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Thomas Atherton

Meet Thomas Atherton – Management Consultant at McKinsey & Company and MSc in Economics alum.

Describe your role and what it is that you do overall and on a day-to-day basis.

I work as a management consultant on a wide range of topics and industries, mostly focusing on green business building and sustainable investing. Our engagements usually deal with big strategic questions, like how to launch or scale new green businesses, but can also deal with more practical matters like helping to optimise spending on new production facilities. The day-to-day is always changing, but is centred around constant, iterative problem-solving. It’s a fantastic way to learn a lot about a lot in a short timeframe. 

What interested you about the field/company/role you are currently in?

The consulting industry is a great place to round out your business and finance toolkit, but beyond that I saw how much genuinely impactful work in sustainability and green business building we are doing, particularly in the Stockholm office. It very much feels like the right place at the right time to have a positive impact in the early stage of one’s career. 

Why did you choose to study your subject area at SSE?

I studied economics for my Bachelor’s degree and find behavioural and macroeconomics fascinating, so wanted to return to university for a Master’s degree in these topics while also branching into some new business and finance areas. The SSE economics faculty has excellent researchers and professors, and above all is a friendly and inspirational department to be a part of. 

How did your time/education at SSE help guide you to the career journey you have embarked on?

Immeasurably! Both through my studies and the Wallenberg International Fellowship Program, I got to learn and discover precisely what I wanted in the intersection between business, economics, and policy, plus more that I otherwise would not have been naturally exposed to like data science. The school has also been instrumental in supporting me through internships and graduate employment, and I don’t think I would be able to enjoy my current job so much without my SSE foundation. 

Following the time at SSE, do you have any words of wisdom or advice you would like to share with our current students?

I would say don’t hold back at all in pursuing your interests and ambitions, and explore different fields while you can. In such a supportive environment, following your passions and trying new things can really only lead to good outcomes, and it has been a pleasure to see my friends from university now thriving in all sorts of roles. 

What are three words that sum up your time at SSE?

Fun, supportive, and inspirational!