Career Management System Aims to Launch SEMBA Students Into Dream Jobs

Students gain access to career counseling and network of employers in sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship

This post was written by Jon Reidel, Communications Officer at the University of Vermont, and first appeared on UVM’s website

SEMBA is made up of impact students like Karen Barnett (left) and Margaret Arzon, who talk with farmers in Bhubaneswar, India, as part of their SEMBA practicum with eKutir, a social enterprise group based in India that uses a human digital platform model to build self-sustaining ecosystems that address various challenges of smallholder farmer poverty.

A new breed of business student – one more concerned with solving the world’s sustainability issues than just turning a profit – is showing up at MBA programs across the country. These so-called “impact students” have college career counselors reeling when it comes to finding them jobs that don’t fit within the traditional corporate mold.

That’s not the case for the University of Vermont’s one-year Sustainable Entrepreneurship program (SEMBA) in the Grossman School of Business, which is composed of nothing but impact students. Matching graduates with opportunities focused on sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship has been SEMBA’s sole focus since its inception in 2014.

“Traditional MBA programs dedicate maybe one of 10 counselors to deal with these pesky impact students,” says SEMBA Co-Director Stuart Hart, who previously served on the faculties at the University of Michigan, University of North Carolina and Cornell. “This is all we do. We’ve developed a customized system and built the largest, most robust network in this space globally because we’re totally committed to it.”

Hart, a world-renowned expert on how poverty and the environment affect business strategy, and SEMBA Co-Director David Jones plan to launch a new career management system designed to propel students into careers within SEMBA’s condensed 12-month format in renewable energy, clean tech, affordable health care, inclusive business, entrepreneurship within larger companies, start-ups, and other innovative ventures.

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Post-Paris, The Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA Now More Than Ever

From the Editors

In the wake of the kerfluffle over the United States’ exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, we at The Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA believe, among others, two very important things.

First, ain’t no stoppin’ us now. Climate change and sustainability, and resource sustainability, represent the most significant economic and business development opportunities in a generation. The business and economic case for these opportunities — to say nothing of the environmental case — is powerful and, arguably, irreversible. According to the New York Times, these opportunities represent a $6 trillion market by 2030. The shift is happening, and the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement — while discouraging — will do little, if anything, to derail the immense problem solving opportunities, and rewards, around climate change.

Everyday, someone is breaking new ground in the production, conservation, or distribution of clean renewable energy. Everyday, someone is reinventing how we move around — how we transport ourselves and the things in our lives in revolutionary ways that save energy, space, and time. Everyday, someone is innovating and inventing new technologies that change the way we build, rebuild, heat, cool, and live in our homes and businesses while consuming as little as the earth’s resources as necessary.

In short, with or without the Paris Agreement capitalism, disrupted and reinvented, is a force — along with many others — to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems.

Second, our Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA is part of the solution. More important than ever post-Paris, we must develop a new generation of business leaders who will build, innovate, disrupt, and reinvent climate change-focused enterprises in a world that demands it. In other words, UVM’s Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA is more important than ever and its graduates increasingly more vital to sustainable businesses.

While traditional MBA education simply turns out people educated in business models, approaches, and ethics that are more a part of the problem than the solution, our mission is to prepare leaders to transform today’s businesses and invent tomorrow’s ventures through a lens of sustainability.

We believe our students and alumni are uniquely prepared to be change agents and to lead within enterprises — or start new ones — that are solving the world’s most pressing problems — including climate change, and with or without a Paris Climate Agreement.

And, in this new reality, we believe our students will be in greater demand by businesses, enterprises, and organizations than ever before.

Learn more, and apply to a program that will not only change your life, but change the world, too.

Career Tips to Write Home About

This post was written by Aditi Datta, SEMBA ’17

When I was growing up and I’d come back from school, my dad would always ask me: “So, what was the best thing you learned?” This quickly became a running joke in my family, leading my dad to ask the same question when I come back from vacation, after reading a news article and most recently – reaching another milestone in my SEMBA journey.

Tonight, I called my dad and patiently waited for him to ask me what new things I learned today. To his surprise, I started talking about the Alumni Career Panel, which brought together current SEMBA-ites and alumni from cohorts 1 and 2. The goal of the event was for the alumni to provide honest, practical feedback around finding a job and landing the right job.

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From the Web: Business students willing to sacrifice future salary for good corporate social responsibility: study

More than 90% of business students in a study on corporate social responsibility said they would be willing to sacrifice some percentage of their future salary to work for a responsible employer. A surprising number of 14% are willing to sacrifice more than 40% of their future income to do so.

