Ramya MA - a career of an IIIEE alumna
Hej Ramya! Tell us something about yourself and what you’re working with.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and I’m one of few students that didn’t have any working life experience when I joined the Master's Programme in Environmental Management and Policy (EMP). I recently graduated and I got an internship at the World Resources Institute in India. I was an intern for two months and now I’m a full time employee and I’m doing something called “Early professional program” which is a consultant position. I’m working with the climate team and mainly with cities and state governments here in India. I’m helping them to build climate capacity, climate action planning and organize stakeholder consultations, workshops, technical trainings…. The projects are really interesting and very similar to what I did at the institute! The consultancy project we did at the EMP programme and my thesis actually helped me to secure this position.
Why did you chose to study at the IIIEE?
I liked the subjects and the fact that we had an internship and a lot of hands-on projects, like the consultancy project. I really liked how they introduced us to a variety of topics; it’s an interdisciplinary field and it made sense that they gave us all these different perspectives and that’s what made me apply for this program. Lund University has a very good reputation and Sweden in general is doing really well in terms of sustainability.
I built my projects and thesis in such a way that it oriented towards climate change at urban level – and that really helped me get the internship and the position I have today.
What did the studies at the IIIEE give you and are you using what you learnt in your daily job?
Definitely! The institute helped us to find what we were interested in and gave us the flexibility to find out what direction we wanted to go. I built my projects and thesis in such a way that it oriented towards climate change at urban level – and that really helped me get the internship and the position I have today. My thesis was on urban climate governance and during the consultancy project we went to Portugal and my team helped a municipality to develop a climate adaptation action plan. Recently I was able to use the outputs from that project in my work – we’re helping cities in a state here in India to build a climate action plan, so it’s very similar to what we did during the consultancy project. That was one of the best projects I did at the institute and now I’m working with similar things!
What can a typical day at work look like?
Right now everything is virtual and I’m working from home. We do a lot of background research and analysis, prepare questions for stakeholders, do stakeholder consultations, organize training programs, write reports and we regularly discuss with the team how to manage the project and its progress. It’s a lot of teamwork, which I also have with me from the institute. We never worked with the same people twice so that helped us to be capable to work with different individuals and adapt to different teams. That’s something that helps me in this role too!
How did the EMP programme prepare you for working life and a career within sustainability?
I was new to this field when I started at the EMP programme but the programme really gave us a foundation of different subjects that environmental management covers. It helped us to see things from different perspectives; business, governance, policy and the community perspective. That is something that’s helpful to me right now because inclusivity is a big part of what I do and I have to take into consideration how different stakeholders are impacted. The IIIEE really gave us that holistic perspective! And having Lena Neij as my supervisor was the best decision because she was instrumental in helping me understand the different steps in conducting a systematic research study and how to organize and assimilate information, making the research process much easier and I learned a lot from her. It’s really helping me now to approach research and projects; how to use timelines and make the process more efficient, how to collect data and basically manage a project.
Another thing is that we had the chance to go out to the field and meet different people. And each project we did at the institute was different and that gave a lot of value. All that played a positive role in improving my communication and management skills and is helping me in this job!
this is a good bridge for everything. It opened a lot of doors for us and my classmates are working in different fields today.
What would you say to someone who’s considering to study the EMP programme at the IIIEE?
Go for it! There are so many different things you can focus on, it’s so vast and for someone who doesn’t have a background in environmental science for example but who wants to get into sustainability this is a really good program. I just felt that this program could have a greater focus on quantitative analysis tools. Irrelevant of what you did before, but if you have the passion, this course definitely gives you different perspectives. That is something that is needed in sustainability because it’s constantly changing and is so complex, there’s not only one way to look at it. The institute provides that holistic perspective and that’s one main reason to take this program! The staff is amazing and we had a great student life with informal parties and lunch sessions. This programme gave me a lot of personal growth, I improved my team building skills, it gave me project management skills… the programme is not only focused on theoretical knowledge but provides a lot of practical exposure as well. If you want to join the corporate sector, or the government sector, or think tanks – I think this is a good bridge for everything. It opened a lot of doors for us and my classmates are working in different fields today.
This programme gave me a lot of personal growth, I improved my team building skills, it gave me project management skills… the programme is not only focused on theoretical knowledge but provides a lot of practical exposure as well.
Finally, can you share a memory from your studies at the IIIEE?
Oh my God, there’s so many…. But listening to ABBA songs in the lunchroom and dancing…. We did that after every exam and it gave us time to unwind and relax. And the excursion to Kullen is one of the best memories from the beginning. I haven’t heard of any other courses doing that. I didn’t know anyone at that time but I got to know the teachers and my classmates in a very personal way. We had team building exercises, did a hike and stayed together for 2-3 days so that was really special. It was raining the whole time but that made it even more memorable!
Do you want to read more Alumni stories? You find them here