Student spotlight details
Dylan appreciated the opportunity to deepen his knowledge of cities while continuing to progress his career and incorporate this learning into his work.
'Prior to (and during) the MSc in Sustainable Urban Development, I was a management consultant with KPMG providing strategy, policy and economic advisory services. Having started my career in a more corporate consulting division, I had landed in a team of economists and ex-policymakers who were working on issues across government sectors - health and human services, justice and security, education and transport and infrastructure. I enjoyed the breadth and impact of the work but my long term goal was to specialise in the cross-cutting challenges facing urban environments, particularly the encouragement of climate neutral policies as well as active and healthy cities.
'While perhaps a bit too pop culture for some, Richard Florida's work on the economics of place and gentrification transported me from thinking about companies to the environments where they thrive. While I applied and was accepted to full-time programs, the MSUD programme curriculum stood out for me as both diverse and highly relevant. I particularly valued the focus on sustainability (in its many urban-related facets) and was looking forward to meeting a cohort of practitioners who shared that passion. While there were challenges with working full-time and studying part-time, the opportunity cost is much lower and I appreciated the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of cities while continuing to progress my career and incorporate this learning into my work.
'For someone accustomed to multiple projects and deadlines, the discipline of writing a dissertation was still a particular challenge for me. With such a (seemingly) long period of time to delve into one specific topic, it was very difficult to know when or whether I had met my milestones for a) building an adequate base of knowledge, b) critically examining that knowledge and c) contributing something worthwhile to the debate.
'In the end, the dissertation and programme were highly rewarding because they challenged me. I taught myself new professional skills (transport simulation modelling and the Java software language) to conduct my research and I got to delve into the environmental sustainability of emerging transport technologies. I was very fortunate to have a supportive and interested employer who provided me the flexibility to pursue this degree and this research and I’m also lucky enough to walk away with a great group of friends and alumni that I’ll be connected with in the future.
'I have recently taken on a new a role in government leading the planning and preparation, from an infrastructure point of view, for the advent of electric, connected and autonomous vehicles. Having explored some of the sustainability implications of these new transport technologies in my dissertation research it is an exciting opportunity to work within government to ensure infrastructure projects and planning procedures are ready for the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of these technologies.'