Climate change—and its impact on business, finance, and investment—is an increasingly popular topic on business master’s programs. Now you can study a whole master’s dedicated to it.
EDHEC Business School’s Master of Science (MSc) in Climate Change & Sustainable Finance is set to launch in September 2021, a joint venture with engineering school Mines ParisTech.
We break down everything you need to about EDHEC’s new MSc, including what you can expect from the course content, who the master’s is designed for, and how to apply.
What can you expect from the MSc in Climate Change & Sustainable Finance?
The new EDHEC MSc looks to combine essential knowledge around finance and investment, with a strong understanding of the scientific implications of climate change and the engineering solutions to combat it.
This responded to growing demand from students. “Over time, we gradually increased the proportion of courses related to sustainable finance. Ultimately, we came to the decision that the best route would be to open a diploma partnered with the engineering school,” explains Laurent Deville, professor of finance and director of the financial economics track at EDHEC Business School.
The collaboration with Mines ParisTech is what makes the program so unique. The emphasis is on ensuring students get a strong scientific and engineering foundation to their studies.
“There are lots of opinions on climate change, but it's extremely useful that we look at hard facts and scientific evidence to come up with informed decisions,” explains Lionel Martellini, professor of finance and director of EDHEC’s Risk Institute.
There are two central questions at the heart of the program: first, understanding the impact of investment decisions on climate change; secondly, understanding the impact of climate change on investment decisions.
Core modules on the finance side include environmental and energy economics, corporate social responsibility and sustainable accounting, and risk measurement and management for sustainable investing strategies.
On the engineering side, students will learn about the physical aspects of climate change, and the life cycle of energy systems.
Who is the MSc for?
Lionel believes that the new EDHEC MSc is ideal for anyone looking to get into the investment industry, not just those interested in sustainability.
Formerly, investment funds would have financial analysts sitting alongside environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analysts, in “hybrid teams”, Lionel describes. “Going forward, it's become a clear belief that we won't see those two people sitting together, we’ll see those two skill sets within the same person.”
This is primarily on account of the far-reaching impact that climate change will have on business, not just those directly related to climate solutions.
“In a few years, no investment professional will be able to claim that they are making informed investment decisions without this awareness of climate change impact,” Lionel explains. “Even those portfolios that aren't angled towards clean energy transition will be impacted by climate change.”
He also stresses that investment will begin to reflect a leaning towards responsible management and leadership. “I don't think it will be possible to be a meaningful financial professional in a few years time if you don't understand how non-financial indicators impact the financial performance of the firm.”
Cost & admissions requirements
Tuition fees for the one-year master’s program are €27,000 ($32,854), plus a €100 ($121) application fee.
To apply, candidates must have a three-year bachelor’s degree in a finance related field, or an engineering background. Candidates should also apply with a strong score (or GRE equivalent), as well as a resume, academic transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.
While advanced quantitative skills aren’t necessary, candidates with no quantitative background might struggle. The program includes foundational courses for those with certain gaps in their knowledge, but Laurent stresses that students can’t start from scratch in this respect.
In applications, Laurent says they are always on the lookout for passion and personal interest in the topics of climate finance and sustainability. They also look for a difference in perspective. “In your application, be specific about what you do, and your motivation,” Laurent says.
For students interested in pursuing a career in investment and finance, there are obvious benefits of the EDHEC MSc. Financial analysts can no longer ignore the impacts of climate change on business, and developing a sophisticated understanding of the science behind it is sure to give them a competitive advantage.
Moreover, since the program is a direct response to demand from employers, post-graduate career opportunities are in abundance. Investment managers, financial analysts, institutional investors (in pension funds or insurance companies), data analysts, and risk managers are all ideal professions for candidates with these skill sets and perspectives.
Laurent is confident that graduates will prove to be in high demand for top positions in the future. CEOs of investment banks, he explains, once came from the trading floor, then had an asset management background, and now, compliance expertise is key. “ I bet that these positions in the future will be held by people who have held a career in sustainable finance, possibly with a climate finance perspective.”
In this sense, it's clear that those selected for EDHEC and Mines ParisTech's new MSc can set their ambitions high.