MSc Student Reflections
Over 350 students have successfully graduated from Oxford's most competitive and popular graduate science course since its creation in 1994. Many have gone on to successful careers related to the environment in some shape or form; be it in business, governments, NGOs or through research. Read what a selection of our alumni thought of their year in Oxford and what they are doing now below.
ECI frequently organises internships for our students including an annual intership to the European Investment Bank.
Podcasts & Webcasts
- 2008/09 Reflections from Hispanic students - in spanish
- 2007/08 Reflections from students Max Edkins and Astrid Westerlind-Wigstrom
- YouTube videos (unofficial content by the students)
Matt Somerville 04/05
Katerina Umpfenbach 06/07
Denise Noblot-Celeghin 06/07
Eleanor Latrobe-bateman 04/05
Kim Polgreen 94/95
Rachel Cunningham-Day 95/96
Patrick Chung 96/97
Tomoki Fujii 97/98
Anna Schin 97/98
Márcio Paludo Mondin 97/98
Randall Martin 97/98
Sarah Keay-Bright 98/99
Lan Luan 98/99
Malte Meinshausen 99/00
Frauke Munster 99/00
Bernhard Raberger 99/00
Rusong Li 99/00
Lioudmila Ametistova 99/00
Carlos Guerra 01/02
Craig Hanson 00/01
Gareth Morgan 02/03
Ayub Osman 00/01
Ishmael Dodoo : MSc 2007/2008
When I won the Norman and Ivy Lloyd African Scholarship for a competitive graduate science course at the ECI, Oxford University, I felt very humbled; being an African coming to study in Oxford this felt like a big challenge. The course had already developed a reputation for high standards and academically strong students. But thanks to my course mates I found myself settling in quickly. I was amazed at their support and the high quality of interaction we had. In particular the frequent spontaneous policy thinking debates that found their way into our lecture sessions. I could recall with nostalgia the level of knowledge exchanged; the depth of experience shared from different backgrounds and the innovative solutions espoused for some of the most challenging environmental and development problems of our time- climate change, poverty and responsible environmental governance.
I gained a lot not only from the course but also from my course mates! The knowledge and experience gained from the course has certainly helped in my professional practice as an Environmental Consultant with ProForest Ltd, a very dynamic natural resource consultancy also based in Oxford. Particularly, international perspectives developed through the course made a lot of difference to some of the challenges I faced in my professional practice which includes facilitating a global multi-stakeholder initiative for developing the first ever global certification scheme for sustainable palm oil and contributing to similar processes for soy and other biofuel feed stocks commodity initiatives across the world.
Also as an African, the course enabled me make significant contributions to environmental sustainability policy debates within the region and in particular my native Ghana.
Recently, I have been recruited for the UNDP Leadership Development Programme (LEAD)- a highly competitive recruitment process. My portfolio will involve helping to direct the UN system’s operations, policy and programmes in various African countries in the following practicing areas: poverty reduction, environment and development, democratic governance etc. This is another fabulous opportunity and part of the credit goes to the ECI, Norman and Lloyd African scholarship, my former course mates and my professorial mentors; I am very grateful indeed!"
Denise Noblot-Celeghin : MSc 2006/2007
Choosing to do the Environmental Change and Management masters was one of the best decisions I have made yet. After completing my undergraduate degree, I worked in marketing for one year and then in education for two years, and while I enjoyed the work, I did not find the jobs very fulfilling. I then decided to merge my passion for the environment with my interest in working with people and applied for the ECM masters at Oxford.
Initially I was a bit apprehensive about how I fit into the course as my academic background was in International Development and Communication and I had no professional experience relating to the environment. In the end this was not a problem, however, as the interdisciplinary nature of the course provided a wide enough platform to cater to each student’s differing interests and experiences.
With regards to the course, I really enjoyed the breadth of students this masters attracted. Some students, like me, had roamed around different parts of the world and as a result, had no clear cultural ties or even nationality. Other colleagues, while well-travelled, had strong roots to their respective countries and cultures. Another aspect of the course which I really enjoyed was the age range amongst our group and the differing academic/professional backgrounds between students. This was an amazing year in both academic and personal terms! I would be happy to speak to anybody who would like to know more about the ECM masters.
