Life after graduation

The economy is an ecosystem too

An investment in nature is an investment in the future, according to Nicolas Poolen (27). Poolen advises financial institutions on green investments.

So how did you choose your degree programme?
I wanted to do something focused around the future and innovation, but I wasn’t quite sure what. I specialised in Business Management during my Bachelor’s in Future Studies at the University of Amsterdam. The Sustainable Business and Innovation Master’s at Utrecht University allowed me to combine business management and sustainability, which really appealed to me. Helping to make the corporate world more sustainable seemed like an exciting idea.

How did you end up in your current job?
I did a work placement at the WWF and volunteered at Follow This, an organisation that influences large companies to operate more sustainably through their share holders. When I asked the finance director about the sustainability of WWF staff pensions, he asked if I wanted to be part of a green finance team that examined those kinds of issues and questions. The team hadn’t been established yet at the time

I wanted to do something involving the future and innovation

Foto van Nicholas Poolen
Nicholas Poolen
Foto van Nicholas Poolen
images: Robin Alysha Clemens

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I like the fact that it’s challenging and multidisciplinary. The economy is basically also an ecosystem that’s interconnected with other ecosystems like the environment and climate, and we need to make sure it stays resilient. I try to convince financial institutions to prioritise those issues and challenges. For the sake of their company’s future as well as the planet.

So what would you recommend to students who will be looking for a job soon?
Involve others in your career planning and ask for feedback. I actually found people who were already working in the field or involved in relevant initiatives through my own network of family and friends. They helped me figure out what to expect and gave me specific advice that helped me a lot.

What's next

There’s plenty of room to grow in my current position, so I’ll stay with WWF Netherlands for now. I also dream of setting up an initiative for international collaborations. I work on global issues and the Netherlands can feel too small at times.

Nicolas Poolen (27)
Graduated in Future Planet Studies at the University of Amsterdam followed by a Master’s in Sustainable Business and Innovation at Utrecht University (2016–2018). As a Green Finance Advisor at WWF Netherlands, he advises Dutch financial institutions on investing in a more sustainable future. 

A longer version of this interview will also be published on DUB, Utrecht University’s independent news site. Visit their website for all the latest news and background information on our academic community.