MSc in International Sustainability Management (SustM)
Meet the Alumni:Daniel Schmitt, Class of 2019
ESCP Alumnus Daniel Schmitt, Project Manager at VEJA, describes his experiences and shares some of the things he learned in the MSc in International Sustainability Management (SustM).
Tell us a bit about yourself. What were you doing or studying before you started the SustM?
I’m half Brazilian, half French. I was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and grew up in Latin America, in between Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. I moved to Montreal, Canada from 2013 to 2017 to study Political Science at Université de Montréal. After several work experiences in the public sector, I decided that I wanted to understand how social and environmental impact could be done and handled via the private sector. So I applied to the SustM programme, joined it and graduated in 2019.
What are you currently doing? What challenges does your team face?
During the master's program I had the opportunity to work in retail at VEJA (a footwear brand), so after graduation, I applied for a job at VEJA as a project manager in sustainability. I was hired to handle the circularity project at VEJA, and develop repairing business models so that we can increase our products' lifecycle, enter the secondhand market, and master recyclability when the pair of shoes isn’t repairable anymore. Today, I manage a team of 4 people.
For which main reasons did you choose to study the SustM?
To me, it was crucial to continue my studies in an impact-driven program, and as I wanted to work in the private sector, ESCP seemed like the right choice.
Did your Bachelor studies and/or previous work experience prepare you for this programme?
Yes. It allowed me to have an empirical and theoretical understanding of environmental and social issues. I wanted to have a more practical approach on the matter, and that’s what I was seeking at a business school like ESCP.
Which class or modules did you enjoy the most?
I really enjoyed the Dark Side of Sustainability course with Professor Aurélien Acquier. It was really interesting to approach some issues with a critical mindset and really deepen the understanding of some business practices.
What sustainability topics particularly interested you?
To me, sustainability is a very vast topic. I had a particular curiosity about sustainability as it relates to project management and supply-chain related topics and courses.
Which activities did you enjoy the most and why?
I really enjoyed when we got to work with organisations and companies on actual issues and projects in the Company Consultancy Projects both in Paris and Berlin. It was a great opportunity to put into practice what business topics we had learned throughout the courses.
Where did you do your internship and what did you do?
I interned at VEJA as a project manager. I was working closely with one of the founders of the brand, getting to understand the brand, this particular project, and increasing its impact zones to the end-of-life part of the value chain.
To what kind of person would you recommend the programme? Do you have any tips for students starting in the programme?
I think this Master's is appropriate for all kinds of profiles. That’s what makes it a unique and great programme, in my opinion - the background of experiences, approaches, and backgrounds. It allows students the chance to make not only great, but also inspiring connections and encounters.
To the students that are starting this Master’s degree, I’d recommend to really try to put all the gained knowledge in practice in personal projects. I’d also recommend not to hesitate to contact and keep in touch with any inspiring professionals and speakers you get to meet throughout the two years. And of course, make some amazing friends!
What was it like to be a student in Berlin?
Berlin is a very big city. It has its pros and cons. As a non-German speaking student, it’s perfect because of the fact that so many people living there speak English. It’s always nice to discover a new culture, and to expose yourself to new adventures, especially during a learning period of your lives. The cost of living and prices aren’t too crazy, like in other cities such as Paris, and the German people are very welcoming and nice. It’s an awesome city to be a student, and the campus is beautiful (although be ready to spend lots of time on the S-bahn)!