Katharina Umpfenbach: MSc 2006/2007
Studying at ECI was the best academic preparation I could have had for my current career in energy policy research. But more importantly, it was also one of the richest personal experiences in my life. I met and bonded with a group of people so diverse and so fun, driven by a common passion, but approaching it from ever so different angles. Thanks to the fieldtrips and John Boardman’s care we all grew together and remain friends and cherished colleagues today.
I decided to apply for the M.Sc. course while finishing my M.A. in history, political science and economics in Berlin, Germany. My studies and two internships at UNEP and in the German parliament had made me understand that I wanted to dedicate my work to environmental policy. Although I had already attended a few seminars on environmental policies and economics in my previous studies the M.Sc. programme was extremely enriching. It covered a breadth of topics in an interdisciplinary approach – so fundamental for environmental questions – and allowed at the same time to study some subjects in depth during the option courses.
After the M.Sc. programme I returned to Berlin and joined Ecologic Institute, a think tank for applied environmental research and policy consultancy. As in Oxford, I focus on sustainable energy policy, but many other issues covered by the M.Sc., from biodiversity to environmental law, come up frequently in the projects I am working on.
Matt Somerville : MSc 2004/2005
I am an American ecologist/educator by training with a holistic approach to research and life. The ECI MSc offered me the opportunity to explore a wide variety of disciplines in a short period of time. There was flexibility in the course for individuals to delve deeply into their personal interests in topics, such as carbon finance, sustainable transport and biodiversity. At the same time we were all exposed to general methods and approaches in environmental policy. In addition to quality of the ECI coursework, Oxford provides a unique learning environment for everyone. On any given day, I could attend my MSc lectures, read in Bodleian, sit in on a seminar by a preeminent scholar, play a game of squash and have a pint at a new pub. While this may describe my ideal day, there are countless opportunities to explore your own interests and make Oxford your ideal learning environment. Since the end of the course, I have directed a small international school, finished a PhD on payments for ecosystem services in Madagascar and consulted in international environmental negotiations. I continue to meet ECI colleagues at international negotiations and academic conferences around the world. At the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Talks, despite the lack of success by nations to come to an agreement, the ECI had a successful dinner with over 40 alumni, including almost 20% of my class. The core group of alumni from my class remain some of my closest friends and collaborators. These individuals have helped me in my research and career, and opened numerous doors for my personal development. The depth and breadth of this ECI network is unparalleled in the field of international environmental policy, and I have felt privileged to be a member of this great community. My year on the MSc was one of the most rewarding years of my life and I look forward to continuing to be inspired by the work of individuals who passed through the ECI.
Eleanor Latrobe-bateman: MSc 2004/2005
After willingly accepting to write upon my reflections of the Environmental Change and Management course, I now have realised how difficult it is to summarise everything that that the course has done for me, all lessons learnt, all new experiences and people it has exposed me too, and how it has changed me. To fully give credit to all that may take a book, (well at least a small brochure). So anyway, here goes with a shortened attempt of summarising the best year of my life so far…
I came to the course straight from a Biological Science undergraduate degree also at Oxford, and despite a previous 3 years within the Oxford Institution, the course was a big change for me. I was suddenly the youngest, one of the few British students, and felt by far the least experienced in the world and/or in environmental sciences. The diverse mix of students from around the world, with a diversity of knowledge and interests I found was one of the strongest attributes of the course. As a Brit I found myself having to learn more about Britain in order to not only explain things about the culture to other nationalities, but also to discuss and appreciate the differences with other countries, (especially thanks to Nick for this). It is the people that pass through the Boardman selection process that make the course truly special, and their mix of experience and cultures. Not only do you learn a wealth of knowledge from the lectures, option classes, workshops and field trips, but you learn so much from your peers within this time.
