UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


What our students thought: Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions MSc

29 November 2021

What is it like to study the Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions MSc? Read the reflections of our alumni and programme lead Dr Nino Jordan as we celebrate the teaching at UCL ISR over the last decade.

“Over the years the Sustainable Resources: Economics, Policy and Transitions MSc (SR:EPT) has been attracting ever more highly skilled and talented applicants who wish to dedicate their careers to sustainable resource use. Those teaching on the programme, both academics and practitioners, have often been amazed by the students' expertise and abilities. Alumni regularly go on to get jobs in organisations and positions highly relevant to SR:EPT topics and concerns, and they frequently come back to share their insights with current students and faculty. This network of thought leaders and practitioners has become an important feature of the SR:EPT MSc, directly connecting the programme to latest development in business, policy making and civil society.” 

Nino Jordan, SR:EPT Programme Lead

birds eye view of a green field
Before starting the SR:EPT MSc, I had studied economics and had worked as a researcher and consultant at a university and NGO in Chile. Today, I work as a sustainability specialist for Antofagasta Minerals. The MSc provided me with the analytical skills and specific knowledge about the mining industry that have been really valuable for my current job. 

I really enjoyed the content of the course - I acquired a lot of knowledge regarding sustainability trends. I also enjoyed the lectures and the way in which professors taught the subjects.  I particularly enjoyed the module on ‘Metrics, Modelling and Visualisation of the Resource Nexus’. For this module, I was able to do research on an island, in my case the Galapagos, and produce a report that included a methodology developed by me.   

I would advise future students to enjoy your time at UCL and to commit to your studies. The academic staff have valuable expertise and the ISR is a key research institution that can provide solutions to the current challenges that we face as a society, and it is fantastic to be part of that as a student. 

Veronica Gonzalez, Sustainability Specialist at Antofagasta Minerals, Graduated 2017

Wind turbines in the sea
Before undertaking a BSc in Geography at Royal Holloway, I spent a year working at an environmental consultancy firm in Dhaka, Bangladesh where I developed a passion for climate change and understanding how it’s impacting our future. The SR:EPT MSc masters provided the perfect opportunity to refine the knowledge and skills I had learnt through my undergraduate degree and work placements. 

Since graduating in 2018, I have been working as an Underwriting Assistant for one of the leading insurance companies specialising in renewable energy. This job has allowed me to use a lot of my different skills and interests from climate change to energy and natural disasters on a day-to-day basis. Many of the skills I refined during my masters are now used daily from excel through to delivering presentations and report writing. Most importantly, it taught me how to learn new things quickly and efficiently. An invaluable skill in a job where new problems need solving every day.  

My advice to future students would be to put 100% of your efforts into your studies while you can. Help each other out and reach out to the lecturing staff when you can't. As you progress through the course, begin thinking of what you would like to afterwards whether this is a career or further study. Start to roughly map out what skills and experiences are conducive to get into that next phase. If you are looking for a job after you finish, I would suggest that only after you have submitted your dissertation should you begin to seriously look for jobs. This way you can treat your search for what it is - a full-time job in itself. 

James Totton, Underwriting Assistant at GCube, Graduated 2018

field of wheat at sunset
I am originally from the United States and, after studying economics and finance, I worked for several years at an investment bank in New York. I learned a lot and enjoyed my time there but, wanting to specialize and do something more impactful, I decided to come to UCL to study Sustainable Resources. 

Since graduating in 2019, I have been employed at Glennmont Partners, a clean energy investment fund working to invest institutional capital into the deployment of large scale generation infrastructure.  Being able to make a direct impact on the advancement of renewables and learning about the complex and interconnected drivers of the energy transition has been fantastic. 

SR:EPT certainly helped me to steer my career in this new direction.  I think that, in addition to helping me explore potential new avenues, the programme gave me a strong base of knowledge on a number of energy and decarbonisation topics and allowed me to speak competently with employers about these nuanced areas.  I am working every day to understand how our firm can stay on the cutting edge of the rapidly evolving clean energy space, and SR:EPT helped to lay the groundwork for this type of thinking. 

My advice to current students would be to remain very open minded for the first half of the programme, but choose an area to focus on in depth for the second half and the dissertation.  The MSc covers a lot of ground, but by specialising and becoming an expert in an area you're passionate about, you will be much more competitive in the job market. 

Michael Pechstein, Investment Associate at Glenmont Partners, Graduated 2019