Maria Jose Castillo Conde
- Course: MSc Sustainability and Consultancy
- Year of graduation: 2017
- Nationality: Mexican
- Job title: Project Manager - Analysis and Impact Assessment
- Company: SEIF
What have you been doing since finishing your studies?
I met my now husband while studying at the University of Leeds, after graduating we got the opportunity to move to St Gallen, Switzerland. A couple of months after my arrival I started working for a social for-profit organization that develops sustainable projects (Agriculture and Fishing) in developing countries (Nepal, Madagascar, Indonesia). My tasks involved fundraising, consulting projects acquisitions and project support. There I had the opportunity to travel to Madagascar to undertake a value chain analysis for agricultural products. Currently, I am working at SEIF Invest, a company that invests in Start-ups with a positive impact.
Currently, I am working at SEIF Invest, a company focus on investing in Start-ups with a positive impact. My tasks involve the analysis and the impact assessment of these start-ups seeking for funding. The analysis quantifies not only the commercial side of start-ups but also the positive impact they have on the environment and our society.
What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career?
The practical courses in Semester 2 and the internship I did with Leeds City Council have been key on the development of my professional career. During my dissertation I developed a Cost Assessment Tool for the City Council to build a business case of the “Economic Costs of Unsustainability” specifically in transportation and energy inefficient buildings.
Could you tell us more about your internship?
As part of the Masters, there is a subject “Sustainability Project” which involves choosing like a 2 month internship with some consulting companies (ARUP, Jacobs, Mott Macdonald) or in my case with Leeds City Council. I chose to apply for the City Council because I was very interested in the project name “Economic Cost of Unsustainability”.
During the time I worked at the Council I had the chance to interview people across different departments and at the end I got to present my results to them. My internship was solely focused on the research but some colleagues had the chance to work in the consulting companies while completing their dissertation. Almost all of them got a job afterwards.
Why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?
I was interested in Sustainability and even better when I saw it involved consulting. By doing research I could see that the University of Leeds was the best option available.
What was the best aspect of your course?
The practical courses in second semester where you have to undertake “Environmental Impact Assessments” and the possibility to work for a consulting company or a public institution as part of the dissertation process.
What would you say to students thinking about studying your course?
That studying Sustainability and Consultancy at the University of Leeds has been the best experience. It has the possibility to become a milestone for your future professional and personal career.