From ETIA via Energy to Sustainability Consulting

DA alumna Shruti Athavale on her career since graduating from ETIA 05 in 2013

Shruti AthavaleA career in the international sector and the ability to travel for my job was something I had dreamt of doing all my life. Initially, I thought I would end up in the developmental sector, since I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in International Development, a transdisciplinary analysis of global inequalities with a focus on various social, political, economic developments in the world. Though I have always had a passion for environmental protection, I was not quite sure how best to combine these interests with my dream of working in an international setting. That was exactly the time when I discovered the ETIA program - the solution I had been looking for!

I have many fond memories studying at the Diplomatic Academy (and the Technical University of Vienna). Not only were the subjects very interesting and teachers engaging, but the friendships I built during my time there still continue to this day. Even though some of my classmates are now in different cities, whenever we do get to talk or meet up, it seems like absolutely no time has passed!

By the time I had graduated from the 5th ETIA cohort, I was ready to put all that acquired knowledge into practice. Unexpectedly, however, since the ETIA program gave such a good overview of a number of topics, it was quite challenging trying to narrow down exactly what I wanted to do. Something in the waste management sector, perhaps? Or maybe the clean technology space? Though landing my first job took a little longer than originally planned, I eventually started working at the Austrian Energy Agency (AEA) as an energy expert. Not only did I get to work in lots of exciting projects that dealt with energy policy issues across the world (West Africa, Mongolia, Caribbean, Europe just to name a few), but I also gained extensive project management experience. One of the best perks was that I frequently got to work with other DA graduates as well!

After several years at the AEA, I recently switched jobs and entered the consulting world - a decision that everyone found rather surprising, since many expected me to join the United Nations! My work at the AEA meant that I had gained a lot of experience with the public sector, but had very limited exposure to the private sector, something I wanted to remedy with the job change.

I now work as an Assistant Manager in the Sustainability Services team at KPMG and support companies with issues related to sustainability management and reporting. Companies, through their business strategies, influence consumer decisions and shape our daily lives, which makes them integral players in sustainability efforts across the world. Joining this field means that I can help businesses make a long-term impact, while combining my different interests, from clean energy and resource management to human rights and due diligence.

Even now, the skills I learned during the ETIA program continue to play an integral part of my career!

[July 2021]