Reena Bhavsar

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Civil Engineering
Job title: Principal International Biodiversity Consultant
Subject of study: Applied Ecology
Type/Level of study: Postgraduate Taught

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Mott MacDonald

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

After finishing Exeter Uni in summer 2014, I got a job as a seasonal ecologist for AECOM. I then secured a permanent job in December 2014 as an ecologist for Mott MacDonald and have worked my way up to principal ecologist. I now lead a small team specialised in delivering international biodiversity assessments. I started my career undertaking various protected species surveys in the UK. My role then developed into undertaking impacts assessments, designing mitigation and advising international finance lenders on biodiversity risk on international renewable energy projects.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I have always loved animals especially the wild ones and I am passionate about protecting and enhancing biodiversity. I acknowledge that we need environmental, social and economic sustainability and my job enables me to be a part of the decision making process and gives biodiversity a voice.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

 I joined EcoSoc and tried lots of fun sports including wind surfing at Lake Stithians.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

The programme had a good mix of lectures and practical fieldwork. The evaluations were varied with coursework, presentations and exams to suite all learning styles. I particularly enjoyed going on a field trip to Kenya which ignited my interest in international biodiversity.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I had an amazing time at Exeter Uni. I was at the Penryn campus and lived in Falmouth. The campus had great facilities and so many opportunities for extra curricular activities. Falmouth was lively and so close to some amazing beaches. The other students and lecturers were fantastic and I learnt a lot from them. I had a great work-life balance and met some lifelong friends.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

I knew I wanted study Applied Ecology to get a job as an ecologist but I mainly chose Exeter Uni (Falmouth) for the beach and beautiful scenery. I am so glad I did because it was one of the best years, I met some of the best people and had a well rounded university experience.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Learning various field survey methodologies and writing clear and concise reports were two skills that I learnt during my dissertation at Exeter Uni and are most useful in my career now.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Don’t worry about specialising too quickly, try a few different things and see what you enjoy. Work hard and pay attention to details!

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to continue to protect and enhance biodiversity across the globe.


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