Graduate profile
Philippa Hastings

Philippa Hastings

"The academic staff at CES are incredibly accommodating. They’re always there to support students, making themselves available, and offering advice and guidance wherever needed. The support I received from my dissertation supervisor in particular was amazing."

Course
Sustainable Development MSc
Graduation year
2019
Research project

Sustainability in the fast fashion industry

Choosing Surrey

When researching postgraduate degrees, I was drawn to the Sustainable Development MSc at Surrey due to the wide variety of modules that were offered. The opportunity to explore topics spanning several aspects of the subject area using an interdisciplinary approach was appealing.

The option to carry out a Professional Training placement as part of the course also stood out. At the time of application, I was unsure about what career path I wanted to pursue. Having the ability to gain beneficial work experience within industry, and to learn how I might apply the knowledge and skills learned alongside my studies seemed like a fantastic opportunity.

My course

My passion for sustainability has been driven by my admiration for the natural environment, and built on through my education and first-hand observation of current widespread global issues, such as plastic pollution.

Sustainable development is a multi-faceted subject area, which opens you up to an array of topics. Having the opportunity to explore this variety of concepts was a great way to pinpoint my own areas of interest. For example: the environmental impacts of the fast fashion industry.

Three aspects of my MSc that I enjoyed most were: the diversity of the course content; hearing from numerous guest lecturers; and being encouraged to hold in-depth discussions.

The academic staff at the Centre for Environment and Sustainability are incredibly accommodating, too. They’re always there to support students, making themselves available, and offering advice and guidance wherever needed. The support I received from my dissertation supervisor in particular was amazing.

Gaining industry experience

I expressed an interest in the concept of sustainability in the fashion industry, and I was put in contact with the Group Marketing Director at Coats. After going through a formal two-step interview, I was offered a three-month summer internship for the position of Sustainability Marketing Intern. This eventually became eight months.

I gained a wealth of knowledge and skills while interning for Coats. The experience provided me with credible insight into how a company operates, as well as an understanding of marketing and its importance within a business.

I worked within the company’s Marketing Team, assisting the Group Marketing Director and Head of Sustainability with communications surrounding the company's sustainability strategy.

In addition to this, being able to properly experience work culture while being surrounded by a welcoming and supportive team made for a positive and enjoyable time, for which I’m extremely grateful.

The future

My time spent at Surrey and Coats made me more passionate about pursuing work within the field of sustainability. Interning for a company that holds such strong values in this area was extremely rewarding.

Change has to start somewhere and it’s encouraging to see work already being carried out by various businesses to progress towards a more sustainable future. There’s a long way to go. To be involved in that journey throughout the course of my future career would be something I’d be proud to do.

Find out more about postgraduate courses at our Centre for Environment and Sustainability.

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