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Testimonials

2012–2014 Master's Programme

Dave Disi

David Disi

Read Dave's blog about the Master's.

Dave currently works for J.P. Morgan in New York on the Emerging Markets Credit Desk where he focuses on corporations in emerging and frontier markets. Prior to that, he was a Ranger qualified infantry officer in the United States Army, where he served most recently in Riyadh as an advisor to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior. Dave also completed a combat tour in Afghanistan where he advised the Afghan National Police and in one in Iraq where he advised the Iraqi Army. Dave holds an MPA from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, an MBA from Columbia Business School, an MPhil in International Finance from The University of Glasgow, and a BA in Economics and Political Science from Hofstra University.

Why did you choose to study for a Master's in Sustainability Leadership?

Sustainability is a topic that will continue to increase in importance across all industries and sectors. I felt that this program offers some of the most current and comprehensive instruction on the subject.

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

My major role is a finance function but I have volunteered for numerous side initiatives and corporate programs that are attempting to advance sustainability agendas. I am also active in my free time mentoring entrepreneurs interested in sustainable development ventures. This degree has provided me with many skills that I can use to assist these ecopreneurs.

How do you think the MSt assists your work?

The MSt offers strong training in sustainability and is also an academically rigorous program that made me a better researcher and exposed me to numerous diverse individuals at the forefront of sustainability theory and practice. I will be able to use this knowledge both directly and indirectly in my career.

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the MSt?

The sheer breadth and depth of the workshop experiences at Cambridge have exposed me to some of the thought leaders in sustainably and also to my group of fellow students whom, in addition to being invaluable resources in the fields of sustainability, have become close friends over the past two years.

What impressed you about the Cambridge MSt as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

Academically, Cambridge has been a leader in the sustainability field for decades. In addition to academics though, the actual Cambridge experience is second to none. I have taken full advantage of membership in my college and have returned between scheduled workshops to enjoy much of what being a Cantabrian has to offer.


 

Teodoro KalawTeodoro Kalaw IV

Teddy is a partner of the Kalaw Sy Selva & Campos law firm in the Philippines. His legal practice focuses solely on the corporate governance and legal aspects of intellectual property, realty, and securities transactions; commercial litigation and dispute resolution; and public policy representation. He is the incumbent President of the Philippine Institute of Arbitrators (PIArb) and also serves as a trustee of the Institute of Corporate Directors of the Philippines (ICD). Teddy received his Master of Laws from Harvard Law School.

Why did you choose to study for a Master's in Sustainability Leadership?

My professional experience has convinced me that the concept of sustainability is the single most important perspective for addressing my country’s development context and challenges going forward, hence my decision to make a significant commitment to learning in this area.

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

Professionally, my participation in the program has added significant value to the public policy side of my law practice, not just in terms of having a broader perspective as to stakeholder issues but also an awareness of a greater range of options to address policy challenges. As a trustee of my country’s learned society for corporate directors, the program has enabled me to advocate a reorientation of our organization’s public agenda towards the concept in general, and applications for corporate boards in particular.

How do you think the MSt assists your work?

Working through the program’s content has also furnished me with an extensive conceptual toolkit for applying the concept in both my work and even in my personal life. I also rank highly the opportunity to continue to extend my knowledge and develop with the resources and network I was exposed to during my participation.

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the MSt?

Hands-down it would have to be my introduction to a vibrant community of leading thought leaders on the concept, not just from the actual presenters and facilitators but also from among my cohort.

What impressed you about the Cambridge MSt as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

The programme is unique in that it is among the first of its kind in the world. Being delivered by the University of Cambridge gives it a strong position to attract both leading scholars and practitioners at the cutting-edge of sustainability.


