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It isn’t uncommon for students to come to Presidio Graduate School with a desire to pursue sustainability consulting careers. Consulting is an excellent career choice in the realm of sustainability for a multitude of reasons. First, it’s never boring! If you’re interested in a variety of subjects, learning about new fields, and contributing to multiple industries, sustainability consulting might be a good fit for you. When I was first starting at Presidio, I regularly encountered the question, “What do you want to do?” and my answer was almost always “consulting.” This career path would allow me to explore any subject I found interesting in my classes without feeling the pressure to focus on one field of study. It also gave me a sense of security; if I didn’t select a specific focus area, I would always be able to contribute to creating more good in this world through sustainability consulting wherever I was needed.

Consulting is also a great option if you do know what your focus is. You can pursue the consulting route to offer an understanding of various emerging fields and bring valuable domain expertise to organizations that require it. Since “sustainability” is an umbrella term encompassing so many different areas, there are many opportunities for specialization. This is where I find myself now. Attending Presidio Graduate School has represented a career pivot for me. After being a student here for more than a year now, I’ve begun to understand what I am truly passionate about. Now, I focus my research on a specific field of study, but I also see where I can still consult in multiple industries with my particular area of focus.

Whatever your reasons might be to consider a career in sustainability consulting—if you’re undecided, if you know you like the flexibility, or even if you know you want to consult in a specific field—you might find it interesting to learn how Presidio Graduate School can prepare you for a successful career as a consultant, whether you are self-employed or work at an established consulting firm. I reached out to some Presidio alums to ask them if there was one thing they gained from the Presidio experience that now helps them in their consulting careers. Here is what they had to say:

“My education at Presidio Graduate School gave me the foundational knowledge that helped me as I began my career in sustainability. I came out of the program with the business acumen and a systems thinking approach that I use to this day in my consulting work. The community that I made during the program has also been invaluable in my career, as I continue to stay in touch with alumni and we support one another regularly as we work to solve systemic issues and innovate in the space of sustainability and regenerative business practices.”
—Sharmila Singh, Founder, New Lens Consulting

The alumni network will be key to your success in the sustainability and CSR field. Why? Because the Presidio alumni network is one of the strongest on the planet in this field, and you can literally find people who have done just about everything. So for students looking at career opportunities, they have a chance to reach out and understand what a job is truly like in their chosen field, as well as what skills they need to pick up to be most successful.”

—Kevin Wilhelm,  CEO, Sustainable Business Consulting

Kevin also mentioned that the systems thinking skills Presidio teaches are among the most valuable skills the school instills in students, noting that “issues like climate change, racial justice, even political reform are complex. Most people are linear thinkers and don’t easily see how things are connected. It seems like second nature for Presidio alums, which is a major differentiator when trying to make meaningful, lasting change in this field.”

I couldn’t agree more with Kevin’s comment. Being able to cultivate a systems thinking lens is a skill set that truly sets apart Presidio alums when pitching to prospective consulting clients.

Finally, there is a growing need for sustainability consultants. Overall, sustainability jobs have increased, for example the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures has grown to over 930 organizations since 2019. Opportunities related to sustainability are projected to continue growing in light of the heightened interest in combating climate change and addressing social justice issues. With new technologies, policies, and even emerging threats from climate change, there has never been a greater need for people to join our dedicated community of sustainability professionals. Don’t believe me? I recommend hopping over to this Medium post to check out this additional argument for why consulting in sustainability is a great career choice.

Ready to join talented students like Heather and become a Presidian? There’s no better time than now to make a change—for yourself and for the world. Learn more about our MBA, MPA, Dual Degree, and Certificate programs, and then start a conversation with us!

About the Author / Heather Openshaw

As the owner of a long-standing vintage clothing business, Heather has years of experience in customer service. She formerly worked with the City of Nashville’s Public Works Waste Reduction Department to develop a county-wide recycling audit program. She is currently a dual MBA/MPA candidate at Presidio Graduate School with a focus on accessible and sustainable lifestyle design. She lives in Davis, WV.

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