The need for organizations across all sectors to address sustainability issues has fostered a growing demand for trained professionals. Columbia University’s M.S. in Sustainability Management program, designed by the Earth Institute and the School of Continuing Education, trains students to fill this growing demand.
New M.S. in Sustainability Management student, Mohammad Al Amoush, wants to change his industrial hometown in Jordan and return with sustainable development best practices. Educated as a Civil and Environmental Engineer, Al Amoush sees the program as a way to develop the new skills needed to improve his country. He recently answered questions about his experience so far at Columbia University.
What drew you to the Master of Science in Sustainability Management?
The main reason behind my decision to apply to the program is that I was born in the first industrial city in Jordan, and the third largest city in terms of population. It is a city where many environmental problems existed and accumulated throughout the years. This inspired me to pursue graduate studies in Civil Engineering-Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, with the aim of getting involved in the sustainable development process of my city and country as a whole; also I have ten years of experience in the area local development. Thus my master’s degree in Sustainability Management complements my bachelor’s degree and career track.
What experience do you have in the field of Sustainability Management?
I just finished my work with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation as a head of the municipal development division at its local development department. This was a supervisory position in which I followed up on all of the local development initiatives especially those funded by the international donors such as USAID, World Bank, EU, UN Agencies, etc. Another responsibility was to ensure the alignment of the national policy with the local development field and its applicability at this level.
What skills and tools have you acquired through the program so far?
It is just the beginning, but throughout the first semester I have been engaged with several activities, lectures, seminars, this enhanced my skills and understanding of the environmental themes, environmental problems, and enabled me to acquire the environmental analytical tools which will lead to solving those problems.
How have you applied what you’ve learned in the program so far?
What I have learned so far, has given me know-how to make a comparison between the sustainability problems in Jordan and possible solutions to them, bearing in mind the best international practices.
What is your favorite class in the MSSM program so far and why?
To be frank, all of the classes I have registered for this semester are important. However, I like actual cases of sustainability problems and their solutions on the ground, particularly in the Earth Institute Practicum and Sustainability Management.
Beyond the classroom, what extracurricular sustainability related have you engaged in with your fellow Sustainability Management students?
The most amazing thing I’ve noticed about the students’ extracurricular events is the e-mails which we have receive on an almost daily basis regarding upcoming events. I have participated in several events with my colleagues and I will also participate in future events as much as I can. In the end I think there will be a good network of the program’s students around the world.
How do you intend to utilize your degree from the MSSM program to further your career?
The Sustainability Management program will allow me to play a pivotal role in addressing current policies and legislation, and establishing new ones in the sustainable development process.