 

Deb ConnerDeb Conner

Deb completed the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business and also has a BA (hons) Art History and Anthropology and an MA Art History. Until currently she was responsible for UK Community Investment and development of KPMG social mobility programme and has 12 years working in not for profit sector, with Industrial Society, Action Resource Centre, Business in the Community. She has 2 years public sector experience with Lambeth Council, and 12 years working in private sector in CSR management roles. Deb is Director SGOSS (School Governor’s One Stop Shop), National Number Partner Consortium and was previously chair of Southwark Council for Voluntary Service, Lambeth Community Health Council, a member of Kings College Hospital Maternity Services Liaison Committee. She is currently a mentor for 2 students at Central Foundation Girls’ School, Tower Hamlets and member of Herne Hill Climate Change Forum.

Why did you choose to study for a Master's in Sustainability Leadership?

I wanted to take an academic approach to this broad subject, in order to take time to reflect, gather and better apply knowledge to making practical changes in my work.

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

Until recently, and for the last 4 years I have been working in KPMG to improve access to employment, in particular for under-represented socio-economic groups. This issue, the mobilisation of human and social capital in the context of developing a sustainable economy, is less considered in the developed world than developing economies. However, I believe that social mobility-and access to the ‘high status’ end of the labour market is a significant sustainability issue. Undertaking the MSt, and in particular the dissertation gave a fantastic opportunity to explore this and to apply academic ad practitioner research to real life business practice.

How do you think the MSt assists your work?

The MSt has enabled me to access a wealth of inputs, literature, speakers, tutors, and importantly fellow students to provide a view of the whole landscape-when it is too easy in a busy role to only be able to have sight of a local situation.

My new global network of colleagues will be the gift which keeps giving as we all continue with our work in the future.

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the MSt?

The dissertation: I have loved the opportunity to focus on an area of sustainability which matter hugely to me, my work, firm and industry for a prolonged period, and to bring to bear different perspectives on the question in hand.

What impressed you about the Cambridge MSt as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

The blend of academic and practical approaches to the real-life issues of building sustainability into business practice for short and long term gain for business and society.

2011–2013 Master's Programme

Ravi FernandoRavi Fernando

Ravi is the Operations Director at Malaysia Blue Ocean Strategy Institute. He holds an MBA from the University of Colombo and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He holds a Diploma in International Management and completed the Advanced Management Program at the INSEAD Business school. He is an alumnus of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, having completed the Climate Leadership Programme and the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business. He is the UN Global Compact Focal point for Sri Lanka and on the Boards of LOLC, World Vision, Environmental Foundation and Ceylon Asset Management Ltd. Previous roles included positions at Unilever, Sterling Health, SmithKline Beecham International and Reckitt Benckiser in CEO/Marketing Management positions. He was the former CEO Sustainability and Branding for MAS Holdings and SLINTEC (Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology). Ravi is a visiting faculty member at the Universitat of Pompeu Fabra Spain and University of Colombo MBA. In 2007 he won a "Global Strategy Leadership" award at the World Strategy Summit for his work on ethical branding for the Sri Lankan clothing and tea sectors.  

Why did you choose to study for a Master's in Sustainability Leadership? 

Because sustainability leadership in the corporate and public sector will be the most sought-after expertise in the coming decade as more and more understand the subject. 

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

Having joined a globally trend-setting strategy outfit, the intention is to sustainability-proof both strategy and innovation. 

How do you think the MSt assists your work?

The MSt exposes us to both the real world of sustainability practice and the academic theory behind it. This is a key blend we need as the subject needs solid science and strategic leadership.

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the MSt?

The opportunity to innovate and create sustainability strategies for the organisation I work with the direction of experts.

What impressed you about the Cambridge MSt as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

Having a Master's from Cambridge adds another dimension of credibility, as unlike most business schools and universities which are just now discovering the need and commercial opportunity, Cambridge University has championed the subject for over a decade!  