Field trips have also been one of the best features of this course for me. The trips to Devon, South Downs, the Centre for Alternative Technology, the Lake District and option trip to Brussels, gave the time and space to not only experience new places, and different practices; but to develop strong relations with others, and to learn through a very social process. These trips even made soil erosion interesting!
So at the end of this course I think I have changed a lot; through the amount that I have learnt, through all I have experienced with people from different cultures and nationalities, and from the relationships that I have developed with them. I now feel more confident, feel wiser and despite developing extreme energy saving compulsive disorder, would not have given the last year up for anything.
Gareth Morgan : MSc 2002/2003
I was accepted into the MSc in Environmental Change and Management having no formal background in environmental studies. But that is the beauty of this course. The course director puts together a diverse group of students with different academic and professional backgrounds, representing usually every continent on the planet. It was always enriching to be able to discuss issues with classmates with very different life experiences.
I found the MSc to be well structured. The courses are relevant and mostly pitched at an intermediate level, with plenty of opportunities to develop enhanced knowledge in particular fields through the options and the dissertation. The staff are professional and friendly. The field trips are an absolute highlight, and a great opportunity to develop good friendships with fellow students and staff.
The MSc provided me with a sound grounding in environmental affairs. It was perhaps only after I left Oxford that I realised how much I had learnt. There has been many a day when I have thought back to my time in the MSc course and felt thankful of the opportunities I received.
Upon returning to South Africa I ran for parliament and was elected as a MP for the Democratic Alliance, the official opposition party. After a brief term as Parliamentary Counsellor to the Leader of the Opposition, I became the party spokesperson on environmental affairs and tourism. I also became a member of the G8+5 Climate Dialogue. My portfolio work includes a significant amount of legislation and oversight, but I have always been confident in my contributions to the parliamentary processes. I credit much of this to my good grounding in the MSc.
Environmental Affairs Budget Debate, June 19th 2009, by Gareth Morgan
Carlos Guerra: MSc 2001/2002
I obtained my medical degree in Quito , Ecuador and worked in medical practice for a couple of years before deciding to search for post-graduate studies in environmental sciences. In the mean time I did some environmental work back home, through which I was given the opportunity to come to Oxford on a scholarship from the Shell Centenary Scholarship Foundation.
It was the interdisciplinarity of the course that attracted my attention to the ECI. This was just what I needed, as it allowed me to focus on my own interests and tailor what the course had to offer according to them. This is how, for instance, I engaged in the research that led to my thesis project, which investigated the potential impacts of climate change in malaria distribution. Thanks to this project I started a DPhil programme at the Department of Zoology here in Oxford . At present, my work looks at mapping the global limits of malaria and its endemic levels as part of the Malaria Atlas Project (Map - www.map.ox.ac.uk). The course gave me the opportunity to combine my medical background with my newly acquired environmental knowledge, and I am extremely thankful for that.
Ayub Osman : MSc 2001/2002
Oxford can be overwhelming at first and being thrown into a pool of about 30 "hand-picked" students who share a thirst for knowledge can be floundering. Prior to winning the Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford, I had heard of the MSc and the outstanding cohort it amasses each year to learn, exchange ideas and get involved in intellectually stimulating conversations on environmental issues. Holding an environmental science degree, I was astonished that only about 20% of my class shared a similar background and the other 80% comprised of, among others, lawyers, accountants, previous McKinsey consultants, engineers, biologists and even historians! We all, however, had a collective passion for environmental issues and this was heaved after an intense, information-laden but extremely electrifying and enjoyable year. The course and Oxford were already exceeding my initial expectations.
Two divergent highlights of the year for me were the lasting friendships I made and the fact that I could explore my research interests in the African continent. Within the year I managed to publish a paper on Waste in Africa, research and write on land degradation in Africa and even pack a month's travel to a Zambian wetland to study the impacts of copper mining! All this was achieved with the excellent support of the Environmental Change Institute (ECI)! I moved on from the ECI to do an MBA at Oxford, but I loved the people and the ECI so much that I returned to consult on an extended project trading methane in financial markets. If I had a choice, I would turn the clock back and re-live the year once again!
