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Tomás Vasconcelos

Moving money in a more sustainable direction: meet Tomás Vasconcelos, Sustainable Finance Specialist at Swedbank and MSc in Economics alum (specialized in Applied Economic Analysis).

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

I have a role in Swedbank’s Sustainable Finance team. It’s a brand-new team with a lot of passion and ambition! We split our time between a) advising Swedbank’s corporate clients on sustainability issues, for example using green bonds to accelerate their investments in renewable energy, and b) driving internal projects to integrate sustainability in the bank’s core business, for example developing tools to analyse the ESG (environmental, social and governance) performance of our corporate clients.

 

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

Sustainable Finance is in the intersection of a prioritized issue for society AND it matches my skills and passion. It was meant to be 😊. The financial sector can be a catalyser for change as money moves the world, so I want to make sure it moves the world in a more sustainable direction. In the wake of the anti-money laundering scandals Swedbank was looking for a new start, and management committed to make it the most sustainable bank in Sweden and the Baltics. It was a perfect window of opportunity for change and an exciting time to join the bank.

 

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

SSE is among the best in the world in the fields of Business and Economics and Sweden is one of the most advanced welfare states in the world – is there a better place to learn about economic and welfare policies? In addition to that, I was awarded a scholarship by the Swedish Institute to study in Sweden. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse and the opportunity that changed my life!

 

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

The students at SSE are hard-working, brilliant people from all walks of life – philosophers, business people, central bankers, military, activists and this diversity really challenges you to take in new perspectives. You also get the chance to meet many inspiring companies while studying. I met my first employer in a corporate presentation at SSE. It was KPMG’s sustainability team, presenting about their environmental and social impact project with Volvo. I went up to them and said, “Please let me work with you, I will even do it for free”. Maybe that was a bit naïve and desperate? I was just so keen to find a job in sustainability and so easily impressed back then – but it worked!

 

What path did you take from graduation to where you are now?

I did a 6 month internship at KPMG and then 4 years as a sustainability consultant there. I worked at KPMG’s Center of Excellence for Sustainability in Amsterdam for a year and have been in my current role at Swedbank for over a year now.

 

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

When the graduation date starts approaching, an enormous amount of pressure starts building up. Many of your peers are taking jobs at the most competitive companies, doing PHDs at top universities – everybody seems like they have their lives together. But don’t pay any attention to that. Don’t compare yourself. Take your time. Find jobs and roles that sound like a good match for YOU. Accept the ‘NOs’, learn from them and be patient. And apply for scholarships, exchanges, conferences, internships – these experiences might change your life 😊.