Interview with Dr. Mozaffar Khan inspires me to pursue a career in sustainability

A sustainability-themed conversation with Dr. Mozaffar Khan, Director of ESG Research and Quantitative Senior Research Analyst at Causeway Capital

picture of NehaAs part of the week of dignitary interviews for the AFM334: International Study Trip course, I was fortunate to interview Dr. Mozaffar Khan, and the main points I took away were that sustainability is the future, how to pursue a career in environmental, social and corporate governance(ESG), and that university is a great time to explore.

Firstly, Mozaffar made it extremely clear that sustainability is the future. Through this interview, I am very grateful that I got to hear firsthand from someone in the industry acknowledging that the global investing landscape is changing to have a strong focus on sustainability. He emphasized the fact that investors now want to select companies that have more favourable ESG metrics as potential earnings are a direct outcome of having good business processes, which is demonstrated through ESG reporting. With this shift to an ESG investor mindset comes a window of opportunity, both on the investor side to have knowledgeable experts on specific ESG topics and on the reporting side to help businesses measure and report ESG metrics while finding ways to  improve their sustainability efforts every year. I feel that the work within the ESG realm is extremely important and impactful as these efforts will help to alleviate pressing issues facing our world today. By pushing organizations to contribute positively to social and environmental causes and to run their businesses in a responsible and ethical manner, issues such as climate change, racism, discrimination in the workplace, and other issues can be resolved. As an aspiring business leader, this change truly excites me as it is extremely important to my career fulfillment that I am doing meaningful work and have a positive impact on the world. Upon reflection, I am considering starting my career with the ESG space as the work very much resonates with the impact I want to make as I build my career.

Furthermore, Mozaffar provided solid advice around how to set yourself up to be successful in roles within the ESG space. He advised us to combine quantitative investment skills with formal training in sustainability to give us a strong financial foundation paired with domain expertise in our specific ESG topic of choice. To apply this helpful guidance, I will take some time in the following weeks to research ESG broadly, understand each area generally, and then dive deeper into a specific area such as diversity and inclusion or climate change to become an expert on one of these niche areas.

In addition to researching on my own, this interview as well as many others throughout the International Study Trip course have pushed me to heavily consider pursuing the Sustainability Career Specialization within the Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) program. I feel that being able to take courses within the Faculty of Environment will be incredibly valuable and will allow me to receive excellent formal education in sustainability. Moreover, he spoke about the value of pursuing a Masters in Finance and through research, I found a few masters in sustainable finance in Europe that I could pursue if I were to take this path. This interview inspired me to learn more about the ESG space and to keep sustainability at the top of my radar as a future career option as there is such a strong need for knowledgeable individuals within this field.

Lastly, Mozaffar gave us advice about how university provides a great environment to explore. He advised us to find a path that feels right for us and to do this by getting a sense of what a day in the life looks like in the roles we want to pursue. I plan on applying this guidance in the weeks ahead by taking a deeper dive into the career paths I am considering to learn more about the specifics of what the job entails and what it looks like on a daily basis. I will do this by watching “day in the life” videos, connecting with those who are currently in these roles, and reading more about the topics to see what feels right for me and where my interest lies. In conclusion, from Mozaffar's insight, I have opened my eyes to a career in sustainability and will begin to further explore this path and others throughout the remainder of my university career to find a path that is well suited for me.

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