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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Graduate studies workshop

Our postgraduate programmes have been designed and scheduled specifically for professionals in full-time employment and offer content that is directly transferable to their work context. 

Students are actively encouraged to apply insights, bringing immediate value to organisations, in the form of innovative thinking, improved engagement, and practical business impact.  


Building the case for employer support 

If you are seeking support from your employer, it may be helpful to prepare the following: 

  • Undertake a skills gap analysis – think through where you currently fit in your organisation and how the course will enhance the contribution you wish to make 

  • Match your objectives in undertaking the programme to those of your organisation by using the curriculum content listed on our webpages 

  • Share the detailed alumni testimonials as past students illustrate how the programmes have bought value for them and their organisations  

  • Consider a strategic issue facing the organisation that you could analyse in more detail for the assignments – this ensures a project of direct relevance to you and results in a valuable piece of internal consultancy work for your organisation

  • For Masters programmes: identify a research topic that is of relevance to the organisation and your career trajectory


Innovative thinking

If you are seeking support from your employer, it may be helpful to prepare the following: 

  • Attendees engage openly with innovators from business and leading academic thinkers to critique and explore the latest thinking in strategic responses to sustainability challenges and opportunities

  • The strong emphasis on peer-based supported learning amongst the high calibre of students provides a unique space for ideas to form and take shape before implementation by the organisation

  • Cohorts represent a diverse range of industries, geographies and operational functions, reflecting the interconnected global economy. Insight into different economies, regions and sectors provides students with the ability to help their organisation identify new ways of responding to complex challenges and the potential for new business opportunities


"I have been able to better implement sustainability strategies throughout the whole supply chain of my brand Rakha. I believe my final research on circular economy relating to the fashion industry will be very beneficial to help Rakha lead circularity as a 21st century fashion brand."

Gozde Taskin, Founder, Rakha

"It instilled greater awareness and a deeper level of understanding and that gave me so much more confidence to utilise my newfound knowledge within the work environment."

Dr Carole Anne Wilkinson, lobal Fabrics Sustainability Team, W.L. Gore & Associates


Improved engagement

  • Access to the latest knowledge from research and industry best practice allows students to approach their work with confidence

  • Students are equipped to become effective change agents within their organisational contexts, providing them with a language to engage with customers and investors, as well as strategies to secure internal engagement

  • As such, the potential for wider engagement and development within the organisation is considerable, maximising the returns from the initial investment in a student


"I am certain that I will be able to apply the information and lessons learned during this course in my daily work at GSK. The workshop provided good networking opportunities, which I believe will be helpful in my daily work and in my future career within sustainability."

Caroline Ruter, Supply Chain Sustainability Manager, GlaxoSmithKline plc

"I enjoy having the access to people and information in a broader network that can complement my own areas of expertise and skill. It is helpful to have sounding boards with different backgrounds and perspectives."

Yvette Nowell, Head of the RMB Fund, Rand Merchant Bank


Business impact

  • Assignments are designed specifically to provide students with the opportunity to focus on transferable practical solutions, with the purpose of enhancing business value for their organisation, alongside increasing their value to society

  • Students determine the focus of their individual assignments, receiving personalised support from expert industry and academic supervisors. Employer involvement in the assignment process ensures that relevant projects are being addressed, enhancing the transfer of expertise into the organisation and effectively receiving bespoke consultancy

  • Decision-making is enhanced, as students’ awareness of critical issues and risks is improved, and innovative thinking applied to ensure future business activity is resilient and responsible


Employer commitment

Students will typically benefit from having the support of their employer, or another relevant supporting organisation. This support would typically include: 

  • Being released from work duties to attend residential workshops

  • Providing access to data or interviewees to inform their individual assignments

Some employers may additionally choose to provide: 

  • Study leave for research/writing of assignments

  • Financial support towards the course fees and/or accommodation/subsistence during the residential workshops

  • Opportunities to undertake personal reflection, apply the learning in practice and/or gain relevant practical experience related to the themes of the programme

  • Mentorship by a senior colleague to ensure that both the employer and employee gain maximum value from the experience