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Career story: Studying sustainable finance in lockdown

15 July, 2021Mutahara Gofur

Shada Elborno, Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bank, tells us about studying for the Executive Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Finance, what she loves about her job, and how she managed studying during lockdown whilst working.

Why did you decide to do the Executive Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Finance? 

Green shoot growing out of moneyI want to play a strategic role in building a sustainable future. My goal is to encourage people and organisations to implement responsible business practices for long-term rewards.

To do that effectively, I needed to build and develop my understanding, awareness, and technical knowledge of sustainable finance. The course was sufficiently designed to do that for me personally. 

What did you enjoy the most about the course? 

The subject matter was compelling for me. I greatly enjoyed meeting many good people with similar interests and the whole learning process overall.

I was part of the first cohort where I worked, grew, and shared knowledge with teammates and faculty who were all thinking in the same direction.

The combination of classes, reading material, assignments – and the freedom for a fair amount of self-learning – kept me engaged and motivated. 

How did you deal with challenges? 

Studying during a pandemic was the biggest challenge.

I had to find new ways of working and coping with my course commitments while adapting to different ways of taking care of my family and work responsibilities.

My time management and prioritisation skills certainly improved to another level during this period. 

Being a student mid-way through my career also required a change in mindset. I had to be disciplined in attending classes and completing assignments, and not put my studies on a back burner or get distracted by other priorities.

Going through the course remotely undoubtedly had its difficulties. Luckily, this was offset by how collaborative, accessible and openly communicative the team and faculty were throughout. 

What advice would you give to the next cohort of students doing the certificate? 

Remember you’re worth it and three simple rules:

  1. make time
  2. be committed
  3. engage.

How has the Executive Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Finance helped your career? 

Through this certification, I’m a lot more confident and comfortable in my subject knowledge, theoretically, technically, and practically.

As I engage with clients and colleagues now, I can connect with their concerns and help them look at the future from a more holistic perspective. 

I genuinely want to play a strategic role in building a sustainable future by helping implement responsible business practices for long-term rewards. So now I’m always looking for opportunities to advocate sustainable finance offerings to clients. 

What do you enjoy the most about your job? 

This June, I celebrated 25 years at work.

Over the years, I learned that my job was a very good platform for my growth and development through both challenges and opportunities.

My favourite lesson has been to enjoy all that I do and always make the best of it. But the highlights of what I enjoy at work are that I can:

  • learn all the time
  • value the people I meet
  • encourage and empower others, and
  • most importantly, I constantly rediscover myself. 

Any thoughts on what you’re going to do next? 

I’m on the path of continuous growth.

I stay curious, not embracing the status quo and always seeking better solutions. My hopes and energies have a simple focus – to constantly evolve to be the best version of myself. 

Related content

More about our Executive Postgraduate Certificate Sustainable Finance on the LIBF MENA website

Find out more about our Centre for Sustainable Finance