Master's student Noah Peysson: ‘I learnt problem solving from the holistic aspect of the Creative Sustainability programme’
I am Noah Peysson, 21-year-old second-year student in the Creative Sustainability Master's program. I am originally from Paris, where I grew up in a French German family. This is also the city in which I completed my bachelor’s in Business Administration, at the Sorbonne University.
What made you choose your programme? What are you specializing in?
Starting at the end of high-school and all along my first university years in France grew a desire to find new challenging approaches on how business should and can be done, minimizing our environmental impact, and maximizing the social benefits of it. After an insightful exchange at the Freie Universität Berlin and graduating in the Summer of 2019, it felt to me a logical step to pursue my studies abroad, looking to broaden my perspectives even further. During my search, Finland, Aalto University, and the Creative Sustainability program caught my attention, coming out as my preferred options.
Indeed, Finland has been praised to me as an innovative, forward-thinking country with a unique approach to teaching. After a year spent at Aalto, regardless of how unusual of a year it may have been, I can tell you that the academic environment exceeded my expectations on many aspects. The University’s fast transitions to fully remote-studying due to the Covid-19 could be mentioned as an example. Additionally, I was drawn to Finland as it is a country in which nature remains ubiquitous and valued. Helsinki is among the greenest capitals in Europe.
The Creative Sustainability master stood out to me for several reasons. Besides coming at the top of several rankings, I was attracted by the multidisciplinary aspect of the program, which I believe to be key when trying to understand and tackle the societal challenges we are facing. I was further interested by the flexibility of the program, allowing me to tailor it to my expectations, being able to choose among a wide variety of theoretical and practical courses from the three different schools. Indeed, the emphasis of the program on challenge-based learning helped convince me as this lacked in my previous study. Finally, I chose this program for the network of like-minded students and professionals it would allow me to build.
After a first year in which I was collaborating regularly with designers and thus, a totally new way to think and approach problems, I took the time to reflect and clarify which path I wanted my studies and future career to take. I started this period the “Advanced Energy Solutions” minor from Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering, hoping to acquire technical knowledge on what is to me the biggest challenge of the century, a fast and fair energy transition of our societies. While I have been interested in the topic of energy efficiency for a couple of years already, I am now developing a keen interest in the Central European electricity market, a market which is going to witness tremendous transformations in the coming years.
What skills have you learned in your programme that you find valuable?
The most rewarding and valuable learning from the program has probably been my improved ability to facilitate, communicate and work in multidisciplinary teams. Having been introduced and having applied Design Thinking and other tools used by designers, I am now feeling more confident and familiar with their approach to run projects and solve given challenges.
The program also helped me develop a more critical perspective on the information that is given to us, and solutions which are being promoted. I believe this too to be a much-needed skill when dealing with sustainability related questions. We are taught to not take things as granted, and to always question if the solution provided is actually desired.
Last but not least, the program helped me acquire the skill of being able to approach problems from a holistic perspective. As challenges are inter-connected, it is crucial to focus on understanding a system and its connections first, in order to find potential leverage points but also to minimize unintended consequences.
What inspires you at the moment?
Having been able to recently clarify the path I want my studies to take after years of uncertainty is inspiring and, motivates me to invest even more time into it. As I’ll soon start writing my master thesis, this will be an excellent opportunity to apply the knowledge acquired during the last years to the topic of my choice. I am also genuinely inspired by seeing in the recent years an increase in awareness on the need of more resilient and sustainable societies that respect and value both humans and natural environments.
Why would you recommend your programme to prospective students?
This master's program has been for me a unique experience that I can recommend to anyone willing to pursue an impactful and meaningful career.
The flexibility of the program allowed me to reflect and clarify the topic I want to focus on. Regardless if you already have years of professional experience, or if you just finished your bachelor, this program has something to offer for everyone. Furthermore, with the wide range of minors offered, there are plenty of opportunities to specialize in the topics of your choice. The diversity of profiles within the program will allow you to develop a unique network across different countries and various industries. Finally, Finland and Aalto University are unique places to study sustainability, as they are constantly innovating to be pioneers in the field.