at the forefront of change at a time when the world we live in requires it. The feeling of support and collaboration encourages everyone to do their best. It is impossible to not have fun with the number of regular socials hosted after class on a weekly basis.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
The teaching staff at Imperial are great, with leading academics who can bring value to the degree thanks to their extensive networks of working professionals and from their real-world experience in the industry. All professors brought a unique aspect to the programme, however if I had to choose, I would pick Professor Enrico Biffis, Dr Paulo Ceppi, Jeremy Fernando and Dr Paolo Taticchi - primarily because of the clarity of their delivery, the concise selection of topics and their decision to focus on a few but important topics. Additionally, their unique personality and engaging delivery kept me awake and focused for the entire duration of the class, which is quite rare for someone with a short attention span like me!
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
I would say the fact that every day there are events happening on campus including workshops, talks, conferences and innovation forums – which give you the option to engage with experienced professionals and inspiring speakers.
Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
The plethora of targeted workshops offered at the beginning of the semester related to CV building, professional orientation and interview practice, along with other self-development and leadership coaching sessions added value to my CV and helped me brush up on past knowledge. Additionally, the guest lectures boosted my critical understanding of the topics taught in class, linking theory to practice. Networking events and speeches by industry experts such as Michael Liebreich (founder of Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance) provided us with future energy outlooks and added an extra dimension to the programmes teaching content. Finally, I can’t not mention the support and help received by the student disability services, providing me with a one-on-one coaching workshop related to my learning difficulties (dyslexia).
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?
I am grateful to have been selected as the President of Imperial College Business School’s Social Impact and Responsible Business Careers club. This club represents a vibrant community, bringing changemakers together to drive the creation and delivery of impact across all industries and sectors, ranging from social enterprises, corporate sustainability and impact investment.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
Being part of the Imperial College London wider community has opened the door to many professional opportunities, as well as enabling me to take part in conferences which can normally be quite pricey for non-students. Having the opportunity to have a research institute, specialising in climate change mitigation and adaptation research at our doorstep is truly a privilege. Many of our professors are affiliated to the Grantham Institute as researchers, enabling us to get access to the most updated policy briefs and the latest resources, which gives us a better understanding of what lies at the forefront of science-based and policy research.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
Upon the completion of the programme I wish to kick-start my career in the energy and sustainability sector, focusing on the provision of environmental services and carbon and energy auditing assessments for corporates wishing to rethink their environmental and social footprint. I am passionate about exploring where the intersection between climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies and green investment lies, providing sound ecological and environmental analysis on public/private sector infrastructure projects.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?
I secured a job offer at the beginning of the second semester with the Scottish Southern Electric in Dublin, Ireland - working on renewable energy and sustainability as part of a rotational graduate scheme. I believe this job aligns well with the career path I would like to pursue, as it would enable me to be at the heart of the dialogue on clean-tech innovation, energy and carbon management strategies, energy optimisation strategies and environmental sustainability; promoting the transition to low carbon energy futures.
How did the services from Careers help you secure employment/in your professional development?
The Careers service guidance helped me in many ways. Starting with the refinement of my CV, consolidating it to a one-page document along with tailoring my cover letter. Finally, when the time for interviews came, going through practice runs, assessment centre mock tests and presentation reviews made the difference, as I was starting to feel better prepared and familiarised with the recruitment process.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
Being located at the heart of London, a major hub of innovation, assists in accelerating your career with daily events, workshops and business acceleration/incubation programmes and innovation forums that you can attend.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live at Gradpad Griffon Studios, recommended and run by Imperial at Clapham Junction. It’s a vibrant community in the Battersea area, only a 25-minute commute from South Kensington by public transport. This accommodation is dedicated to postgraduate students only and it is an ideal environment for someone looking for a quiet, but rather sociable place to live in.
When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?
In my free time I enjoy reading philosophy, attending plays (musicals) and touring London’s amazing art galleries. I also love going for jogs while listening to some music – I find it calming and a great way to wind down after a busy day. Finally, I love trying out new cuisines and expanding my recipe book.
What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?
Moving to London is not as daunting as it may seem. There is a good amount of properties out there. Plus, you can always live in student accommodation. My advice would be to look for flats early, know what distance you’re willing to travel to the Business School and familiarise yourself with the fast pace of life, especially when commuting on a daily basis.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?
I attended part of an online webinar. I give credit to the Programmes team for putting together a good amount of resources, along with organising a mini web-discussion forum with last year’s cohort. I found the testimonials provided by previous students helpful and easy to navigate. They explained the structure of the programme well, which made me feel confident about selecting this MSc and trusting my intuition.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
I would encourage prospective students to brush up their econometrics and statistics skills, saving them time from having to learn programming languages such as R from scratch. However, even if you don’t come from backgrounds that cover this in-depth, please don’t panic! Online modules prior to the start of the programme are offered, along with support at Imperial.
What helped me in deciding to apply for the programme was writing down how it could help me with my career path. I also wrote down my ambitions and motivations (which was great to use for job interviews). Lastly, come to Imperial with the mindset and drive to learn, engage in events and have fun!