A day in the life of a Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business student

Last updated: 8th March 2024

Henry Kong is CEO of TechUp Limited, and a student on the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business (PCSB) with The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). Henry shares his experience of the programme and details what an average day looks like during one of his residential workshops in Cambridge, UK.

My day begins… early at 6.30am with the serene beauty of Cambridge Campus enveloping me during my invigorating 20-minute morning run. After the run, I join my fellow classmates for a hearty buffet breakfast in the college dining hall.

The workshop starts with… the morning sessions, which are a vibrant tapestry of interactive lectures, guest speakers, and engaging discussions. We’re privileged to hear from a panel of experts – each a pioneer in their field, offering invaluable insights into the challenges and triumphs of sustainable innovation. Their stories are not just instructive but deeply inspiring, illuminating the real-world impact of our studies.

Between sessions we… seamlessly transition from intense learning to equally enriching social interactions. Our tea breaks are much more than mere pauses for refreshment; they are vibrant hubs of conversation and connection. With cups of tea in hand, we gather in small, animated groups, mingling with fellow students, supervisors, and even the speakers from our morning sessions. These moments are precious – there’s never a lull in the conversation as we are a group of like-minded individuals, passionately exchanging ideas, perspectives, and experiences related to our shared interests in sustainability and leadership.

After lunch… our learning journey takes a more collaborative turn with round table discussions dominating the afternoon sessions. These discussions, vibrant and thought-provoking, offer a stark contrast to the morning’s lectures. The topics vary, but the format encourages each of us to contribute our viewpoints, challenging and enriching each other’s understanding. This shift in the learning format reflects the dynamic nature of our studies – from absorbing knowledge to actively engaging with it. As the day progresses, our approach evolves from passive listening to active participation, mirroring the real-world scenarios where diverse perspectives and collaborative problem-solving are key. It’s during these discussions that many of us find our voices, learning not just from the facilitators but from each other, as we navigate the complexities of sustainable business practices together.

Once sessions finish… we transition to the evening’s highlight: our Gala Dinner at Downing Hall. This historic venue, established in 1800 within Downing College, is celebrated for its neoclassical architecture and significant role in academia and culture. The Gala Dinner is magical, with a blend of formal dinner and spirited fundraising activities, creating a memorable experience for all. 

Henry Kong with Sustainable Business Course Directors and Colleagues in front of fellow students in a college dining hall

Our cohort also held a charity fundraiser during our November workshop. The event was organised in appreciation of CISL and our esteemed speaker, Jeremy Gilly MBE, founder of Peace One Day, known for his unwavering commitment to global peace initiatives. The fundraiser featured raffle items, high-value silent auction pieces, and exclusive live auction items, including unique Peace One Day memorabilia courtesy of Jeremy Gilly. Participation was overwhelming, with over 100 students and supervisors from around the globe contributing. Proceeds have supported both the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership Graduate Bursary Fund and Peace One Day.

After a day of learning… I feel an exhilarating blend of fulfilment and anticipation. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes from not only absorbing complex concepts but also from contributing to meaningful discussions and connecting with others who share my passion. Yet, alongside this fulfilment, there’s a palpable eagerness for what’s to come – for the new challenges, learning opportunities, and collaborations that await. The workshop is more than an educational experience; it’s a journey of personal and professional growth. It pushes me out of my comfort zone and challenges my preconceptions, making me reassess my role as a future leader in sustainability. There’s a profound sense of gratitude, too, for being part of a community that’s not just learning about change but is actively preparing to drive it. As I reflect on the day, I feel a deep connection to my purpose and a renewed commitment to making a meaningful impact in the world.

I am excited to… embrace the role of an entrepreneur, innovator, and true leader in sustainability. The workshop has not just equipped me with knowledge; it has ignited a fervent desire to apply these learnings to create tangible, positive change. There’s a clear vision that forms in my mind – one where I actively contribute to improving my local community, understanding that each small step can ripple outwards to effect global change. This vision extends beyond the immediate; it’s about creating an impact and legacy that will inspire and benefit future generations. The workshop reinforces my belief that sustainability is not just a concept but a practical, achievable goal that requires dedicated leaders. I leave each session more determined to be that leader, to be a catalyst for change in my community and beyond. It’s not just what I have learned but how I can apply it, how I can innovate, and how I can inspire others to join in this crucial mission. The excitement I feel is palpable – it’s a call to action, a push to step up and make a difference, one sustainable step at a time.

CISL’s Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business (PCSB) is a 9-month Master’s-level postgraduate programme, delivered part-time for working professionals. Students can choose from two streams depending on their role and discipline, professional interests and learning needs. The Postgraduate Certificate includes eight days in Cambridge via two residential workshops. Find out more, download the brochure and apply here.

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