 

Amie ShuttleworthAmie Shuttleworth

Amie is an Environmental Manager at Sir Robert McAlpine Construction Company. She spent most of her childhood and schooling in Hong Kong, where she joined her first environmental group looking at ways in which rubbish and pollution could be reduced in the local area. She moved to Western Australia to study Science as an undergraduate, then travelled through Western Europe and ended in London. Amie joined Sir Robert McAlpine Construction Company and was sponsored to complete an Environmental Science degree at the University of London part-time whilst working as an Environmental Engineer. She has worked in this field for over six years on mixed developments in London. Her passion for the environment and engineering has enabled her to work on some high profile projects in the role of sustainability manager, which she thoroughly enjoys.

Why did you choose to study for a Master's in Sustainability Leadership? 

Sustainability is an increasingly important and discussed topic in the construction and property industry, where I work. My background is in the technical aspects of environmental science and construction and I felt that I needed a course which would give me the skills and contacts to progress a higher level of thinking as well as enhance my social sustainability knowledge.

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

My job role is hugely varied. I am involved in the design of sustainable buildings, sustainable procurement as well as the company's strategy for embedding sustainability throughout the business, which is construction management. This course is therefore hugely useful in ensuring that my company is up to date with the current sustainability agenda within the UK and most importantly, globally.

How do you think the MSt assists your work?

The MSt to date has hugely assisted my work. It has educated me on the boarder church of sustainability and given me goals to implement within my company which to date has made a difference not only on my projects but throughout the whole company. The assignments in the first year really force you to analyse your business, which has proved measurably useful to our operations director.

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the MSt? 

There have been two most valuable aspects: the quality of the staff who run the programme and the support get from them, as well as the students themselves. This course brings the great minds from around the world together who all are specialists in their own right in varying industries, but whom all share a common value, sustainability. It is hugely enriching and encouraging being surrounded by such people and has been personally extremely inspirational for me.

What impressed you about the Cambridge MSt as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

This Master's was the only comprehensive sustainability post-graduate course that I could find in the UK which offered working people the opportunity to complete it. It was very important to me that I could continue my career whilst also studying. The format and support from Cambridge really enables this to happen. Secondly, being Cambridge they have access to the best in the research field, which made me think that this would be on the cutting edge of knowledge. So far, this has certainly been true and I would wholly advocate it to anyone who is keen to learn more about embedding sustainability into their business. 

2010–2012 Master's Programme

Emily Davies

Emily Davies

Emily Davies is Senior Environment & Sustainability Advisor, Group HSEA, Amey plc. Having completed a Gap Year Commission with 42 Geographic Engineer Regiment in 2003–4, Emily went on to study physical geography at Durham University, with an interest in natural hazards. She then joined the Amey Leadership Graduate programme which involved a number of placements throughout the public services company. Project involvement included managing Amey’s input to the UK’s first Climate Change Festival, organising company involvement at the political party conferences, operational environmental management, creating carbon procedures and writing business cases for environmental campaigns. She began her current role at Amey within the Consultancy (Environment & Sustainability) branch of the company and am currently pulling together the Environmental Impact Assessment and Planning Application for Allerton Waste Recovery Park – North Yorkshire and the City of York’s waste PFI.

Why did you choose to study for a Master's in Sustainability Leadership?

I began working at my company 4.5 years ago, straight out of university with a degree in geography. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but thought I should give the corporate sector a whirl. I was keen to join a graduate programme titled the ‘Leadership Scheme’ having learnt about leadership during my gap year in the army – also promising 6-monthly rotations, which might help me focus my career. Two years went by and I found myself drawn to wanting to work in the CR team and trying to better understand corporate impacts on community, predominantly from an environmental view. Having finished the graduate programme and with no one leading on CR and sustainability I joined the Environment and Sustainability team in our Consulting division. In reality this was more of the former and I found myself working on a project delivering a waste solution for a local authority. With the sustainability buzz still in my head and a want to learn more (both what we could be doing better in my company, and what was going on out there in the wider world) I went searching for a sustainability Master's programme.