Craig Hanson: MSc 2000/2001
Oxford's MSc in Environmental Change and Management was the perfect means for me to make a career change. After being a corporate management consultant for five years, I wanted to pursue my true passion, environmental protection. The MSc program provided me with a solid foundation in the environmental sciences and exposed me to the latest thinking in environmental management and policy. Thanks to the program and its professors, I was able to make the switch from the corporate to the non-profit sector. I am now a Senior Associate with the World Resources Institute in Washington D.C. where I manage a unique partnership dedicated to building corporate markets for green power.
Lioudmila Ametistova: MSc 1999/2000
When I won a scholarship to study at Oxford, the only thing I could think of was OXFORD! With a background in physical oceanography (from Moscow State University, Russia ), the first challenge was to deal with and digest the diversity of subjects offered in the course. The variety of expertise my fellow classmates possessed was amazing. Suddenly I was a representative of my country and my field of knowledge. During after lecture, lunch, tea and night time discussions, I had to support my point of view firmly and express it clearly. With no previous experience in public debates or presentations, this was another big challenge for me.
The Oxford MSc year was one of the most intense and focused times in my life. A good indicator might be that being a passionate reader I didn't finish a single fiction book during that year. But the knowledge I gained, people I met, things I realized and experienced, affected my after-Oxford life and will be reflected further, I'm sure. Thanks to the MSc year, I gained the chance to do PhD in my dream country - Australia, completed a marathon and developed friendships from 16 countries around the world. Still most importantly, I believe that it taught me to be open to other people's mentalities and views. It was a great time, powerful and eventful, challenging and creative.
Frauke Munster : MSc 1999/2000
I embarked on the MSc in Environmental Change and Management having previously completed an undergraduate degree in environmental sciences at the University of Cape Town and a postgraduate degree in water resource management at Rhodes University in South Africa. The MSc degree at the Environmental Change Institute provided a fantastic opportunity to build on these degrees and obtain an international perspective on environmental issues, management approaches and new initiatives.
Highlights of the course include the exposure to leading speakers, thinkers and doers in the field of environmental management; sharing learning experiences with classmates from 17 different countries; the spirit and camaraderie between and amongst the students and the lecturers; and the interesting and diverse fieldtrips to different corners of England and Wales.
Having returned to South Africa at the end of 2000, shortly after completing the MSc, I initially worked as a researcher for the Southern African component of the Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development Project (MMSD). Thereafter I spent four years at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) where I was involved in the research, development and implementation of environmental assessment and management tools and best practice guidelines. In 2006 I joined the Southern African office of Environmental Resources Management (ERM) where I am currently involved in the management and review of environmental assessments and management plans. The focus of my work is to improve the integration of environmental and social considerations into the planning, design and implementation of extractive industry and industrial sector developments.
Malte Meinshausen: MSc 1999/2000
The Environmental Change and Management course at the ECI was definitely the most refreshing piece of my education so far. On top of the fond memories I have of the whole year, was the diverse group of engaged classmates. I enjoy thinking back to the times when we were running through the parks and sitting in the library during long nights finishing our essays for the next morning. Writing essays on policy relevant issues under time constraints was probably the most fruitful lesson for me.
After leaving the ECI, I first finished my Environmental Sciences Diploma course that I had started at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. I stayed in Zurich thereafter in order to conduct a PhD in international climate policy. I now work on the issue of climate policy at the UN Climate Change Conferences for Greenpeace International. In fact, I first got in touch with the Greenpeace folk thanks to my MSc thesis here at the ECI. Studying at the ECI definitely coloured the path that I strolled along since then.
Bernhard Raberger: MSc 1999/2000
Prior to the ECI MSc I was a law graduate from Vienna (undergrad) and Edinburgh (postgrad), and had worked for the Austrian Environmental Protection Agency. After Oxford I went on to the University of St. Gallen/Switzerland, where I conducted research and teaching in European/international law and Kyoto mechanisms, and consulting for international organisations/private sector clients. Four years ago, I started at Austria 's largest electric utility company (Verbund). After two years in trading and another as the CEO´s assistant I am today responsible for the company's international expansion, a head of its corporate development department. I am married to Marie Theres, a HR consultant and we have a son, Florian and a daughter Sophie.
