Coffee with Vikaash: Lecturer and researcher social inclusion in the energy transition

Calm, cool and collected Vikaash begins telling me about his work, which contrary to his nature radiates a pressing urgency. Sustainability is a topic missing from the predominant proportion of degree programs. Vikaash views this as a greatly missed opportunity for such an important theme to be integrated into education. It’s a passion he picked up during his own studies into emerging markets where sustainability was a significant focus. This experience had a profound impact on him and he hopes to circulate that passion to current and future business students.

Student Impact

Through his role as team leader for Finance and Control as well as the Accountancy business program, Vikaash tries to enter sustainability into the curriculum for the first-year students. He wants students to realize that sustainability is actually part of the value stream, not against it!  To have a broader impact, Vikaash is currently merging the two programs for first year students to allow them to experience all aspects before specializing. This format empowers the students to have more control over their education. Through professional products, students gain an applied insight into the working world and build their own portfolio of projects. Not only do they acquire critical skills in this way, it also facilitates a more in-depth understanding of the two fields of expertise. Ultimately, it provides a more accurate picture for students as to what career they desire, giving them ownership over their studies and hitting the message of sustainability home.

Value for business

Relentless in his pursuit of perpetuating further change, Vikaash does not stop there. With a team of teachers, he is currently developing a sustainable economics course. The course is centered around doughnut economics and “promotes a way of economic thinking that is not focused on the pursuit of economic growth, but on a much broader objective: to provide for human rights within the means of our planet” Although the course is still in development, it could ideally be integrated into every block to maximize impact. This, he hopes, will get students who normally don’t study sustainability, to get excited about it and understand its value for business.

Parting wisdom

Vikaash highlights that his main driver is to “have lasting impact on the students”. He concludes that he wants to leave students with one clear message: “There is more to business and sustainability, you should realize that you are privileged to do this degree… therefore you must realize that it is important to do some good too!”

Note: Vikaash’s activities are part of Reshaping Business Education (RBE) at the Faculty of Business, Finance and Marketing. Please read about other pioneering teachers on the RBE website: https://reshapingbusiness.org