Reasons for choosing MESPOM in students’ and alumni’s own voices.
I completed my undergrad in Australia with a Bachelor's of interdisciplinary studies (Sustainability); majoring in Environmental Policy, Corporate Social Responsibility and Geography. My area of interest is in food security, indigenous culture and public participation. Studying in a different context has forced me to challenge my worldviews and grow intellectually. MESPOM has allowed me to study and observe how EU policy is implemented in different countries and thus receive a more place-based understanding of policy-making.
Being in MESPOM has also offered me a chance to develop and participate in activities that seek to engage the student community. This has been facilitated by a student driven group, the Sustainable Campus Initiative. For me, this experience has served to continually highlight and reinforce how forging meaningful relationships with people in our increasingly disconnected society is one of the most important ways to create change. Participating in such activities has also served to remind me about the importance of more practical skills such as effective leadership, creativity and time-management. In my work experience prior to the MESPOM program, I found these to be especially essential.
My thesis explorerd how transformational learning towards a more conscious society can be achieved in industry, in particular, how this could be achieved through developing a symbiotic relationship between businesses and socially beneficial projects. It sought to identify opportunities and challenges faced in bridging the gaps between these groups with divergent interests.
Natalie Cheong '13 (Singapore)
I studied a bachelor's degree in Marketing at ITESM in Monterrey (Mexico). Before I joined MESPOM I was working at a Mexican Telecommunications’ company in the Marketing Research department, analyzing current and future global telecom trends for two sectors SME's and residential.
I was having a good time while working, but I wanted to study a master's degree since I wanted to become a specialist in "something". I was inspired by one of my close friends to study an environmental master, and I began comparing different environmental masters programs. I found many options, but my alternatives were shortened given the restriction that I wanted to study in the Nordic Countries. I have heard so much about their positive environmental performances that I wanted to see what were they actually doing. Considering my business background I must say that one limitation during my search for masters was to find programs that could admit me having a non-science background. And I came across MESPOM. I was first attracted to the possibility of studying in Sweden (one of the Nordic countries), and the opportunity of living in 3 different countries around Europe. Besides the three diplomas from different universities I would receive at the end of my studies.
Suddenly, I was on board studying in MESPOM. can say that this master gave me the ability to see things beyond the business perspective, and through the lenses of a political and environmental perspective as well. Moreover, the possibility of interacting with so many different people with different backgrounds, from many different countries is definitely one of the most valuable assets of this program.
If you are considering to study this master, you should be aware of the many times you will have to move from one place to another, working on teams might be difficult sometimes due to cultural differences, you are probably going to live in places where you do not understand the language they speak in, you will meet a bunch of interesting people in academia and for sure classmates (later friends), and you will end up becoming somehow a “tree huger” regardless what your previous background was.
Paulina Aguilera '13 (Mexico)
I've recently accepted a full-time job offer as a junior ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance Research) analyst with Sustainalytics, the company that I have been interning with. It seems as if I will be staying here in Singapore for quite some time.
Starting my career has encouraged me to look back at what I was wishing to do, and where I was hoping to start a year ago. It seems somehow quite fit to my original career plan, including those I had in mind more than a year ago in Budapest, when I was still rather confused about what to do and where to go. I'm quite grateful for this opportunity to start my career in an international environment and also doing something not only focusing on environmental issues, but also connected with the business setting. Working in an office with colleagues from 7 or 8 countries makes me feel a bit like I’m working in a small MESPOM class. I'm not exactly sure if this career decision is the right one, but I'm keeping a positive mindset, and looking forward to making the most out of this freshly started journey.
Bowen Gu '11 (China)
My interest in environment started long before MESPOM, when I dedicated most of my energy and time to environmental activism and education, but, holding degrees in business and marketing management I did not sound credible into environmental field and among environmentalists and my desire to work for environment was restricted in my home country. Apart from valuable knowledge in broad environmental perspectives, MESPOM gave me that needed credibility and strong stand point when I now debate with politicians, organize conferences with businesses and local community on waste incineration, lead workshops at festivals, run educational seminars for students or participate in environmental NGOs. Moreover, thanks to MESPOM now I am more confident working in environmental education field and, importantly, having wide opportunities to implement my experience and knowledge in many interesting and meaningful ways.
