The following interview is a part of SkillSpeak, a series of short interviews with SUMA professors, where they share bits of wisdom and knowledge, advising on skills that are crucial for a successful career in sustainability. This week we have Satyajit Bose who teaches Cost-Benefit Analysis and Sustainable Investing & Economic Growth. The interview was conducted by Avantika Goswami, SUMANI President.
Name: Satyajit Bose
Academic Background: PhD in Economics, dissertation on the Economic impact of climate change, many years working in finance
Current Professional Title: Associate Director and Lecturer in the Masters in Sustainability Management Program
What field within the sustainability realm do you work in?
My work deals mostly with evaluating the monetary costs and benefits of sustainability-related investments.
What skills have you leveraged on so far, to expand your presence in your field of sustainability?
Financial analysis, economic cost-benefit analysis, light programming and data science skills, and perhaps most important, making friends quickly and learning to listen carefully and read between the lines.
What are some of the most relevant skill-building opportunities offered by the SUMA program?
This depends on your own background. For some students, the finance and management skills will have been internalized and these students should focus on skill-building in the physical dimensions and the policy. For others, the finance and management skills will be new and essential for career advancement. Good managers are well-rounded individuals, and school is the place to learn. There is no learning without struggle. Therefore you should invest most effort in your weakest areas.
What skills would you advise a future SUMA graduate to develop in order to build credibility within your field of sustainability?
By definition, a manager must oversee people who have more specialized knowledge about their own jobs than the manager herself does. A good manager nevertheless leads by having clear view of the big picture and gathering and processing information from many specialized experts, and anticipating problems and solutions for the organization as a whole. Learn to develop an understanding of the system, not just the particular business process. Of course, you must have some easily recognizable skills to get in the door. By all means, learn to use the index/match function in Excel and do a Monte Carlo analysis. But you have to go beyond these “crammable” skills. Take advantage of the precious opportunity you have in school to learn outside your comfort zone so you can start to piece together the big picture.