''The most enjoyable parts of the programme involve the strong focus on and involvement of real-world practice''
I chose this Masters, because I wanted to extend my social development background with more knowledge of environmental development issues, one of the main areas of focus in this programme. Moreover, during my Bachelor’s in International Development at Leiden University College, I mainly focused on public institutions and policy. However, sustainable development and the work of public organisations, like those around Foreign Affairs, increasingly involves working with businesses. This is why I wanted to complement my previous education by learning more about businesses. I chose a two-year Master’s, as I am convinced that I can learn a lot more from it.
The most enjoyable parts of the programme, and the ones I always look forward to, involve the strong focus on and involvement of real-world practice, for example visiting guest speakers, consultancy projects and business cases. These provide us with useful skills and also give us a better understanding of possible and interesting fields of work. There is also a lot of group work with people from varied educational backgrounds. I consider the latter to be very valuable, as it provides many opportunities to learn from each other while pursuing the shared goal of a more sustainable world.
''SBI was a perfect mix of theoretical and practical knowledge, with the opportunity for hands-on application through the business consultancy and internship thesis projects''
I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a focus on Marketing. Although I was a business student, I had taken a few natural science classes at university out of personal interest. I think this, plus having international work experience, helped in getting accepted into the SBI programme.
I volunteered at the Sustainable Business Network, a New Zealand nonprofit organization whose goal is to empower businesses to make New Zealand a more sustainable nation. It was a career-changing experience and I knew that I wanted to work with businesses to promote sustainability. I also realized I lacked the knowledge to be effective, so I looked for a Master’s programme that could provide me the skills to jumpstart my new career. SBI was a perfect mix of theoretical and practical knowledge, with the opportunity for hands-on application through the business consultancy and internship thesis projects. It offered a good balance of natural science and business courses, which I believe provide a solid foundation to understand the complex issues around sustainability and to also be effective in implementing sustainability programs within an organization.
I liked the dynamics of doing group research (consultancy) and having a clear business problem to solve. I did underestimate the amount of time and effort that was required for this study, especially the large amount of group work. I have no regrets in doing this Master’s, as the benefits definitely outweigh the cost, but I would recommend that any student with a partner or family make sure that they understand the time commitment required of you and that you have their unwavering support.
I think it is very valuable to have work experience before embarking on a master’s degree. Having a job allows you to see what you like or dislike about your work and working environment, so you can make good choices about the kind of work you want to do in the future. It also helps you to see where you may have gaps in knowledge that a master’s degree could provide. The other recommendation I have is to take advantage of the many international exchange programs that are available to students.
''The main reason I chose Sustainable Business and Innovation was that it is less research-focused than other Master’s programmes''
I am a soon-to-be second-year student in Sustainable Business and Innovation with a background in Earth Sciences. The main reason I chose Sustainable Business and Innovation was that it is less research-focused than other Master’s programmes. For me, SBI offers more practical elements whilst still having a link with natural sciences – a perfect combination.
The programme is packed with interesting group projects, of which the consultancy project at the end of the first year is the coolest by far! For this project we worked for Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. We were trying to find out what their internal standard for renewable energy sourcing should look like. It was an awesome hands-on experience of what it would be like to work a big organisation after graduation. The programme is extremely flexible, which allows you to tailor it the way you want – I can really recommend it!
''I wanted to investigate multiple sides of sustainability issues as well as apply my knowledge more directly''
Ruby de Hart
I have known for many years that I want to make the world more sustainable. I decided that a Master’s programme in solar energy engineering would be a good way of working towards this goal. Something was missing though. Although I was able to learn about technical aspects of sustainable energy, I wanted to investigate multiple sides of sustainability issues as well as apply my knowledge more directly. I needed to find a way to get involved with various organisations to make an impact. The Master’s programme in Sustainable Business and Innovation fit this ambition perfectly. It has allowed me to explore the many aspects of sustainability and apply this knowledge to real-life business cases. This Master’s programme has allowed me to become a change agent for a more sustainable world.
''My main driver is to have an impact by solving complex problems and providing innovative solutions''
Tim den Hartog
I took the Bachelor Liberal Arts and Sciences with a major in Natural and Environmental Sciences at Utrecht University. It was relatively difficult to get into the master Sustainable Business and Innovation as I did not have the standard Bachelor. Hence, I took extra courses to specify my background knowledge. I also needed to motivate better why I wanted to do this programme in my motivation letter.
I chose SBI, since sustainability and the ongoing (technological) innovation are some of the most complex challenges of our time and I wanted to deep dive into these topics. In my opinion, the largest and most tangible impact you can make are in my opinion within businesses. SBI takes a holistic approach to these problems.
I was especially glad to have chosen SBI during the consultancy Project, since I went to India for six weeks and was able to get hands-on experience on consulting in a foreign country, which is an experience I will never forget. To new students I would say to always choose something that you really want to do, regardless of your study background.