Having talked my way into a British Council/FCO Chevening scholarship, the sails were set for commencing the ECI´s MSc in Environmental Change and Management. You will not be surprised that my trust in (former) Director John Boardman and his peers of the selection committee is all-encompassing. The high applicant number shouldn't discourage you. If you are right for the place - and if the place is right for you - you'll get in. I only found out during the year, what privilege it actually was to have been accepted onto the course.
The sky is the limit: I know it sounds cheesy, but this is a key takeaway for me and something that becomes clearer with every year of working experience. Mixing with such high-calibre students, researchers and teachers, and testing your assumptions in that forum, really gives you a sense of security in defining your own way.
Rusong Li: MSc 1999/2000
I came to the programme having worked for several years in environmental areas as a governmental servant in a provincial Environmental Protection Bureau in China. I had hands on, ground-level experience, but very little knowledge of broader development concepts and international exposure.
I applied for the MSc in Environmental Change and Management at the ECI in Oxford for three reasons. First of all, the appeal of the magic word OXFORD, with its great combination of tradition and innovation. I knew I needed access to one of the best credibility institutions in the world to pull me out from the local level. Secondly, because of my interest in broader issues, I wanted a course that fitted in well with my career aspirations. And thirdly, I wanted to build up an international network.
For me, Oxford has been a sanctuary for rediscovering myself and mapping my career ahead, and the course delivered on all counts. After graduating, I went back to my old job-but only for one year. Then my Oxford network (one of my alumni informed me of the vacancy) moved me over to the British Council Beijing Office as a Science Manager. Now I am the Biodiversity Programme Manager at UNDP China Country Office.
Sarah Keay-Bright : MSc 1998/1999
Applying for the MSc was one of the best things I have ever done as it enabled me to change my career - but in a way that far exceeded my exectations. I started the MSc in 1998, three years after graduating with an MEng in Chemical Engineering and European Studies. During these three years I had briefly experienced life as a chemical engineer, journalist and TV documentary researcher. Environmental issues had always interested me, but working in media increased my awareness such that in 1998 I decided I wanted to expand my knowledge of environmental issues. However, I didn't want to become a specialist - I wanted to truly understand the 'big picture', which is largely why I chose ECI's MSc. At this time I didn't have a particular vision as to how I would like my career to develop, but I figured that this would become clearer at the end of the course.
The MSc course exceeded all my expectations. Not only are so many subjects covered (by leading experts), but the close supervision means that learning progress is swift. The mutli-cultural make-up of the students on the course also adds a great deal to the learning experience. The social life within the course, the University and the town of Oxford is pretty good too!
After graduating in 1999, I went on to do a traineeship in the European Commission (largely thanks to my MSc dissertation) which was followed by 15 months with a Brussels-based environmental lobby group, the European Environmental Bureau. I've also worked as a researcher with the ECI and asa consultant with Oxera. From November 2001, I worked for a year as assistant director for policy development for the passenger watchdog, the London Transport Users Committee, which involved monitoring the Mayor of London's transport policies - including the infamous congestion charge! In November 2002, I was accepted by the UK civil service on to its European fast-stream programme - so will begin my next adventure with the UK Treasury.
Lan Luan : MSc 1998/1999
With a B.A. in English literature and four years of working experience with the Chinese government in water resources management, I couldn’t find a better program than this MSc in Environmental Change and Management to prepare myself for future career advancement. The program offers courses on wide inter-disciplinary areas with flexibility in choosing one's specific interest. The diversified backgrounds of peers and close family atmosphere are such valuable assets that you couldn’t find from any other programs. I am doing my MBA program now and working towards one of the most promising and booming fields, Socially Responsible Investments. In this niche market, I could leverage my strengths in environmental management and finance knowledge.
