Adding another ESG string to his ethical business bow

3 minute read

Adding to other qualifications I previously and subsequently hold, I studied for a BSc in Sustainable Performance Management and MSc in Strategic Business Management through CIMA, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. I enjoyed the courses and when I saw the ESG and Sustainable Finance Strategy course advertised in 2023 between CIMA and Saïd Business School, I knew that it would add to my body of knowledge in what I saw as purposeful and ‘must have’ area in respect of business performance, ethically and personally.

When I undertook the course I wasn’t disappointed, there was a great cohort of students who were highly interactive and the facilitation from Oxford Saïd was superb, challenging and thought provoking. 

The course was held online and comprised of six modules across eight weeks:

  • induction / orienteering
  • drivers and fundamentals of sustainability
  • strategic planning and long-term value creation
  • risk management and finance
  • regulation and reporting
  • governance and stakeholder engagement
  • transformational change
  • transformation plan submission

Each of the modules lasted a week with a ‘quiz’ and there was the incremental development of an ESG transformation plan which was either peer reviewed or marked by the excellent course facilitators. This culminated in the completion of the transformation plan for my business, which could be presented to my business’ board.

Also, there was a weekly face to face tutorial and ‘online chat’ where Oxford Saïd tutors and students interacted, taking real life examples of ESG issues to substantiate and reinforce our thinking. This networking approach really enabled me to relate the theoretical perspective into practical, real world examples.

The course required a commitment of 8-10 hours per week to fulfil its requirements but as I became immersed in it, it could easily have been doubled and with work commitments this could prove challenging but I found it very interesting and got swept away with the subject matter.

I have studied extensively for a long time so am used to the challenges of studying while working, but because I consider this course to have added to my professional credibility particularly within this field. ESG can be a point of contention with ‘extra cost’ to be sustainable, but this course has given me the tools to position ESG as a ‘must have’ as both a performance, competitive and ethical requirement and not a just a ‘ greenwashing box ticking’ exercise.

I think that this course has added to my depth of knowledge and enhanced my career by demonstrating how I can further my business’ competitiveness through compliance, assurance and authenticity … I am a very strong values-based professional and believe that doing the right thing is imperative both professionally and in life.

I am a perfectionist and sometimes I struggle to compromise on what I believe in, I can be impatient and want to learn and learn quickly, I don’t always enjoy the learning journey BUT I enjoyed this journey. I was challenged by it at times (which is good) and did suffer an element of discomfort (which is required to grow), and finishing the course, knowing that I passed well gave me a real sense of satisfaction. 

Although I have had reasonable academic success, I do not consider myself academic. I have worked hard and dedicated a lot of time to my personal development, I am very proud of my achievement and even more so now I have achieved my Fellowship and fulfilled the requirements of a programme delivered by Oxford Saïd.

I am an advocate of self-development, in whatever form it may take – we are all different, but if you have an interest in business and becoming a more well-informed steward of our beautiful planet and want to give yourself a competitive advantage in your career, I would definitely recommend that you undertake the ESG and Sustainable Finance Strategy course.

Online ESG and Sustainable Financial Strategy Course