Alumni highlight: Mahak Agrawal

by Sophie Capshaw-Mack
|October 15, 2021

Mahak Agrawal

Mahak Agrawal is a confirmed chief in sustainability. As an alumna of the Grasp of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Coverage (MPA-ESP) program, Mahak is presently working on the Columbia Heart on International Power Coverage on the Carbon Administration Analysis Initiative. She has intensive coaching as an city planner and in addition works with the Switzerland-based Worldwide Tunneling and Underground House Affiliation (ITA) to advertise sustainable underground improvement. Earlier than attending Columbia, Mahak earned her first grasp’s diploma specializing in city affairs from the New Delhi Faculty of Planning and Structure.

Acknowledged for her accomplishments in accelerating the Sustainable Growth Objectives (SDGs) in India by means of clear water and sanitation, Mahak has been nominated for the Goalkeepers International Objectives Award 2021 led by the Invoice and Melinda Gates Basis. Mahak has additionally labored in varied capacities with the Worldwide Society for City and Regional Planners; the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change, City and State Planning Group, Authorities of India; and the Institute of Transport Economics, Oslo, amongst others.

Two years in the past she based The Spatial Views as a platform to alter our view of urgent urban-regional challenges. In her free time, Mahak experiments with sustainable artworks that depict India’s cultural heritage alongside world environmental narratives. She is presently researching the ability of artwork remedy together with her mom, who’s recovering from COVID.

Within the following interview, Mahak explains her time at Columbia, discusses her profession path in sustainability and advises present college students.

What impressed you to get your Masters of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Coverage (MPA-ESP) from Columbia?

It wasn’t a straight street to the Columbia MPA-ESP. The rationale I say it is because I used to be skilled in city planning and sustainable improvement and labored on this area for greater than 4 years earlier than coming to Colombia. Throughout my work, I had hoped to do a PhD on the intersection of local weather science and sustainable city improvement, however destiny had enabled me to acquire a Masters in Public Coverage from the College of Oxford and a Masters of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Coverage was provided in Colombia.

There are two principal causes that led me to pursue MPA-ESP at Columbia whereas the world was in a lockdown state of affairs. First, the MPA-ESP is a MINT diploma and that was a really massive plus for me. The second purpose was that due to my earlier work on sustainable improvement, I used to be provided two scholarships, which made the journey loads simpler financially. So I’d say there have been a number of causes that ultimately introduced me to Columbia.

What abilities did you develop by means of this system? How have these carried over to your skilled life?

I feel one of the vital necessary abilities I’ve acquired is knowing how public coverage is definitely developed on the federal stage. It was actually a major studying alternative for me. Doing a 3 semester program at Columbia and seeing within the varied workshops how a invoice might have an effect on individuals and the way we are able to really make modifications when it comes to public coverage or administration was a extremely great alternative for me. In my earlier expertise, I labored extra on public coverage enforcement, so I knew how federal and worldwide insurance policies affected communities and nations world wide. Discovering out which actors really affect a federal coverage earlier than it’s applied was an necessary studying second that I may also implement in my skilled life.

What are you most curious about within the space of ​​sustainability?

For me, sustainability has all the time been a really private concern and I say that as a result of my father works for the civil service in India. While you grew up there ought to be days while you take your youngster to work to allow them to see what their mother and father are as much as. My father did not take me to the workplace and let me sit there simply to see what he was doing. He led me to the sphere. I noticed him work together with individuals and varied officers to see how improvement coverage actually works on the bottom, what impression public coverage has on individuals, and the way authorities establishments play a task at totally different ranges. For me it was one thing I might always remember to observe fastidiously how improvement coverage – or every other coverage – affected society and the surroundings. Due to this, I’ve all the time been motivated to do one thing constructive for society and the surroundings and to be somebody who makes modifications within the space of ​​sustainability.

What’s your superb profession?

My superb profession will change now and again relying on the particular firm I wish to work for. Certainly one of my dream jobs could be to work within the tech business within the area of sustainability or social impression. There may be large untapped potential that know-how can harness to really drive constructive change, not only for the surroundings, however for society and authorities establishments world wide. So every time we discuss carbon administration or ESG governance, I feel the know-how industries have ample assets to drive and make vital change. Finally, it will be a perfect profession as a result of I may very well be a part of this modification – as a sustainability ninja within the tech business.

What would you advise present college students to do?

I feel college students ought to remember that there are totally different paths in the case of environmental science or environmental coverage. Along with categorizing the federal government, the non-public sector, and nonprofits, there are alternative routes of discovering your means across the panorama. It is advisable to suppose past some of these organizations to pursue your pursuits whether or not you wish to get into sustainable arts or power or city improvement. There are a lot of issues which can be transferring in direction of sustainable improvement in addition to environmental science and coverage. Sustainable investments movement into virtually each hearth. I feel college students have to maintain their search community fairly broad in the case of job vacancies.

I want I hadn’t paid a lot consideration to job searching as a result of MPA-ESP is simply a one yr program. After all, you must search for a job, particularly if you’re a global scholar seeking to work within the US and have a pesky time clock in your visa. Looking back, I’d have most popular to commit more often than not I spent on the lookout for a job to collaborating in actions across the campus, particularly if I had been to relive it now, as the category is not all remoted. So get pleasure from it, respect it and make good connections with your folks and never simply when it comes to networking.

You’ll be able to comply with Mahak’s journey on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

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