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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : May/Jun 2004 : Special Section

Special Section

A Student's Perspective
Opening New Opportunites

By Kevin Hagen, Bainbridge Graduate Institute

Special Section

Related Sections
Business as a Key Driver
A Diverse Set of Perspectives
Making a Collective Impact
Connecting Business and the Environment
Sustainability on a Large Scale
Opening New Opportunites
Useful Insights About Effective Leadership

At 42 years old, with 20 years of business experience ranging from the Fortune 500 to a successful entrepreneurial solar company and as the recent founder of my own firm, I was not thinking about an MBA. Then I heard Gifford Pinchot speak at a conference about sustainable business and the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI), a school he and his wife, Elizabeth Pinchot, helped found. They wanted to build a sustainable business curriculum and teach how to achieve the lasting competitive advantage that would make companies more successful financially, environmentally and socially. I was enrolled for an MBA in Sustainable Business within weeks.

The program fits my values, my lifestyle and my business goals. Environmental and social responsibility is built into every part of a rigorous MBA. Students use real-life circumstances as part of class work, which is not only more relevant, it helps share rich experience and real-life situations.

Students are mostly mid-career professionals from a wide variety of businesses as well as non-profit and social ventures. For me, the mix of experience and perspective has been an unexpected benefit, an element that is fostered by the cooperative learning style of the program. I’m only half-way through the 21-month program, but the MBA in sustainable business has already improved my company and opened new personal opportunities. Although I’m working harder than I have in a long time, I’m working through my values to make a positive impact and achieve a goal in which I really believe—in my business, at school and in my life.


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