Throughout her two years in the program, MS in Sustainability Management alumna Charlotte Peyraud (’14) was exposed to many sides of sustainability that she had not initially considered for a career path.
From energy efficiency, to corporate sustainability reporting to investor relations, the availability and applicability of sustainability data piqued her interest and became Peyraud’s focus and ultimately her career. As the curriculum and grading assistant for the sustainability communications and reporting course, she became interested in the need for enhanced transparency and reporting on sustainability. Peyraud is currently the senior advisor at Sustainalytics, an independent provider of environmental, social and corporate governance investment data and responsible investment support.
What is your current job and what are the responsibilities?
As senior advisor at Sustainalytics, I help clients pursue responsible investment strategies and aid issuers in bringing green and social bonds to market as part of our Sustainability Bonds Services team.
I joined Sustainalytics as part of the firm’s acquisition of ESG Analytics in the fall of 2015. At ESG Analytics—a firm focused on promoting the integration of sustainability data in the private equity space—I focused on product management and business development activities. Prior to that role, I worked for the Triana Group, supporting the expansion of a sustainability data management software company.
Do your current job responsibilities align with the professional goals that you originally had when you began the MSSM program?
Before the program I spent several years as the marketing and outreach manager for Green Seal Inc., an environmental certification non-profit organization. I learned a tremendous amount from a sustainability perspective during my time at Green Seal. Though I was looking for a program that could help me round out my understanding of sustainability issues from a science and policy perspective with the ultimate goal of transitioning to the private sector and working in corporate sustainability. The Sustainability Management program appeared to be a perfect fit. I enrolled full time in the fall of 2012 and continued full time for the first year and part time the second year.
What tips do you have for your fellow students who are looking for a job in sustainability?
Sustainability touches so many different industries in so many ways. Be open about positions and your approach to finding a job (you may need to create it!)
Any advice to students changing careers?
For those looking to change fields, internships and fellowships are a great way to get into a new area. For students with an interest in energy efficiency and corporate sustainability, the EDF Climate Corps program is an excellent opportunity. This program places graduate students into companies, government organizations and non-profits to help implement operational and facility changes to reduce the organizational impact. I was lucky to be placed at Chicago Public Schools, where I had the opportunity to improve upon existing programs and work with facility managers to begin tracking energy use, setting reduction goals and identifying opportunities to reduce energy use. Here I really learned the importance of sustainability data when making investment decisions.
What do you think is the most beneficial aspect of the MSSM program with regard to your career?
I’d say both the thought process and network. Sustainability as a discipline can be approached from many different angles and requires many different specialties coming together to inform possible approaches and solutions, and so it’s maybe not surprising that the backgrounds and experiences of the students in this program are so diverse—I learned so much from my classmates, and many have become some of my best friends and the people I work with on a daily basis. I encourage both current students and alumni to be as involved as possible and continue to strengthen the network.
This really is an amazing network—people from so many backgrounds, countries and experiences really make the classroom discussions come to life.
The M.S. in Sustainability Management, co-sponsored by the Earth Institute and Columbia’s School of Professional Studies, trains students to tackle complex and pressing environmental and managerial challenges. The program requires the successful completion of 36 credit points. Those credit points are divided among five comprehensive content areas: integrative sustainability management, economics and quantitative analysis, the physical dimensions of sustainability, the public policy environment of sustainability management, and general and financial management. Visit our website to learn more.