Alumni of the Ashridge MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility

Why did you decide to do the Masters in Sustainability and Responsibility programme?


Ben Wielgus, C-Suite Programme Director, KPMG 

Why did you decide to do the Masters in Sustainability and Responsibility programme? 

I've been joking for nearly 10 years that I was totally unqualified to do my job and I felt that it was time that I made space to truly think deeply about some of the issues on the sustainability agenda that were linked to my main practice but that I had not had the chance to explore yet. I knew several alumni of this course and suspected that it would really provide me with the challenge I needed, not just from the materials and tutors but also from the diverse range of peer groups. 

What did you learn from the programme? 

I think I learned too much from the programme to really be able to articulate yet. Other alumni have told me that parts of what they learn only really make sense many years later and I can really understand that now: I feel like there is much of me that has changed as a result of the Masters, particularly my professional practice, but I've also learned a lot about myself and how I can be more influential in my roles by being more comfortable in myself. Yes, we learned some technical and topical things but actually it's the process OF learning that I feel has come on the most during the two years rather than what we've actually learned. That's something that's vital in a field like sustainability where the agenda is shifting so quickly... I've now got a set of tools that helps me keep up and cope! 

How have you applied this to your work and organisation? 

The way that I behave and engage with staff and clients has changed quite significantly. I'm much more interested and able to seek collaborative partnerships and explore topics from different angles. I think I more acutely recognise the value of community and diversity. I realise sustainability isn't just about the environment (although that plays a big part) and am much more interested in working to strengthen relationships with people and nature. 

What would you say to someone considering joining this programme? 

The course won't be what you expect. It'll be better but you need to go with an open mind and a good support network. Don't expect to be sitting exams or learning technicalities. This is a course for people who want to learn about their own place in sustainability and enhance their ability to make a difference. 

About Ashridge and the MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility 
Established in 1959, Ashridge is a leading business school for working professionals with an international reputation for leadership development. It is in the 1% of business schools globally accredited by AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB; the UK, European and American accreditation bodies. Each year it works with over 6,000 managers from 850 organisations in 60 countries. 

Working initially with Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop International, then at the University of Bath, the Ashridge faculty developed a radically new form of business education, placing the perspectives and methods of self-awareness and action inquiry at the heart of developing leaders for a sustainable future. Much of what is becoming mainstream in corporate sustainability and sustainable leadership development today was foreshadowed in that work - from mindful awareness to conscious capitalism, social enterprise to systems innovation, eco-literacy to collaborative dialogue, these themes have threads of their development in the work of the Bath and Ashridge programmes. 

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