Q&A with Courtney Sanders on winning SSFS BU dissertation award

This week is Green Week. It’s a time when we celebrate the environment and reflect on how we can be more sustainable in our day-to-day lives. Although people are well versed in putting the reduce, reuse and recycle actions into practice, many tend to overlook the environmental considerations when making investment decisions with their finances.To mark this important week, we’ve spoken to Courtney Sanders, a Master’s graduate at Bournemouth University, who won our Strategic Solutions Chartered Financial Planners prize for 2020, awarded for the best dissertation in a financial services related topic.

What made you choose Bournemouth for your Master’s University experience?

I chose to attend Bournemouth for many reasons. My cousin originally told me about the school while I was looking at Master’s programs in Colorado. After researching Bournemouth, I found that not only did it have a great finance program, but it was very sustainable and was passionate about its impact on this earth. I had studied sustainability in Panama and wrote my undergraduate thesis on the sustainability of cycling, so finding a university that was working so hard to make itself better and make the world better was what ultimately made me choose Bournemouth. Also, the location didn’t hurt. Getting to study in England and live by the beach? It was a perfect match.

What was the thinking behind your prize-winning dissertation subject “Planet B: The Relationship Between Sustainable Financial and the United States of America” and what was the key message?

I have always been passionate about sustainability and have wanted to make the world a greener place (and make sure there is a place to live for future generations). As I had a background in sustainability from my undergraduate studies, I was thrown deeper into that passion as I learned about how intertwined finance is with the longevity of the planet, especially corporate America. Unfortunately, climate change and sustainability are still a controversy in America. I have heard, “climate change doesn’t exist” so many times that it is hard to believe this denial despite the scientific proof. As I worked on my dissertation, I wanted to show that choosing to invest in companies that are more sustainable can still produce financial gains while being good for the planet. As I found this to be true, the key message was to show that we do not have to deplete our earth and its people for corporations because choosing to be sustainable can still produce financial success.

How exciting was winning the prize for it?

I was so shocked and overwhelmed with happiness that I cried! I smile every time I think about it and cannot wrap my head around the fact that I won because I have always struggled with writing. I am truly so grateful for this award and am so honoured. It’s the best award I have ever won.

What would you like your next career move to look like?

After leaving Bournemouth I got a job as a broker. I love my job, the opportunities I have been given, and the knowledge I have gained but I would like to be a financial analyst at some point. I fell in love with London and would love to be able to be an analyst working there or somewhere in England!

What are you missing about Bournemouth the most right now?

So many things! The beach, the seagulls, the people, fish and chips, going to the pub with my friends, the sunsets (they are unmatched), and so much more… I could go on and on and I hope to return to England soon.

What advice would you give to students given your experiences?

As an international student I would say my best piece of advice is to explore and see as much as you can. England and Bournemouth have so much to offer so live it up while you are there. Also, just stay curious and ask questions!

If you would like to speak to us more about sustainability in finance, contact us at info@ssfs.co.uk

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