Switching lanes from finance to sustainability

Former Masters student, Therese Seiringer, takes us on her career journey so far.

Originally from Austria, Therese Seiringer is an alumna of the MSc Management programme. After having lived in the UK for more than two years, Therese now lives in Dusseldorf, Germany. In her role as Head of Sustainability, Vodafone Germany, she and her team are in charge of transforming Vodafone Germany into a completely climate neutral company. Since completing her Masters in 2019, Therese shares her story. 

Why did you choose to study at Durham University Business School?

I honestly did not know much about British universities before applying to Durham. The collegiate system, as well as the rankings, made Durham my first choice and I was extremely happy when I received my offer to study at the Business School. When I arrived at Ustinov College a few months later, I immediately fell in love with the city itself. Durham is so different from many other cities in the UK. After only a few months, you somehow get the feeling that you have lived there forever, and Durham really became a second home to me. My time in Durham ended up being the best year of my life, so far. 

Where did your career take you after graduation? And what led you to your current role in the sustainability sector? 

Before my Masters, I worked as a project manager in a bank and also specialised in finance during my Bachelor’s degree in Vienna. It therefore felt logical to pursue a career in finance, which is why I ended up moving to London to work in the finance sector. This decision did not turn out to be right for me, which is why I decided to apply for a sustainability role at Vodafone Germany. I had never lived in Germany before, nor had I been to Dusseldorf and I did not know a single person there – so moving there during a pandemic and a strict lockdown did not make it easy. 

Durham really became a second home to me. My time in Durham ended up being the best year of my life, so far.

Therese Seiringer, Former Masters student

However, I soon knew that I had found my absolute dream job. Within the sustainability industry, it might sound rather unusual to work for a big corporation like Vodafone. Yet, such large companies have a massive impact, especially when it comes to enabling the wider economy to reduce their carbon emissions. Within only a few months, the position of ‘Head of Sustainability’ opened up and I took the chance. I now head up the sustainability department and I am extremely grateful for such a fantastic opportunity at this early stage of my career. In this role, I get to coordinate Vodafone’s ‘GigaGreen Strategy’, our path to net-zero emissions.

Sustainability is a topic that everyone seems to be interested in at the moment – what would you tell people who want to start a career in sustainability?

Sustainability is not only a very current topic, but it will continue to be one of great importance in the coming decades too. Achieving net zero is a massive challenge across all industries and sectors, one that will require employees who are passionate about sustainability to be able to manage the change and transformation within companies. So, when we hire new team members I am looking for people that are interested in what happens in the world and also those who know what they can contribute to the various aspects within sustainability.

How did your time in Durham help you get to where you are today?

The educational system, collegiate structure and careers sservice, as well as all the support that comes along with them, enhanced my experience at Durham University. My time in Durham really inspired me to always keep looking for a purpose in the work I do, to think big and to have trust in myself. 

For more information on the School’s range of Masters programmes, visit durham.ac.uk/business/masters

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