Jolanta Uktveryte '11 (Lithuania)
MESPOM is a super fun way to learn about different cultures, explore Europe, and get different perspectives on international environmental issues. These aspects are what set it apart from other programmes and help you develop and form a more global picture on current topics. That and the fact that you make amazing friends from around the world along the way.
Read Emily's full story here.
Emily Dowding-Smith '11 (New Zealand)
The reason I chose MESPOM was the interdisciplinary nature of the program, one that can bridge my different interests in sciences, management and policy. I also chose MESPOM because of the distinguished professors and universities in the consortium. However, the moment I joined MESPOM, I forgot about all of these calculations and the journey I had so far was beyond magical. Not only that I was in an elite group of accomplished students, I was also part of a family whose strong bond will last for many years to come.
Nga Nguyen '10 (Vietnam)
I chose MESPOM as my destination for higher studies because of its uniqueness. After having worked in the water resources sector in India for eight years, I was looking for an integrated master’s programme linked to my area of activities and also relevant to the contemporary environmental studies. MESPOM offers the most comprehensive blend of environmental sciences, policy and management, all interlinked to each other, grooming the students to face the challenging global environmental problems with ease. As Europe is setting newer and newer environmental standards, in the global context, MESPOM not only makes students aware of such issues, but also provides them exposure to at least three different leading European universities; thus setting the right framework to deal with the emerging environmental issues. Having a core background in Engineering and Management, I believe MESPOM would provide an edge to deal with burning environmental issues, specifically connected with the water resources or other projects connected with environment, in India or elsewhere. In this regard, an important feature of MESPOM is the superb quality of the teachers and students. The professors are highly qualified with a proven track record in their respective areas of specialisation at the global level. The students also come from all continents, who by way of interacting in group work and case studies, learn a lot about environmental problems in other countries.
Vaseem Ashraf ’10 (India)
My life experiences were shaped by growing up in a small island environment, where adaptability to externalities is a constant reality. We have many social and economic problems due to our reliance on limited natural resources and varying priorities and constraints. This influenced my choice to pursue a career in environmental management within United Nations Development Programme before entering the programme. Thus I came to MESPOM with a good mix of experience from Small Island Developing States, and hope to integrate related issues within the programme. I joined MESPOM with expectations to assist my region and broaden capacity within natural resource management and climate change strategies. In the process, the course is developing my competencies in sectoral coordination and the integration of environment, social and economic goals at the international level that is very much required in today’s professions. I have learnt a lot about the difficulties faced in realizing sustainable development at different levels in the Asia-Pacific region, but believe that we can develop and refine mechanisms (national, regional and international) that will better facilitate this process. I intend to continue to work as part of such teams especially within the extended MESPOM family, aimed at addressing ecological sustainable development whilst understanding that confronting challenges comes with related responsibilities. I recommend MESPOM highly to professionals and students seeking similar international experiences.
Alvin Chandra '10 (Fiji, Pacific Islands)
I chose MESPOM for its intimacy, diversity and curriculum. The other programs I considered all had classes of at least 100 students but MESPOM offered a personal environment where our professors learned not only our names and faces but often also our interests and aspirations. The diversity in nationalities and backgrounds of our fellow students and teaching team offered a unique opportunity to work with and learn from students and faculty from around the globe. Finally, MESPOM’s curriculum was unique because it gave us the coursework to develop foundational skills in the environmental field while giving us the flexibility to pursue our own academic interests in-depth. Other Master programs I considered required students to select a specialization and focus area right away which would have been difficult for many of us coming from non-environmental backgrounds. MESPOM gave us the flexibility to explore all our interests and the support to go in-depth into whatever we chose. My rosy dreams coming into MESPOM were exceeded. The program offers its students a rigorous but rewarding environment where teaching staff is accessible and open, the community is diverse and supportive, and the curriculum is foundational and flexible. MESPOM is not a program for the shy at heart but it is an environment which offers opportunities and adventures galore.
