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Q&A: Cambridge MBA students reflect on experiences at SEI

Over two weeks from 28 March–8 April 2022, SEI and the Stockholm Sustainable Finance Centre hosted four students from the University of Cambridge Judge Business School MBA Global Consulting Project (GCP) to work as consultants and apply their knowledge from their studies in business under the supervision of SEI Research Fellow and University of Cambridge Judge Business School MBA graduate Daniel Duma.

Cecilia Hellström / Published on 5 May 2022

The University of Cambridge Judge Business School describes its MBA Global Consulting Project (GCP) as an opportunity for MBA students to apply their knowledge and skills in the real world. The host organization identifies an important management issue it would like to students to investigate. A team of four MBA students came to work at SEI HQ in Stockholm, Sweden for a two-week period from 28 March–8 April 2022 to analyse the issues and generate recommendations.

After these two weeks, SEI Communications Intern Cecilia Hellström asked the students about their time here as well as their thoughts behind choosing SEI as their host organization.

What made you choose SEI?

David Lone: The opportunity to work with researchers who are deeply passionate, intellectually curious and ambitious about energy, environment and climate-change related topics.

Mayuko Yamaguchi: Having a career background in power/infrastructure project development in Asia and interested in knowing about project development in Africa, the project SEI offered immediately caught my attention. I also thought working for a non-profit research institute will be a great experience for me since I hope to do research or get involved in policymaking activities in the long-term.”

Shan Liu: I am an actuary from the insurance industry. Using insurance solutions to mitigate climate risk is a popular topic in the insurance industry. The project at SEI is to develop de-risking initiatives for renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa and insurance is an important tool for de-risking. This project would provide me the opportunity to see how insurance in involved in this popular topic.

Jun Hatakeyama: The project theme (renewable energy, sustainability, investment), the people (good impression during Zoom info session with a Cambridge alumnus) and place (on-site in Stockholm).

What makes SEI unique for this choice?

Hatakeyama: There were many projects addressing sustainability as choices of GCP, but SEI’s was closely and clearly related to renewable energy. There was a limited number of projects that would host students in their offices.

Lone: SEI’s team works on the most pressing issues related to the above topics, at a global scale. This is the kind of perspective I was hoping to gain through my MBA project experience.

Yamaguchi: The project offered me a chance to tackle a question I was interested in solving, but had not been able to explore in depth during the school term- how to accelerate the development of power market in emerging countries to create a sustainable society for the next generation. I further liked the fact that the project SEI offered had a good balance of fact-finding through desktop research and consideration of practical applications through interviews.

Liu: There are so many opportunities to learn how insurance is involved in mitigating climate risk, but as a research institute, SEI provides a higher exposure. Instead of developing insurance strategy for a specific organization, the project at SEI allows me to see the bigger picture of climate risk, renewable energy and risk management.

Now that you have been here, what made SEI a great choice?

Yamaguchi: These four weeks have been truly inspirational. I appreciated being able to work in the same office as SEI members and having a chance to discuss with some of the members on topics I care about. I also learned a lot from the project and my team members which will benefit me for my future career.

Lone: The chance to interact, engage with and learn from top academics, researchers and thinkers.

Liu: SEI provides a lot support for us on this project, such as sharing research reports and connecting us to professionals with practical experiences for interviews. This support helped me gain a through understanding of the renewable energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa and how people perceive risks. I learned that investors/developers/public sectors perceive risks in a different way compared with how the insurance industry perceive risks and this discrepancy would help me better communicate risks and solutions in my future work.

Hatakeyama: Fruitful discussions with SEI’s researchers, close communication with and helpful instructions from [SEI Research Fellow and University of Cambridge Judge Business School MBA graduate] Daniel [Duma].

What previous skills were you able to use that you think were unique to SEI as a workplace?

Hatakeyama: Technical expertise in the energy sector and experience on investment projects from project sourcing to implementation in emerging countries (Southeast Asia).

Lone: I believe having a background in data analytics and strategy allowed me to apply more quantitative thought processes to a project that was – in terms of primary and secondary research – relatively qualitative in nature.

Yamaguchi: I was able to apply my project development knowledge to form a hypothesis for the research question and efficiently find the right resources for investigation. I also used my project management skills so that we could finish all the task in time. From SEI, I learnt different ways to approach a research question, and how to split the question into smaller work streams.

Liu: Actuaries are considered as the core of the insurance industry because we handle all the quantitative and computational work in the insurance industry. We are more sensitive to hidden risks and experienced in dealing with risks that are not easily quantifiable. I think this knowledge helped a lot during the project at SEI.


Daniel Duma
Daniel Duma

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Written by

Cecilia Hellström

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