From MSc Business Transformation for Sustainability to PhD Programme: interview with Gauri, a student committed to sustainable development

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Gaurisanjay Navgire is a sustainable development enthusiast and graduate of KEDGE's MSc, Master of Science Business Transformation for Sustainability. She is now a PhD student. Focus on a committed and inspiring course of study.

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Why did you choose KEDGE Business School's MSc, Master of Science Business Transformation for Sustainability?

Can you explain what prompted you to choose a Master's in Business Transformation and Sustainability after your undergraduate studies?

© Gaurisanjay Navgire

Gauri:  I already had a master’s degree in Biotechnology and was working in a startup for developing innovative diagnostic tests. But I wanted to do something that gave a purpose to my career. My then job was very monotonous. I then thought of sustainability as my career path which was close to my heart because of my grandfather.  When I was going through courses in sustainability, I came across the BTS course at KEDGE which perfectly aligned with my goals. The course was on the point what I wanted to do with sustainability. The school and the course together contributed for me to select the M.Sc.

How do you see the connection between your Master's in Business Transformation and Sustainability and your decision to pursue doctoral studies? How has your prior education prepared you for this new academic journey?

Gauri:  Being from a scientific background, I have been in the research and development field since my graduation. At one point in my career, I was trying my best to go for PhD studies but was not successful in getting the position. When I started my Master’s journey in sustainability, I had no plans to apply for doctorate studies. But then I came across the call of application for KEDGE and thought of giving my best shot at the application. The M.Sc. in Business transformation for sustainability gave me a very good understanding of what my research should look and be like. It helped me to write my proposal and visualize my research interest. The course also motivated me to apply for the PhD because I truly believe that we need an army of changemakers and PhD is going to give me the ability to teach sustainability to a mass of transformers. My prior education on sustainability has given me the confidence to study my doctorate degree in that subject and the capability to take it as my passion, my vision, my purpose.

Could you share specific examples of projects or experiences during your Master's that have had a significant impact on you and influenced your decision to pursue doctoral studies

Gauri:  Yes, definitely, the Projects like the internship in the NGO, my thesis and the company challenge have a great impact on my decision to do a PhD. For example, my thesis is based on circular economy and plastic that has inspired me to work on the research part of sustainability. The different technologies that are being used to implement sustainability are extremely crucial to achieve it. For example plastic alternatives that are biodegradable are so helpful to solve the plastic problem. Hence such important topics that I have experience in this course helped me to study this topic of sustainability in businesses deeper. Another example would be the changing the behavior of people towards sustainability which I understood by working in the NGO in Paris that worked on Poverty. Its all about mindset of people when it comes to the behavior of people about sustainability.

How do the skills you have acquired in the field of sustainability and business transformation apply to your future doctoral research work?

Well, to start with, I think the idea of the vision towards business sustainability is extremely helpful when you want to do your PhD in sustainability, which the M.Sc. BTS provided me. And of course, the knowledge about sustainable business models, environmental sustainability etc. gave me the edge I needed to purse my PhD. Having the experience and the advanced knowledge on research methods in business and management have been crucial to my profile. I have been a science student for most of my student life but the master’s course completely transformed me into a business student. I am very happy to have taken this course before doing my PhD. The person I see today in myself is most of it because of the BTS course.  

After this MSc, why join KEDGE Business School's PhD Programme?

Can you provide an overview of your doctoral research field and how it fits within the realms of sustainability and business transformation?

Gauri: So, my PhD is entirely based on the idea of business transformation for sustainability. Basically, I got the inspiration to write this research proposal because of the course, and BTS (Business Transformation for sustainability) is the part of the title of my PhD. So, my proposal contains factors that are responsible for the transformation of business towards sustainability. for example, business models, cross sector collaborations and social economic conditions with respect to hydrogen energy. I am very curious about hydrogen energy systems; in simple words it is energy produced from water which can be the next best energy resource in the future. And my research what are the businesses doing to adapt this technology in their strategies. For now, I can only talk this much about my research, as I have just started it.

What challenges do you anticipate in pursuing your PhD, and how does your education in Business Transformation and Sustainability prepare you to tackle them?

Gauri:  The topic is quite new in the research field and I think that expanding the thinking capacity and vision for sustainability is very important. The course has been like a milestone in my career without which I could not be able to apply for the PhD. The course has been a major factor for me in understanding the business world and sustainability, it is like the foundation for me to purse my goals.  Furthermore, I can always go back to the knowledge I studied in the course to reflect on my current PhD topic. For example, sustainable business models is a topic taught in the Masters course which I will always go back to reflect my work on business models on hydrogen energy. I hope I am clear and not too technical. Basically, whenever I think I need the technical help in my PhD topic, I will always approach my master’s knowledge and experience. I could state that that M.Sc. BTS is the backbone of my career in sustainability.

In what ways do you believe your doctoral research could contribute to the understanding and implementation of sustainable practices within businesses and organizations?

Gauri:  It is a very good question. In my research, I am trying to understand the different characteristics of cross sector collaborations, business models and government policies that are supporting hydrogen energy systems. In this way, when a company or a huge organization wants to change their energy strategy towards hydrogen, they could potentially use my findings. This is the simplest form of explanation I can provide for the time being. In this research, I would be highlighting the different practices, strategies and models the current businesses are implementing while using hydrogen energy, thus analyzing these business practices and showcasing the results in an easy way. It is a tiny piece of contribution in the world of sustainability.   

Do you have any specific research projects or collaborations in mind for your PhD that reflect the connection between sustainability and business transformation?

Gauri: As mentioned in the above response, I will be working on sustainability throughout my Project. But to be more specific, I will be studying different cross sector collaborations/partnerships which are integral part of sustainable transformation. I wont be directly involved in any transformation process but I will closely observe these partnerships and analyze them to understand their operations and strategies. I am going interact with people involved in these partnerships by taking interviews and try to deepen my knowledge about their purpose of sustainability,

What advice would you give to students interested in combining sustainability and business transformation in their academic and professional journeys, based on your own experience?

Gauri:  The most important thing this M.Sc. BTS taught me was finding my purpose to work for sustainability. It will then make everything very clear: your purpose, your goal, your steps to achieve it.  
I would definitely motivate then and tell them that there are a lot of opportunities coming up in the field of sustainability and business transformation. There is a need for professionals like you to work on the frontline of sustainability. Sustainability is not restricted to Corporate social responsibility of any business, but it has the potential to be a part of the business strategy. The students have the liberty to work in any type of industry to contribute in sustainability, they have the choice. They can work on the social front or on the environmental front or even on the financial front of sustainability. This is because we need an army of changemakers to work and contribute in sustainability, it is not a one person’s job. Further, I would really like to connect and interact with such bright minds that have the passion to see the world we all dream of, the world of sustainable development.

Our warmest thanks to Gauri for her story, which we hope will inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

MSc and PhD, two programmes @KEDGE to deepen your knowledge of sustainable development

The KEDGE MSc Business Transformation for Sustainability is an innovative, multidisciplinary programme that breaks down boundaries to rethink the organisations of the future. Its innovative teaching methods provide students with a complete toolbox for influencing stakeholders, managing projects and implementing sustainable development strategies. 

The KEDGE PhD programme trains young researchers to become professor-researchers attached to a research centre. It gives them the opportunity to develop and expand their research career by publishing articles in reputed journals and participating in projects under the guidance of experienced KEDGE professors.