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Karthikeshwar Sankar began his journey in Environmental Studies at FLAME University. He was drawn to this field due to its nature of constantly evolving with new discoveries. Especially, in today’s world, he finds the science of this field extremely relevant as climate changes are taking place at a rapid rate. Therefore, the vastness of this field, including the several factors affecting the environment makes it an attractive subject.

After completing his Bachelor’s at FLAME, Karthikeshwar moved on to pursue his Master’s in Environmental Studies at Lancaster University and Dalhousie University. The Lancaster Master’s degree was a huge challenge for him as it was highly complex. However, the foundation set from FLAME University enabled him to comprehend the concepts at Lancaster more easily. Lancaster being harder than Dalhousie, made achieving his degree at Dalhousie easier.

As time progressed and so did Karthikeshwar, he interned at a few companies. His learners are what he has extracted from each experience in the field of environmental studies.

At Envirosphere Consultants Ltd., he enjoyed his internship wherein he met and associated with friendly and supportive staff members. His role included doing mainly mapping on MapInfo Professional. He had to mark property locations for consultants so that they could do their surveys. He also had to process information from a GPS tracking device which contained bird nesting locations. He would process the nesting locations onto a map and the consultants would use it to visit the locations to do bird population surveys. Apart from mapping, Karthikeshwar had client interactions where he explained the different types of water testing packages that the company offered, helping him develop practical and soft skills.

His internship at HMR Consultants was entirely different from Envirosphere. It involved dealing with procuring government permits and approvals for clients.

As a temporary yet relevant diversion, Karthikeshwar pursued his other interests, which included digital marketing and research. His stints were at Reliance Retail and IISc. 

At Reliance Retail, he learned more about people skills like coordinating and managing work, and expectations with others. He also understood how different people and their roles play into the larger goals of the company.

Likewise, his experience at IISc got him his first experience of GIS in the real world. He conducted change analysis of the Berambadi watershed over a period of 16 years. So, through digital images, he could see how the land was being used in the years 1992 and 2008.

His next internship that followed into a job was at the Government of British Columbia where he was associated for two years. He was hired as an intern with the Pricing and tenures division with the Ministry of Forests. During this internship, he was involved in updating existing safety procedures for the safety specialist as he had a NEBOSH safety certificate.

He was also involved in developing a new risk rating system for the division. There are various processes to be followed before a company can harvest wood. They are assigned a certain risk. In the forestry context that word is so vague, and different people would assign a different risk rating to the company. Karthikeshwar did all the research and concluded that the risk rating project could not be done and closed the project.

Thereafter, he was involved in developing a new sharepoint site to store all the forestry related data. He was able to complete that project successfully. The site stored information from the 7 district offices in the region; he was working from the regional office.

He was also involved in compiling information for the Waste and Residues specialist.

Karthikeshwar also made procedure flow charts for the foresters for them to circulate and use in the district offices. It was basically a bit of helping everyone from the cruising specialists, to the revenue administrators, then the Waste and Residues specialist, a bit of billing of timber, work for the safety specialist, and deleting old files in the shared drive for the tenures group.

While that was his vast experience in the first year at the Government of British Columbia, his second year was where the real work began. It was the year Karthikeshwar started his job. He was still under the Ministry of Forests but in the Aquaculture Division. It is the division that studies the cultivation of shellfish, like oysters, and finfish, like salmon. He prepared the land leases and aquatic plant licences. Aquatic plants are sugar kelp and other types of seaweed that can be eaten. 

He coordinates with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the federal body that issues the shellfish and finfish license, and makes sure the clients get the land leases along with the shellfish/finfish cultivation license. Aquatic plants fall under Provincial jurisdiction so Fisheries and Oceans Canada are not involved. Karthikeshwar also prepares the land transfer documents when a client wants to sell his business and wants to give up the lease. He makes sure clients pay their rent for use of government land and ensures they keep an adequate security deposit in case of untoward events. He also answers most of the questions from the public when required. Maintaining all the land records in the Land management system is a big part of his job. 

Challenges were vast, and for Karthikeshwar, it was all about finding middle ground between the government and the clients.

When asked about his advice for those aspiring to get into this field, Karthikeshwar gives some sound nuggets of wisdom.

So, in his words:

  • You are on an unconventional path, be extremely patient.
  • Your path to success is much longer than others.
  • You may need to take big risks like leaving your family and going abroad. These risks will teach life lessons.
  • You might get fired from one of your jobs, that’s ok, you are not a failure, your time hasn’t come yet.
  • You might have to do jobs that you may not prefer before you get the right job, these jobs will prepare you for the right job.
  • You might have to wait half a decade before you get the right job, remember, you are on an unconventional career path, keep moving forward.
  • Your classmates will move faster than you in the career ladder, be patient and don’t compare yourself to them.
  • Once you get the right job, your learning curve will be very steep, like climbing a mountain with boulders falling in your direction, take it slow.
  • People will have high expectations, sometimes unreasonably high, fight back and make the expectations reasonable.
  • Once you become comfortable in the job, time to become the best at your pace.
  • Finally, nobody cares about the C+ you got in Physics while you were at FLAME.

                    Karthikeshwar is making waves in the field of Environmental Studies due to his dedication and hard work. We wish this FLAME alumnus the very best for this future and all the success!