Tomoki Fujii: MSc 1997/1998
I have been interested in environmental issues since I was in junior high school. As I continued to read more about issues relating to the environment, it became increasingly clear to me that narrowly-minded specialism would only make things worse. This thought lead me on to a degree in general systems studies in college. I learned a variety of topics and methods in natural sciences that are both directly and indirectly relevant to the environment. While I was quite content with the interdisciplinary environment in my college, I wanted to focus on environment.
The Oxford's MSc program seemed perfect for me, and it was indeed; I learned about the environment from the world's leading researchers with different backgrounds. Having students from every continent, but Antarctica, the international environment was very stimulating and also an excellent place to learn the diversity of values. I was very fortunate that I had an opportunity to visit interesting places during the field trips.
After the MSc program, I decided to pursue my doctoral degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics as I wanted to study environmental economics further. While I am still on my way to complete my doctoral degree program, I have had chances to work for the World Bank and the World Food Programme as a consultant. Without the MSc program, I would not have been able to imagine my working for international organisations.
Anna Schin: MSc 1997/1998
As an undergraduate, I studied Environmental Sciences and Law at Kazan and Moscow State Universities, supplemented with one year of the American Environmental Law studies at the Suffolk University in Boston, USA.
This background enabled me to get a job in the environmental, health and safety division of the Arthur D. Little management consultancy ( Moscow office). However, after two years of environmental auditing and EIA-related experience in Russia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, I realised that I needed to gain a broader perspective of international environmental agenda and a deeper understanding of best international practices applied to management of various environmental issues. Coming from a country, which is in the transition from a totalitarian to a democratic regime, I was especially interested in the issue of environmental human rights, such as the right on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental decision making - those embraced by the 1998 UN ECE Aarhus Convention.
Therefore, I devoted my MSc thesis to this topic and applied to EBRD's( the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) Environment Department for a summer internship to be able to use its projects as the case studies for my thesis. Five years down the road, I am still enjoying the professional challenges of EBRD, working on the environmental appraisal of the oil and gas, transport and financial intermediaries projects mainly in the FSU countries.
I regard the MSc in Environmental Change and Management at Oxford as an internationally-acknowleged professional platform, which enabled me to get a much sought after job with an international financial institution, expanded my professional network and, last but not least, gave me life time friends from all over the world.
Randall Martin: MSc 1997/1998
I first learned about the MSc upon completion of a BS in engineering. At that time I was seeking a one-year program that presented a broad introduction to the environment. The MSc was a perfect fit! It provided the context and foundation for a subsequent PhD in atmospheric science. Some of my most cherished friendships were developed during the MSc. I'm currently an assistant professor in Physics and Atmospheric Science at Dalhousie University, where I teach and conduct research about climate change and air pollution.
Márcio Paludo Mondin: Msc 1997/1998
Hi! My name is Márcio Paludo Mondin and I am from Brazil though officially I'm Brazilian and Italian. I obtained my BSc in Biological Sciences at the University of Săo Paulo, Brazil, and went on to do my Oxford MSc in Environmental Change and Management in 1997/1998.
I reached the ECI MSc inspired by my passion for nature and the awareness that "environmentalism" requires a degree of interdisciplinarity which is not addressed in classic scientific courses. During the MSc I fell in love with the theme of global warming and went on to write my dissertation on'Modelling the Potential Effects of Future Climate Change on Soybean Yields: a Case Study in Brazil'. When I returned to Brazil, I joined a German Consulting firm (IFAO) involved in developing and implementing all aspects of production systems, including ISO 14000. I also developed a series of workshops and lectures in universities entitled 'Global Warming: the Certainty of an Uncertain Future', aiming at increasing awareness and promoting debate.
The very wide perspective of the MSc gave me an enormous advantage in that I have been able to coordinate teams from very diverse fields of expertise knowing many aspects of all of them. Today I'm also teaching 'Environmental Projects and Proposals' for the MBA in Environment at the University Tuiuti of Paraná, Brazil. If you can read in Portuguese you can check it out at here. I am also currently applying for a PhD in Environmental Sciences and Engineering at Harvard University, starting fall 2004, where I intend continuing my research into Climate Change modelling. Wish me luck!