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

I’ve recently moved jobs and now find myself working in our HQ reviewing and coordinating the company's approach to sustainability. This is a position I’ve been waiting for, so was extremely glad when it came about. We’ve taken a back to basics review – right back to looking at definitions and what sustainability means to us, our clients, our competitors etc. which is something which the company had never done before. It’s exciting because I can put my learning into practice – however it’s much more practical than academic/theoretical at the moment – and in some cases still about convincing/influencing people for change.

How do you think the MSt assists your work?

The Mst has been great for embedding that systemic thinking into my head – everything is people/planet/profit, people/plant/profit, and I really try hard to take as broad an approach as possible. The Mst has given me examples to drawn on and fellow students to learn from.

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the MSt?

I find the people I’m taking the course with to be one of the most valuable aspects – theories and literature I can find, but talking them through with like-minded people and people that will challenge comments or opinions which others wouldn’t is great. With the vast amount of information available, the course has given me focus to concentrate on core elements – some I find more exciting than others, but I suppose this was the point of me doing the course – to work out what it is I want to do! For me, I suppose the course is about finding the questions that I want to ask, not necessarily about those that I want to answer. Conversations with many of my course mates have concluded that this MSt isn’t about another notch on the belt, but about putting it into practice and ultimately aspiring to be a leader in sustainability (or an aspect of it).

What impressed you about the Cambridge MSt as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

This was the only course that I found that had a flexible structure that allowed me to continue working, the part-time element was real pull for me. The clear benefits of the Cambridge Mst are the international intake, the Cambridge University resources and the vast Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership network of information and people to draw knowledge from. I also think I was particularly fortunate with my tutor in the first year – he was a great support to both my individual and group assignments. 


 

Laura DzelyteLaura Dzelzyte

Trained in the UK as a lawyer, Laura started her career as self-employed business advisor in London where, working with big companies in Russia such as MTS telecommunications and Russian Standard bank, she helped British companies to expand in Eastern Europe. Later, she set up an environmental transparency project GreenIndex in London, developing an eco-label and bringing academics and international consultants together to investigate the impact consumer goods have on the environment. Laura is now working as an advisor to the Lithuanian Government's Minister of Environment. She is one the architects of an innovative green investment scheme – a financial tool to trade carbon and provide funding to climate change programmes. She also serves as the Vice Chair of the national climate change committee, leading the development of long-term climate change strategy and was the head of the delegation to the UN climate change negotiations. In 2007, Management Today magazine and Shell named her as one of the 35 inspirational business women of the world. In 2008, she received “the Lithuanian Identity of the Year” award.

Why did you choose to study for a Master's in Sustainability Leadership? 

I was looking for a degree that would deepen my knowledge and understanding of climate change and ecosciences as well as the global issues of economic development and social responsibility. And I wanted to be taught by the best academics in the world. But I didn’t want to interrupt my career in sustainability as this is the area that develops fast and requires constant presence. Finding the right mix seemed like a mission impossible until last year I came to the University of Cambridge to do a climate change leadership programme and discovered that such multidisciplinary Master's degrees do exist. It was my dream come true, as if Cambridge created a programme that answers all the needs of young leaders who are looking to learn and implement sustainability strategies in their line of work.

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda? How do you think the MSt assists your work?

I am working as a climate change advisor to the Minister of Environment in the Government of Lithuania. I am responsible for leading the drafting of the national long-term climate change strategy which is underpinned by the carbon trade. Understanding better scenarios for the future, global issues, socio-economic trends, technological innovations and environmental vulnerabilities would allow me to understand better what countries like Lithuania need to address in the coming decade and beyond.

What impressed you about the Cambridge MSt as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

In Cambridge you are not only getting the scientific data first hand, you work on it, you brainstorm the development models for the future with world-renowned academics and you share and test your own ideas that will hopefully shape a more sustainable world in the future. And all of it is in the spirit of 800 years educating world leaders. Studying in Cambridge is an inspiration underpinned by knowledge – the combination that drives the world forward, hopefully to a more sustainable future. 


