Rani Pooran tells us about her career journey that has allowed her to combine her knowledge of international relations and policy with a desire to help transform society and the environment, especially for women.
International and European Politics
|Year of graduation||2002|
At the moment
I am in Toronto and have just left my job as a Senior Advisor at the Bank of Montreal Financial Group on social sustainability, which included consulting on diversity and inclusion, human rights, just transition, and gender equality topics. I am relieved to have time to be thoughtful about the next step in my career and to work on my book. My book will explore the economic and leadership opportunities for women in low and middle-income countries to contribute to the transition to a green economy
Your time at the University
After studying at the University of Toronto, I wanted to pursue graduate studies in a smaller academic setting and return to the UK after many years overseas. With the programme’s focus on European politics, I had the opportunity to specialise in a specific area within International Relations, which was appealing. I loved the range of backgrounds of my classmates, who were primarily from Europe, which made the learning experience rich. We were a small group that enjoyed a lot of social and cultural experiences together.
Your experiences since leaving the University
I am proud that I have managed to find a career path that allows me to use my knowledge of international relations and policy in addition to business and organisations. Most recently this was through roles I held in financial services in anti-money laundering, diversity and inclusion, and environmental, social and corporate governance.
In 2019, I went back to school to study at the Graduate Institute Geneva. When I studied Political Science in the late 90s, we talked about the Kyoto Protocol. Fast forward 20 years later and I am listening to BBC World Service in 2018 and I have no idea what the Paris Agreement targets are, but understand that this is going to transform society. Realising that, I decided to take the programme at the Graduate Institute Geneva on environmental governance and policy, and researched just transitions to a green economy, especially for women and indigenous peoples. There you go, 20 years later I am still using my political science knowledge in a dway that I could not have imagined. And, while I am contemplating my next career move, I am working on a book that will build upon the research I did in 2019.
One of my biggest challenges has been reconciling personal needs with professional ambition, which meant at some points in my career I made choices in favour of one area over the other. Knowing what my priorities are at any point in time is important so I have confidence in the decisions I make.
Life during Covid-19
The pandemic has made me reflect on all aspects of my life. The biggest aspect is that it has reinforced the importance of is having a strong, reliable community of people which can support each other through difficult times. This can be family and/or friends. I realised through the pandemic who I could rely on and it made me feel grateful for the wonderful people in my life.
Have a strategic direction for yourself and remain flexible so you can adapt to circumstances.