Patrick Chung: MSc 1996/1997
I joined the MSc as a Commonwealth Scholar because I was looking to integrate several disciplines: hard science, economics, politics, and law. Oxford allowed me to delve deeply into each discipline with a group of diverse and extraordinary colleagues from every corner of the world. The MSc also gave me the treasured opportunity to synthesize divergent academic strands in a single dissertation: I developed a new game-theoretic model of the evolution of cooperation in fisheries, pushing the boundaries of our thinking there.
Through the MSc I gained a deep understanding of complex scientific and socio-political systems, and a cherished group of lifelong friends. After the MSc I worked for McKinsey and Company in Boston, before joining and growing a technology services company that attracted over $100 million in venture capital financing. I then returned to Harvard, where I completed a joint JD-MBA (law and business) degree and passed the bars of Massachusetts and New York. Today I am a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, where I make investments in the consumer, Internet, and mobile sectors.
Kim Polgreen: MSc 1994/1995
I was on the first year of the ECI MSc course, 1994-95. I had completed a DPhil in Biochemistry at Oxford, and one year of a post doctoral position, and had decided that biochem was not for me long term, as I wanted to pursue my long standing interest in environmental issues. I was particularly keen to get into environmental management in business.
The MSc year gave me a fantastic opportunity to explore all the issues around the environment and business that I was interested in. People like Andrew Goudie, Tim Burt, (former MSc Director) John Boardman, Nick Middleton, and Clive Hambler gave us fantastic insights into the complexity of addressing environmental issues in a social and economic context. As well as the core course, I went to lectures from other courses all over the University. Plus a huge number of lectures and seminars from the hoards of eminent people that passed through Oxford. I was very lucky to get the first Unipart Scholarship on the course (Unipart is a large auto parts group), which then led to a job as Group Environment Manager. I then moved to work in the sustainability consultancy team at KPMG in London where I worked with some of the UK's and world's biggest companies, on social issues as well as environmental ones.
I have also worked for Dr Brenda Boardman at the ECI, for the Cambridge Programme for Industry on the launch of the new ClimatePrediction.net, for KPMG as a freelancer, for the London Development Agency on integrating sustainability into their project management, and am writing a chapter for a book edited by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment on organisational responses to environmental change. When I get back to work next year after having a baby, I think I'll continue the freelancing for a while, and see what else emerges.
Rachel Cunningham-Day: MSc 1994/1995
I attended the MSc course in 1995-1996. I had previously read Biological Sciences at Magdalen, Oxford, followed by one year working abroad. My work abroad included working in Miami University's shark lab under Professor Sonny Gruber and working on a conservation project in Mexico with Professor Polis of Vanderbilt University.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the MSc course. The diverse mix of students and staff, each with their own particular academic background, enabled the course to have a truly holistic approach and for everyone to learn through one another's experience. It is no exaggeration to say that the course resembled more of a family unit than a university department - openness and friendliness was the order of the day. I learnt an awful lot and am very grateful for having had the opportunity to partake in the course. My MSc year is definitely the year in Oxford I would most like to repeat!
For my dissertation I travelled to Miami and worked with a NOAA scientist diving with sharks and assisting him in some of his physiological research. My dissertation focused on the global conservation status of sharks and I went on to update and expand my thesis before publishing it as a book.
After my MSc I read for my CPE and LPC at Law School in Guildford. I obtained a traineeship with a City firm prior to my MSc and they agreed to part-fund me for the MSc and full-fund my years at law school. After law school I spent two years training at the City firm before qualifying into another City firm. My law career has taken me on a finance route and, after a spell in an investment bank, I am now General Counsel for a financial services firm in the City and have just completed a distance learning MBA with Imperial College.
In the past couple of years I have published a couple of scientific papers on shark conservation in addition to my book and continue to have active membership of some scientific societies as well as spending a proportion of my time raising money for various conservation projects. In a nutshell, I am very proud, and grateful, to be an ECI alumni and I would encourage anyone to enrol at your earliest opportunity"!