 

Karen GoldbergKaren Goldberg

Karen has 12 years of experience working in sustainability in a range of fields, including environmental consulting, community liaison, wilderness guiding, facilitation, counselling and coaching. This is built on a foundation of a BSc Honours focusing on terrestrial and freshwater ecology. She is currently employed as a Sustainability Consultant. Previously she spent 5 years working for the Environmental Monitoring Group, a not-for-profit environmental justice organisation based in Cape Town South Africa, where her work focused on water and sanitation, sustainable land management, climate change adaptation and environmental education and training. 

Why did you choose to study for a Master's in Sustainability Leadership?

I had been intending to further my studies in 2010 and had already applied and been accepted into a PhD. I had been searching of ways of linking my interest and skills in personal development and psychotherapy within the sustainability context. As I was writing an abstract for a conference, based on my PhD proposal, it suddenly struck me that what connects all the different strands is leadership development within the context of sustainability. As soon as I realised this, I did an online search of Master's courses in Sustainability Leadership can came across the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership course, which was still under development. What I loved about the programme outline was that it covered all the gaps in my knowledge (e.g. economics and politics as it related to sustainability), and also very specifically brings together the subject of leadership within the sustainability context. My particular interest is in creating processes and programmes for developing leadership at all levels that is socially and environmentally aware and motivated to make a positive impact in the world.

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

I am working freelance, broadly as a sustainability consultant. All my work connects with the sustainability agenda in one way or another. For example, I am currently involved in a project with the eThekwini Municipality that is undertaking a cost-benefit analysis of climate change adaptation options for the city of Durban. I am helping develop and facilitate a sustainability leadership youth programme with the organisation Project 90x2030.

How do you think the MSt assists your work?

In general, the Master's course is equipping me with the information and networks that I need for my future work. My dissertation in particular, is proving to be pivotal in this regard. As part of the thesis, I am developing a model for enhancing personal agency and sustaining momentum in the face of climate change, that will provide the central backbone for both my personal and professional practice (i.e. enhancing my own agency and facilitating the same for others). On completion of my Master's, I plan to use my thesis as the basis for a book that I intend to write on the importance of developing emotional intelligence and inter-relational tools and skills as central to achieving a sustainable world.

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the MSt?

Connecting with people and networks that I would never otherwise have had access to (this includes both my classmates and many of the presenters) has been invaluable. I have really appreciated the flexibility and open-mindedness of the staff of the programme, especially the course director, to allow us all to explore the aspects of sustainability leadership that most interest us. I also deeply value the systemic approach that the MSt takes, in particular the dual awareness of the complexity of the issues, and the need to move beyond incremental change to much bolder approaches and action.

What impressed you about the Cambridge MSt as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

The Cambridge Master's combined all the elements that I was looking for in a highly interdisciplinary way (the fact that the course is held within 6 different faculties speaks for itself!) – a focus on sustainability leadership in particular, as opposed to a focus on either sustainability or leadership, and also addressing the spectrum of issues and topics. 


 

Rodney IrwinRodney Irwin

Rodney is the Group Director Risk Management and Internal Control at TNT NV. He is responsible for TNT’s compliance programme His professional portfolio also extends into the area of Corporate Responsibility for which he is responsible for external and internal report of TNT’s social and environmental performance. He is also the Chair of TNT’s risk management council and an active member of TNT’s ethics, disclosure and corporate responsibility committees. Prior to his current role, Rodney was the head of TNT’s international audit function and before joining TNT he held a variety of positions in Public Accounting. Rodney holds an Honours Bachelor's degree in Economics from the Queens University of Belfast, a Master's Degree in Management form Birmingham City University and a Doctorate in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from ISM in Paris and New York. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, a Specialist Member of the Institute of Risk Management London and is a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional.

Why did you choose to study for a Master's in Sustainability Leadership?

