Here our series of Alumni Interviews, we are happy to share the experience of Manon Dangelser after graduating from the cohort of the 4th edition 21/22
Hello Manon, can you briefly introduce yourself and share how your background before joining the Master of Urban Resilience program influenced your decision to pursue this field of study?
Before joining the Master, I was working in London as a sustainability consultant for the built environment. It was an interesting role, and I learned a lot about low carbon, sustainable buildings design. After a couple of years, it started getting repetitive and I needed a new challenge. I wanted to work at a larger scale and learn about urban/regional design. When I found this Master in City Resilience Design & Management, I thought it would be a great option to specialise in, better understand the concept of city resilience, learn about design measures to improve cities and be part of an international network.
How has the Master of Urban Resilience program influenced your career path or professional development, and what specific skills or knowledge did you gain that have been instrumental in your success?
After completing the Master’s, I resigned from my job at the time and looked for new opportunities, as I wanted to do more work in resilience design. In terms of skills and knowledge, knowing what urban resilience is about, learning about NBS (Nature Based Solutions) and having done this 8-month specialisation helped to secure the new position, in addition to my previous work experience.
Is the work field in any way different from what you expected when you first graduated from the masters?
For the past six months I have been working on a climate action plan for a water company and a climate risk assessment. I also worked on resilience maturity assessments, which is more about organizational resilience, looking at the financial, operational, stakeholders’ engagement, H&S, and other aspects of a company and questioning the long-term vision and planning for each sector.
Eventually I want to specialise in resilient design and climate change adaptation – because this is only the start in the corporate world, there are not many projects in this space yet. However, we notice that more and more clients are requesting advice on practical measures to be resilient to climate change, so I have good hopes.
What advice would you give to prospective students considering the Master of Urban Resilience program, particularly regarding their next steps after graduation and entering the workforce?
If you don’t have work experience, be prepared to spend a couple of months searching for work – I would not hesitate to take an intern job and work on the side. You will be lucky to find a full-time junior job with low pay. It’s important to get your foot in the door one way or another, to start building experience. NGO work could be interesting too. If you have work experience, you know what job search is about. It is not easy to find a job that matches exactly the resilience world, as the sector is still new and the corporate world is still behind.
Are there any specific resources or tools you discovered during the program that you still find valuable in your professional life, and how has the program helped you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in the field of urban resilience?
A couple of tools, including GIS, multi criteria analysis and resilience frameworks. I did not know much about urban resilience at the time, so a lot was new for me. I liked the exercises we did during the module of community resilience too.
Is there anything else you would like to add or share about your experience in the Master of Urban Resilience program?
It’s a good program to open your mind, learn about the different areas that make urban resilience, and think outside the box. Good opening to the world of research too.
If you want to chat/have questions, you can contact me on LinkedIn!
All the best