Always making reunions everywhere - Masahiro Suzuki

February 18, 2020

This week, Batch-8 (2014) graduate, and current PhD student Masahiro Suzuki from Japan talks about how MESPOM helped him shape his passion for the environment into a profession.

I am very happy to get a chance to elaborate on my alumni story. First as an update, I left my previous job with which I was attending climate COPs as a delegate of Japan in 2017 to start my PhD at Central European University (CEU). This is because I wanted to sit back and carefully analyse whether and how countries are doing more than business as usual (BAU) (i.e. how much they are just bluffing) to mitigate climate change. We all know the importance of reducing emissions, but under what conditions and to what extent acting on this cause is actually feasible? This is the central question of my PhD research and I believe answering it will improve our strategies to mitigate as well as prepare for climate change.

Using this opportunity to re-think the role of MESPOM in my life, I can say that MESPOM enabled me to shape my passion into a profession. Only after MESPOM, I became able to make a living by doing what I am truly passionate about. Honestly speaking, I do not earn (especially now as a PhD student) as much as I did with my first job out of college before MESPOM, where I was a business consultant providing management solutions for enterprises. However, I am now happier than ever before. Here are some of the many reasons, which I hope can further encourage you to apply for MESPOM.

First of all, even as a PhD student, I still make a decent living. Though difficult at first, I managed to break away from the endless chain of unsustainable consumption and instead learned how much is enough to make myself happy. I am very grateful that MESPOM helped me realise this in my 20s so that I could make a career shift before too late. I also have far less career anxiety than before, knowing that our work to solve sustainable challenges is in increasing demand everywhere.

Second, what I do every day for work is simply much more fulfilling. Previously, I often had doubts as to whether my work was contributing to anything good, even though I was surely helping my clients to expand their businesses and increase their profitability. Gradually over time, I started to question the environmental implication of my work and became increasingly indifferent to such targets as quarterly sales and market shares. Instead of chasing those that matter much less to me now, I can now pursue my own academic interests with a strong belief that what I do can truly contribute to the betterment of the world. For me, the word “work” does not have a negative connotation anymore as my work is my hobby and passion.

Third, I feel better connected to the world in general. This has a lot to do with being a MESPOM alumnus as wherever I go, be it an academic conference in North America or a project trip in Asia, the chances to encounter other MESPOMers (or alumni of the sister programs in CEU and Lund) are almost 100%. I moved to Cologne, Germany for my research several months ago and I have already managed to interact with 7 of such alumni friends. We are literally everywhere, trying to change the world in our own ways. Our shared passion unites us strongly and I really feel that MESPOM is one big global family. I will not be alone anywhere anymore.  

Last but not least, let me also comment on how unique CEU as a graduate school is. Naturally CEU and MESPOM share a lot of values, one of which is inclusiveness. The events that led to CEU’s move to Vienna are certainly tragic, but it does not really matter where the campus is because what matters more is the people in it, who are all excellent at what they do and really care about each other. When I returned to CEU in 2017 (3 years after graduating from MESPOM), I was greeted with open arms not only by the department faculty members and coordinators but also by many of the administrative staffs in general offices, immediately recognizing me and calling my name. I do not know if there is any other university in the world that makes you instantly feel at home and taken care of in the same way.

Always making reunions everywhere.

2016 June back in Budapest 

2017 August in Kyoto 

2018 February in snowy Budapest

2019 June in Washington D.C (“U” are missing in our CEU!)

2019 October in Bonn also with a MESPOM baby!

And the journey continues…