“Studying sustainability will help me change the world”
William Eduard, Global Head of Research at J. Lauritzen A/S, reflects on his first few months in his Executive MBA and why, thanks to the focus on sustainability and the multicultural diversity of his cohort, he already feels it fits like a glove.
Investment banking was the starting point for William’s career. Those Wall Street movies made an impact – I wanted to be Gordon Gekko. I therefore got a job at a Norwegian investment bank covering the transportation industry, when I had the opportunity to transit jump into the shipping industry.
I now work for J. Lauritzen A/S, based in Copenhagen. We transport dry bulk commodities – grains, coal, iron ore, scrap metal etc. – all over the world. In my job as Global Head of Research I get to put my analysis and trading skills into action, trying to anticipate the movement of the market and the rates so we can position our fleet the right way. It’s exciting and it’s fast paced. But like every other industry, there are challenges which I want to be able to help address.
I knew from the time I started at university that I wanted to do an MBA at some point, so when J. Lauritzen A/S offered to sponsor me, it felt like the right time. As a company they are very pro employee development and skills, and they could see the benefits going forward.
Perhaps the Blue MBA was the natural choice given my industry, but I wanted to address the future sustainability agenda and didn’t necessarily want to be locked into shipping for rest of my life. A big part of the reason I chose CBS was that they had the shipping expertise, but I wanted to broaden my possibilities by choosing the Executive MBA instead.
I only started my EMBA in May this year and have been on campus for two separate weeks covering a module each time. Those weeks were quite intense, but it’s been great getting to know the others on the course. We have people from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the US, China and Brazil to name a few, and it makes for fascinating and varied discussions. I’ve noticed the multicultural nature is reflective of the shipping industry itself as well as my company which value diversity , making everything we talk about highly relevant and meaningful. I can already use the things I’m learning in my day-to-day job, both from a cultural and a subject matter perspective.
The EMBA is a fairly big workload, and my job takes a lot of my time as well, so it is a case of prioritising. I have children and when they go to sleep, I’ll start working or studying to get everything done, hence the support from my wife is essential on this journey.
We’re, like every other shipping company, looking at making the company more sustainable. Creating a more sustainable future, is something that is a big focus on the CBS EMBA. I want to build a theoretical background so that I can make a valuable contribution to this new direction and the future global agenda. That’s why I opted for the concentration Sustainability & Governance.
Sustainability is the talk of the town and Copenhagen is one of the few universities with such a focus on it. I guess it’s not just about learning the theories and how to practically apply them but about the language as well – how to talk about the topic and have meaningful conversations. Where the EMBA has been so good, even in the short time I’ve been studying, is in providing so many perspectives, both culturally as well as cross-industry from people with very different backgrounds. We talk about our experiences and how we can apply different techniques, so we’re getting a vast information load for a short amount of time.
I’ve only had two classes so far, but I’ve found the professors in the faculty really skilled and relevant. They are extremely good at their job. They encourage discussions and then use these to emphasise real world examples, getting the context and theory out of the discussions instead of from dry slides so you can see exactly where everything fits in.
Teaching is based on everyone actively contributing in classes, we come from such diverse backgrounds and the enthusiastic interaction makes it more interesting and engaging not just for the students, but I imagine for the professors too.
Pushing the agenda
The shipping industry is one of the worst offenders as far as sustainability goes, accounting for 5% of all global emissions.
We have new classification standards to help us become less pollutive and transition to greener solutions. There is an emphasis on developing new technologies and cleaning up emissions – sustainability is very much on top of the agenda, but there are many challenges ahead.
I feel I’m in a situation where I have the opportunity to affect the world, to move towards a greener environment and a more sustainable industry. My ultimate aim? I want to position myself so I’m able to push the agenda in the right direction that is best for the future generations.
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