MSES Student Profile: Alka Bhide
Merging Finance and Sustainability
Alka Bhide, an MS in Energy and Sustainability (MSES) student, spent her early career dealing with mergers and acquisitions at Canada’s largest bank. Now, she’s merging her finance background with sustainability in the MSES program.
Bhide graduated with a BA in Economics and Public Policy from the University of Toronto in 2020, but laments, “I really missed getting to use the public policy aspect of my education in the finance world.” She poked around a bit within TD Bank and “realized what a large sector there was devoted to doing policy on a multinational level towards climate change, which was something I was always passionate about.” It convinced her to take the next steps.
For Bhide, the draw to ISEN’s MSES program was the practical application of the curriculum. “It’s not only the theoretical—there are some good, practical, environmental science ideas that we can apply to sustainability in the workplace.” For example, when it comes time to do the practicum in the spring, where students participate in a consulting project, Bhide says, “I want to see a business case of how to get financing past different stakeholders. It's really easy to say, ‘Oh, this is a great idea and a great project,’ but to get past that is something I really want to learn how to do. It’s a practical skill to walk away with.”
In the MSES program, Bhide is specializing in Energy and Sustainable Finance specialization, which focuses on the underlying economic and financial mechanisms for energy and sustainability growth, such as project development and finance, sustainable and impact investing, energy trading, and scaling technologies. “I’m really looking forward to exploring policy at a corporate level and working with different multinational organizations and NGOs toward climate agreements. I just want to see the money be used to do some good.” The ability to develop and hone these strategies and expand her toolkit within her the specialization will provide Bhide with the foothold to transition into a job that focuses on policy governance within a financial institution—ideally specifically related to climate change.
In the meantime, Bhide is most looking forward to getting to know others in the program. “I think that they've done a really good job of putting together a diverse cohort with a variety of interests within sustainability. And I feel like it's definitely great to get to network with all these people and just make new friends that will also be in the same industry.”