Name: Michael Buick, 28 years old.
Degree: BA (Hons) Philosophy and Theology (Oxon), MA Art History (Courtauld), MProf Leadership for Sustainable Development (Forum for the Future).
Can you give your work title and what it is you actually do?
I am Communications Manager at ClimateCare.
ClimateCare was tiny when I joined in 2005, and I’ve had a huge range of responsibilities, from website development and consumer marketing to press work and client management. With the company growing from 3 to 30+ over two years, the role has been constantly evolving, and my focus is now on communicating with the press and key opinion formers. Day to day I speak to journalists about the carbon market, give interviews and write articles for publication and copy for our website. I also help develop our PR strategy, to communicate our passionate belief in how important the voluntary carbon market is in tackling climate change. In the past year I’ve found myself debating on live TV, taking a key client around carbon reduction projects in India, journalists to a project in Uganda, and collecting an award for an online animation. Never a dull day.
Were you always interested in this career?
It was only after pursuing my interests in philosophy and art that I realised the most important criteria for me was to be passionate about my job and the difference it was making in tackling the big issues. There’s none bigger than climate change so I started to look at ways of using my communication skills in the area of environmental politics. That led me to the MProf with Forum for the Future and the rest is history.
What do you wish you’d known when you were an undergraduate?
Don’t stress that you’ve got to decide your vocation now, once and for all. It will evolve, probably to suit your strengths and passions. Don’t stall by waiting for a revelation – just choose an area or job that attracts you and throw yourself into it.
How has your postgraduate qualification helped your career?
It gave me an overview of sustainability issues, but also, crucially, it provided the confidence and the contacts to start my career in this area.
What do you like most about your job?
The variety and the opportunity provided by a small, fast-growing business that is owned by a visionary entrepreneur – but most of all my work colleagues, who are fantastic fun and great company.
Are there any downsides to what you do?
Not many, but the fast growth and break-neck pace of change in the market and public debate has not been without it its stresses.
What do you think are the most important strengths/skills you need to make a success of what you do?
Self-confidence, willingness to have a go and push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Integrity. And a genuine interest in and passion for the cause.
What would be your best piece of advice for graduates coming into this sector?
Make the best use of your existing contacts; find an area that has potential for future growth, where you can get involved early and help to shape its development – this is easier if you genuinely engage with the issues and think through the drivers that are going to be key in future years.
If you can, find a small organisation with good potential. If you prove your worth it will provide more opportunities than in a larger, more corporate employer.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Life is short, and being made shorter by humanity’s reckless treatment of our fragile home. So enjoy every day and make your contribution count.