Aris M.

Project Manager
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Aris M.
Politics, Economics and Philosophy

My employment

Project Manager
C40 Cities
United Kingdom
Environment and energy
Medium-size business (50-249 employees)

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A day in the life of a Project Manager in the United Kingdom

In my current role, I have the chance to see how policy-making works in different cities around the world, which I intend to use as a platform for my future career aspirations.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I work for C40 Cities, a network of megacities working together to address the climate emergency. The network includes 96 cities, spread across all regions of the world. C40 provides peer-to-peer sharing opportunities, technical assistance and an international platform for mayors and city officials to learn about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vulnerability. Our objective is that C40 cities take bold climate action, leading the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future.

What do you do?

I work as a project manager on knowledge dissemination for an initiative on infrastructure and finance within C40. I am responsible for the engagement of city officials outside the C40 network (from intermediate cities) and of national policy-makers in the countries in which we are supporting specific infrastructure projects. I do this engagement by creating knowledge products such as reports and briefings and by organising workshops and events on specific topics.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I became interested in environmental issues while at York and on my year abroad in San Diego. I took courses in Environmental Economics, Green Politics and Environmental Philosophy, enjoyed them and received high marks. I moved to London and furthered my studies at LSE, where I focused on carbon taxation. I was offered a job as a research assistant to C40's Executive Director after graduation.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

I expected and desired to work in a more political/policy-making role, which remains my medium-term goal. When I graduated, I did not know of the growing opportunities at the edge of politics/NGO advocacy. This sector has grown exponentially, with corresponding opportunities for my professional development.

Describe your most memorable day at work

My most memorable day at work was when I organised a conference for 120 people in Berlin in 2018. The organisation took months and the event ran smoothly. I created the agenda, drafted the session plans, liaised with most speakers, managed the production and even moderated a few of the sessions. Two reports I wrote were presented during the conference. Arguably, I gave myself too much to do!

The organisation of this event taught me how to be persuasive and how to lead a team to succeed, despite stringent timelines and different viewpoints. It has informed my way of working and made me a better line manager, more focused on the bigger picture and less on specific details.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

C40 is a vibrant and exciting place to work. Our jobs are demanding, with lots of travelling and long working days, especially around events. Our offices in London are located in the futuristic Bloomberg HQ and we enjoy the perks of working in a wealthy corporate office. Employees are mostly young (low 30s). Diversity is, unfortunately, one of our weakest points.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I played college football, organised a number of football tournaments and was a class representative for Economics. My extracurricular activities in York were limited as I spent my second year abroad, in San Diego.

What would you like to do next with your career?

In my current role, I have the chance to see how policy-making works in different cities around the world, which I intend to use as a platform for my future career aspirations. In my next role, I would like to work more closely on policy-making, ideally in local government.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

My top tip is to gain work experience while at university. Internships during your studies, whether in term time or in the summer, will teach you the basics of how to work in an office and will allow you to learn what you are good at. Personally, I jumped too quickly into a Master's, rather than gaining experience first; I now wish I had delayed that decision until I really knew what I wanted to study! Employers value experience over your academic studies.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

I'm happy to answer any questions about working in an international NGO and in the urban and environment sectors.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Aris’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Aris a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Aris to be your mentor.

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