Jessica Jewell '09 (USA)
If the environment is your thing, Europe is where the action is. The EU has designed policies and adopted principles that the rest of the world is decades away from considering. If you wish to tune in to the latest in the global environmental discourse, you cannot afford to ignore the professors who teach in this program. Between the partner universities, they have the three disciplinary corners covered - the 'S', the 'P' and the 'M' in MESPOM, or, as some like to call them: Sci, Pol and Man. What is more, you get to choose which you will finally focus on. Apart from the professors from all over the world, you will hear professionals from the likes of IEA, IPCC, IAEA, European Commission, WWF and counting.
I joined in 2006 looking for a state-of-the-knowledge MSc in Environmental Policy on my way to an academic career in Policy Analysis. I assure you I got what I pursued and more. Pedagogically and technologically avant-garde, the program is forever learning and evolving itself; every cohort only gets better. So I cannot even shape your expectations to the right degree. Join to discover yourself!
Sachin Kumar BADKAS '08 (India)
John F Kennedy once stated, “The wave of the future is not the conquest of a single dogmatic creed, but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men.” I believe this resonates even stronger in the environmental field in which global challenges, such as climate change, demonstrate that varied approaches are essential; requiring the participation of a diverse audience tuned in to the realities that exist.
This is MESPOM: a chance to sit the world at the table to debate and negotiate, whilst learning together. In addition to high-quality education; it was MESPOM’s global dimension that gave it a sharper edge: international in terms of its professors, its approaches, its student body, and in relation to the very nature of MESPOM’s mobility track. Students are taught to mix pragmatism with idealism by encountering the realities that exist on the ground. Fieldtrips and changing university environments link theory to practice; demonstrating that environmental strategies are highly vulnerable to the context in which implemented. What was most sticking, however, was MESPOM’s sincerity. Professors and staff are supportive to student development and eager to engage in new methods of learning and interaction. I feel fortunate to consider my professors and classmates as friends and colleagues. I am certain we will meet in conferences, work-events and reunions, whilst reminiscing of class dinners, late night study sessions or saying goodbye at graduation.
In its truest sense, MESPOM does not end after the readings are finished or the thesis is turned in. In essence that is where it starts. Students are taught to be critical thinkers, adaptable to new places and ideas and work hard with integrity in a complex world. While I completed MESPOM in 2007 it remains one of the most significant experiences I have encountered and given a second chance, I would gladly join the adventure again.
Jennifer Lenhart '07 (USA)
MESPOM provided me with a unique opportunity to enlarge my environmental knowledge due to its multidisciplinary character and the international students and faculty. MESPOM was certainly crucial for me to get my current position at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Water Convention Secretariat- because of the focus of the programme on development issues and countries with economies in transition, but also because of the combination of environmental management, policy and sciences in the programme, incorporated through the different partners of the Consortium. It was useful for me that one of the Consortium partners, CEU, is located in a previous country in transition (Hungary) since my current organization focuses on Central Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.
It has also helped me a lot that the programme gives the student the choice to focus on a specific environmental field such as water and energy by selecting a number of courses, and that it includes practical assignments and activities such as numerous field trips. I also appreciated the close contact to staff and faculty which helped to solve any problems quickly. Finally, the programme significantly enlarged my international network of environmental professionals which is very useful, also in my current professional life. To conclude, I can only recommend MESPOM and would certainly do it again!
Sonja Koeppel ’07 (Germany)
I think one of the most unique features of the MESPOM course is that it allows you to study in FOUR totally different cultures, in different parts of Europe – Central Europe (Budapest), West (Manchester), South (Greece) and North (Sweden). I don't think any other master programme would allow this, and you study/work on research/course projects with people from all over the world.
The reason why I highlight this to you, is that ALL international organizations would have a look at your profile and international experience. MESPOM is one of the best examples to put on your CV – having studied at the best university in your home country, then followed by some of the leading universities in Europe, studying/working with people from over 20/30 countries. This will really make your CV shine compared to others…
Chunyu Liang ’07 (China)