Vanessa Sloan

MEng Civil Engineering with Architecture, 2001

What is the most valuable thing you learned while studying Engineering at Edinburgh?

Learning directly from our lecturers' research, alongside the core syllabus. I have felt fortunate to study at a long-standing institution that places importance on developing critical and original thought. We were encouraged to embrace innovation with integrity, which I believe is reflected in the University's research achievements and importance in a rapidly evolving digital world.

What advice would you give to your former self as a student at Edinburgh?

Looking back, I feel it is important to take advantage of a breadth of activities at university, including academic, cultural, sports and social. Edinburgh offers a unique experience with a diverse student population and campus feel within a vibrant city location, as well as a wide range of studies, clubs and societies available. As financial and other pressures continue to build for students, I feel balance is important to build more rounded skills in preparation for life beyond university.

Share one of your standout memories from Edinburgh...

Taking part in the University symphony concert production of the Carmen opera at the McEwan Hall. Our talented music director, soloists and orchestra gave a great performance, which remains one of my favourites. Being able to continue playing music at university, after several years at local and national youth orchestras, was a highlight of my time at Edinburgh.

What's your favourite place in Edinburgh?

North Bridge, passing from Prince's Street towards the main university campus, with Calton Hill and Holyrood to the left and Prince's Street Gardens up to the castle on the right. For me, the awe-inspiring views show the evolution of Edinburgh as a city, integrating the old and new, flanked by natural beauty. Each time I return to Edinburgh, I stop mid-way along the bridge to take it all in.

Since leaving Edinburgh, which aspect of your career are you most proud of?

Applying my investment and business development skills to support more sustainable business practices and diversity within my workplace and industry. More recently I have valued being able to get involved with impact investing initiatives, such as housing and gender lens issues. My engineering education set the foundation for my personal and professional interest in sustainability and related solutions.

Vanessa Sloan
Vanessa Sloan