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Stockholm School of Economics: The start of your career in sustainable finance 

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Hanna Grahn is fascinated by sustainable finance.

So much so that after finishing her Bachelor’s degree at the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), she decided to pursue a Master in Finance to explore the subject further.

To complete this advanced degree in SSE was an obvious choice for Hanna.

“SSE led me to seek information and inspiration on sustainability in addition to my finance studies, culminating with my thesis ‘Green is the New Black’,” she said.

“I am happy that SSE has now embraced sustainability in all its programmes as well as offering dedicated courses on global challenges and sustainable finance.”

Hanna now works as a senior sustainability specialist for EQT, a global private equity firm in Stockholm.

Stockholm School of Economics

Hanna Grahn. Source: Stockholm School of Economics

SSE’s foresight means she is now working in an industry where 26% (or $23trn) of all assets under management in 2016, were in “socially responsible investments”.

The industry is only set to get bigger in importance, but companies need to play their part.

“If companies treat it as a topic on the side without proper measuring and reporting, they will not be able to move the needle in terms of significant global challenges like climate change and social inequality,” Hanna said.

Finance education for the future

SSE is the top business school in the Nordics and one of the best in Europe according to the latest Financial Times (FT) rankings. It’s the go-to business school for aspiring business leaders like Hanna, who gravitate to their industry-led MSc in Finance.

“SSE has over 110 corporate partners and these business industry connections were a great addition to my degree,” said Hanna.

Faculty members offer continuous support; their passion for their respective areas are “contagious” and spurs many to learn more about new topics.

“I appreciated their frequent discussions on concrete cases and their own experiences. I still look back at some of the lessons I learned from their stories and apply the academic models and theories to my work,” said Hanna.

To study at SSE is to surround oneself with talent. Hanna can attest to the positive impact her coursemates have made on her personal and professional life. Until today, the friendships she formed at SSE with international and Swedish students remain intact.

Stockholm School of Economics

Stockholm School of Economics. Photographer: Juliana Wiklund

“The friendships I made have continued to support me in my career, and I’m always happy to come across people I studied with. Several SSE graduates are currently my colleagues,” she added.

What is more, SSE’s MSc in Finance uses a broad curriculum. Hanna, for example, took subjects such as Capital Markets, Valuation, Fixed Income, and Capital Structure. Her electives included topics such as Private Equity and Value Investing.

Add to that presentation, analysis and communication skills, and Hanna gained a full suite of theoretical and practical knowledge that she describes as instrumental to her career today.

“This combination has proved to be invaluable in my career,” she said.

Become a sustainable finance leader with SSE

If you want to evolve into a sustainable finance leader at SSE, Hanna has a few words of advice to share: “You need to constantly search for and be open to new ideas, initiatives and ways of thinking to be on top of what is happening in the sustainability sphere.”

Hanna also said that you need to be “ambitious” and develop a broad set of skills during your studies as the sustainability sector is continuously changing.

“From detailed financial analysis to impactful communications, the sustainability arena encompasses several disciplines, and no day is the same for me,” she said. “Hence, flexibility and a proactive attitude will take you far.”

At SSE, you’ll have access to global learning opportunities. For instance, Hanna embarked on a study abroad semester which amplified her cross-cultural communication skills and expanded her industry network.

 

That network continues to grow even after she graduated from SSE.

For her current role, she frequently engages with key decision-makers to encourage more awareness on sustainability internally and externally. She heads the climate action initiatives, engages in fundraisers and collaborates with other stakeholders in the finance community to promote sustainability.

“Our aim is to have a positive impact in everything we do, hence sustainability runs through every investment decision and work stream while mitigating risks, but most importantly to drive innovation and find new opportunities,” Hanna said.

“It’s what we call ‘future-proofing’ companies.”

But before you start future-proofing companies like Hanna has, first future-proof your career with SSE.

Through their Master in Finance programme, you’ll be one step closer to becoming an agile and sustainable business leader.

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