I am not going to lie, if you were expecting something similar to your undergraduate studies, well, sorry to inform you, the MSc Carbon Finance is on a whole new level. When I first started, I felt I had no idea what I had let myself in for. Seriously, with intimidating names such as Carbon Accounting, Carbon Markets and Climate Change Science, it kind of scares you at the start. Most of us get into class unsure of what wrath the professors and guest lecturers are going to unleash on us. However, as time goes on, we begin to understand what we are studying and the feeling is both amazing and exciting. By the end of the first semester, we begin to feel more confident of what we know and how we can apply that knowledge.
Getting to know the industry
The series of courses in the first semester has given us a good sense of the scope of Carbon Finance. Climate Change Science and Policy introduced us to the scientific evidence backing climate change with interesting nuances about the international arena the whole issue is played on; Carbon Accounting has helped us understand what and how we can account and thus manage emissions; Carbon Markets provided a brief overview of the carbon derivatives markets and lastly Energy Finance targeted the global energy crisis by letting us explore the various forms of green alternative energy solutions. The pace of the courses is generally quite fast, although the professors never rush through the concepts and ensure that all have clearly grasped them before moving on. Coursework is geared towards integrating theories with real-life situations while examinations at the end of the semester help reinforce our understanding.
Debating the latest theories and groundbreaking intiatives
The guest lectures are an amazing feature of the programme. High profile industry figures from established institutions join us in class to discuss the groundbreaking projects they are involved in. We had someone who had previously worked in the Stern Review come to talk to us about the economics of climate change and it was an amazing class.
Some of the most interesting ideas are often thrown around and discussed at the open guest lectures that take place outwith classes. Attending these lectures opens up your world and often amazes you. You are also exposed to a wide array of opportunities, such as internships at related organisations (Carbon Trust, Climate2020 etc) whereby you can apply the skill set you have gained throughout the programme.
A unique network of classmates and alumni
Its not all in the academic stuff that has made my experience here so enjoyable however, it’s also the people. The MSc Carbon Finance class is small, only about 15 people, but vastly international. We have classmates from nearly all continents! Besides that, the professors, alumni and guest lecturers are friendly and always ready to share their ideas and listen to yours. The network you gain here is amazing.
So basically, the past semester has been awesome for me. But that’s not it; the next semester is going to be better. There are some interesting courses coming up such as the Carbon Consulting Project, and new guest lectures beginning in January with the Green Investment Bank and the Climate Policy’s Special Issue on the Changing Geopolitics of Climate Change – which you can check out if you’re around Edinburgh.