Bipin Tiwari, Fielding Chemical Technologies Inc.
“A great innovator is the one who uses a mixture of ingredients like creativity, change, and effort in their actions, to achieve what seems impossible.”
As a Chemical Engineer having worked with eminent scientists, industrial professionals, and startups in the past, the craving to explore the field of Sustainability increased with each step. As a graduate student of Master of Science in Sustainability Management Program at UofT, I am learning the art of solving problems by balancing technical and managerial qualities.
This summer as a part of my program, I am working on a special project as an R&D Industrial Intern with Fielding Chemical Technologies Inc. The journey thus far has not only enhanced my decision making skills but has also developed the innovator within me. I’ve learned that doing an extensive literature survey before initiating a project is something that is often overlooked by policy makers. Research and anticipating costly negative outcomes are key components when starting a new project. This was an invaluable piece of learning that I gained from my past two month’s at Fielding Chemical Technologies.
I am learning that balancing the sides of a square comprising of the stakeholders, quality, environment and profit are essential in any business climate.
Sustainability is far more complex than just solving problems related to waste or reducing energy consumption. It is a process, more like a project where every action will have an equal and opposite reaction if each change is not assessed from planning to execution. From documentation to handling stakeholders, from purchase to production, from maintenance to supply, everything should be connected to achieve maximum output with zero negative impact on the internal and external stakeholders. I am learning that balancing the sides of a square comprising of the stakeholders, quality, environment and profit are essential in any business climate.
Izak Weinstein, National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)
The MScSM program has equipped me with the tools necessary to enter a new organization, observe current practices and provide support to improve organizational sustainability. During our summer work placements I benefited from the opportunity to apply those skills and get firsthand knowledge on sustainability issues outside of the classroom.
My summer placement at the National Outdoor Leadership School’s (NOLS) Yukon branch has instilled in me the value of experiential education. As the rations coordinator at NOLS Yukon, I am responsible for organizing the food for multi-week wilderness leadership courses. I quickly learned that the existing recycling system was inefficient at managing the packaging waste and was also a time waster as the NOLS staff were responsible for separating waste into its respective streams when it was brought to the waste management facility.
…ideas that we discussed in the classroom, when applied to real world sustainability challenges, can inform cost effective solutions which fit within an organization’s culture.
I saw an opportunity for twofold improvement; to increase our diversion rate while at the same time reducing the amount of time staff spent at the waste management facility. Implementing a recycling center pilot project where waste is sorted on site by students was a simple solution which is also more in line with the NOLS’ Leave No Trace philosophy. As an organization dedicated to experiential outdoor education, NOLS is an ideal place to the value of hands on engagement with sustainability issues and solutions. So far I have learned the importance of and taking time to analyze current practices and interacting with people directly affected by the sustainability issue at hand. I am finding that these simple ideas which we discussed in the classroom, when applied to real world sustainability challenges, can inform cost effective solutions which fit within an organization’s culture.
Jeff Chan, Corporate Sustainability Group, RBC
Fresh off of my first year as a graduate student in the MScSM Program a U of T, I was eager to begin my summer internship as an Associate with the Corporate Sustainability Group at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). This was going to be my first ever experience working in a large corporation, and, from the momentum I gained from school, I felt ready to become a fresh new face of change and new ideas at the bank. To my surprise however, the reality of my first few weeks on the job was not quite the way I had dreamt it up in my head. Here are a few great lessons I learned in a very short span of time spent in the corporate world.
The idealistic nature of what I had been learning in school became glaringly obvious to me once I started, and probably was the quickest and harshest lesson I learned. I remember one of the very first attempts I made to apply something I had learned in school was not very well received by my superiors. I was told that what I had done was excellent if I was in school, but in the corporate world, it would not always be realistic for me to try and apply my academic acumen. This felt like a slap in the face to me, honestly, however I know that this hard lesson will become invaluable to me both as a future sustainability professional and as a student as I complete the remainder of my graduate degree.
A second thing I have come to realize during my time at RBC is that the value of school is not so much in the content being taught, but rather, the value lies in learning to think about things in smart and diverse ways. Going back to school in the fall, my goal will now shift from simply learning the content to thinking more about what I am learning in an in-depth, intelligent manner. As I reflect more on this point, I recall attending a Company Town Hall event during one of my first weeks on the job, and Dave McKay, the CEO of RBC, made an incredibly insightful comment about “something magical happening when you go back to school after a co-op term”. I can’t help but think that this is what he was referring to…
…the most important thing to finding success wherever you are is to have a positive attitude, no matter the circumstance.
A third and final lesson I learned during my first few weeks at RBC is a simple one: the most important thing to finding success wherever you are is to have a positive attitude, no matter the circumstance. Although this may not be as reflective as my previous two lessons nor directly related to school, or my work term specifically, it is nonetheless one of the most important things that I will take away at the end of my internship.
To learn more about the U of T Sustainability Management Program as either a student or an industry partner – click here.