I chose to study for the MSt in Sustainability Leadership as I became responsible for my employer's corporate responsibility reporting in 2008 and was shocked by the lack of a holistic approach to sustainability. I observed that both internal and external stakeholders had a narrow focus on their 'cause' or function. This meant that environmentalists rarely understood social and H&S issues and vice versa, whilst many business leaders did not see the benefits of sustainability as the people tasked with promoting it did not have a comprehensive business knowledge and lacked credibility. I now have to play a key role in Corporate Responsibility for my employer, therefore I decided to read for a degree that I believe will provide the opportunity to gain an holistic overview of the issues, how they interact and how advances in technology, regulation, governance and academic research can help achieve long-term sustainability in both shareholder and other stakeholder value.

What role have you been undertaking in your company recently? How does this connect to the sustainability agenda?

I am the Group Director of Risk Management, Internal Control and CR Reporting at TNT NV based in the Netherlands. My portfolio requires leadership of TNT's enterprise risk-management programme, the design and assurance of TNT's internal control over financial reporting (formerly Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance), consolidation, analysis and reporting of TNT's Corporate Responsibility performance, the development and management of all Group Policies and I am responsible for Quality, Environmental and Health and Safety management at TNT's Group Head Office. I believe that management and achievement of a sustainability agenda is essentially a component of effective risk management. Failure to identify, prioritise and manage or mitigate an entities risks related to its responsibilities to all stakeholders will lead to value destruction over time either through reputational damage, financial sanctions, missed opportunities and product obsolescence or a combination of all these factors

How do you think the MSt assists your work?

I believe the multi-disciplinary nature of the MSt will provide an excellent opportunity to acquire insights into sustainability issues and challenges and will provide a plethora of ideas for their management and resolution in a unique holistic way as the degree has a wide range of subjects that are studied. I am a firm believer that benchmarking and action learning are the most valuable way of challenging established ways of thinking and working and therefore I hope that reading for the MSt will also bring me into contact with other practitioners from which to learn.

What impressed you about the Cambridge MSt as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

First and foremost this is a Cambridge degree. The international reputation of this historic university validates the quality and rigour of the academic experience. Secondly the MSt is holistic in content and this is primarily that I was looking for. There are a host of courses on the market in reputable schools but few are holistic as they tend to be biased in favour of the environment or social issues. 


 

Shayne Vervoort

Shayne Vervoort

Shayne is a Marketing Manager for McKinsey based in South Africa. He holds a Honours in BComm Actuarial Science (Stellenbosch University, South Africa) and a Master of Science in General Management (Nyenrode Business University).

Why did you choose to study for a Master's in Sustainability Leadership? 

I have an undergraduate degree in Actuarial Science. This rigorously tests one's ability to get to the 'right' answer – normally correct to the fifth decimal point. Real business problems however are more complex. The polarised world of Actuarial Science didn't seem to give all the answers in a world of grey tones. The Master's in Sustainability Leadership was a step towards trying to understand what different solutions could look like, but more importantly it was a step towards understanding the problem. 

How do you think the MSt assists your work?

The course has improved my ability to identify interdependencies in problem solving and projects. This is crucial. The MSt gave me insight into interdependencies that I could apply to daily problems and projects.

What have you found to be the most valuable aspect of the MSt? 

I have really gained from the thought leadership. In a daily job you miss being pushed on a thought leadership front. I'm not an academic but being pushed into that thought leadership has given me an edge in the business world.

What impressed you about the Cambridge MSt as opposed to other courses on offer elsewhere?

The ability to do it while working – the part-time aspect. It's been difficult to balance but if it hadn't been offered part-time I wouldn't have done it. Classmates have been another huge bonus – the quality of people doing the course is amazing. I think one of the big points of differentiation are that this Master's is born from 20 years of experimenting in the academic field of sustainability. The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership has years of experience in facilitating sustainability leadership programmes and that experience filters through to an A-grade course. Normal programmes would still be finding their feet after a few years but the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership has taken its learning from the last 20 years and effortlessly put it into a Master's programme that one would think has been going on for years.