However business students who were also employed full or part time were willing to sacrifice less of their future income than other participants. Those employed made up more than 60% of participants (30% occupying management positions).

Learn more (via The Conversation) >>

One Student’s Journey to Address Sustainability through a Vegan Lifestyle

This post was written by Margaret Arzon, SEMBA ’17

“It’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness. I think that’s where movements are started.”

– Shawn Heinrichs

Margaret feeding a cow in Haridwar, India

Growing up I would not touch anything that even resembled a vegetable. My Puerto-Rican and Cuban roots offered daily dishes of fried meat or chicken with rice and beans. At 21, I stopped eating meat for health reasons which slowly transformed into ethical concerns. Three years later, I read a book called “Vegan Freak” which revealed to me the atrocities and environmental havoc of not just the meat industry, but dairy and eggs as well. Sometimes once you know something, there is no degree of feigning ignorance that could turn you away from the truth. I immediately eliminated all animal products from my life, including eggs, dairy, wool and leather. People around me told me I was silly, expressed concern for a lack of protein and gave disapproving looks with my lunch plate filled with just veggies. However, I knew the only way to save our dying planet was to stop pillaging that which is not ours to take.

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Soft Skills Needed to Support your Sustainability Efforts

This post was written by Aditi Datta, SEMBA ’17, and former student editor of “The SEMBA Review.”

Erin Meezan

Erin Meezan,Vice-President of Sustainability at Interface, Inc. and member of the SEMBA Advisory Board, offered her insights and tips for success with the SEMBA class through the program’s Executive in Residence speaker series, in which leading-edge practitioners share their personal stories and perspectives with students.

Environmentally-friendly carpet manufacturer Interface is a progressive, innovative organization that leads the industry in its full commitment to sustainability. Yet, Erin Meezan still faces resistance and apprehension each day. Meezan’s specific tools, tips and skills are valuable assets to utilize in any career that challenges the status quo, and are especially relevant to SEMBA students.

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Sustainable Business — A Catalyst of Innovation and Investment Returns

vermont-works1

This post was written by Robert Zulkoski, Chairman, Vermont Works Management Company, LLC; Member, Board of Advisors, SEMBA at the University of Vermont; Member of the Board of Directors, BTV Ignite; and Chairman, Greenlots

The integration of environment, social and governance factors (ES&G) into corporate and investment decision making has been gathering momentum over the last decade. Several well-researched reports highlight one of the key drivers underpinning this shift: sustainability and financial performance are linked.

A multitude of constituencies – governments, public companies, impact investment intermediaries, opinion leaders and investors – have contributed to the development of the global social impact investment market. A movement is afoot that represents a significant opportunity for businesses and markets to drive improved social value. By allocating assets towards products, services, and companies that generate positive social impact, the movement toward “impact investing” has the potential to create real value for both investors and for society.

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Impact Investing from Burlington to Botswana

The SEMBA curriculum involves the study of finance through the lens of sustainability, and is supplemented by workshops that include the exploration and discussion of impact investing. This post was written by SEMBA Advisory Board member Rob Morier, Managing Director, Head of North America at Global Evolution.

robInstitutions and individuals, from the trading desk to the university classroom, are rapidly adopting impact investing. The proliferation of funds and research has been a welcome revolution in the asset management industry. Investors have more options and information available to them than ever before as asset management companies and investors hurry to catch a rising tide of opportunity. As defined by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds, with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. While traditional business practices may perpetuate the idea that an organization must choose between doing good and making money, impact investments don’t carry the weight of that trade off, as the intention is to do both.

Although public and private equity markets have been the primary focus for impact investors and asset managers as they set their strategic investment goals pertaining to their mission or value related investments, fixed income has slowly moved from a minor to major player in terms of impact opportunities, despite being a cornerstone of traditional asset allocation models.

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Do You Have What It Takes To Change The World?

sembawebinar

Click to register for this free, informative webinar

Over the past 25 years, most major business schools have added some kind of program focused on sustainability, corporate citizenship, or social entrepreneurship, though they are not integrated into the core DNA of the institution.

The University of Vermont’s Sustainability Entrepreneurship MBA (SEMBA) is unique in that it fundamentally reinvents business screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-5-38-00-pmeducation and the MBA degree to address the urgent sustainability challenges we face in the 21st century. The curriculum is focused 100% on sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship. In this webinar, Professor Stuart Hart will describe the design and significance of the SEMBA — a 12 month, AACSB-accredited program focused on developing the next generation of business leaders who will innovate enterprises to move us more rapidly toward a sustainable world. Vinca Krajewski, a SEMBA graduate and currently Associate Brand Manager at Seventh Generation, will describe her experience in the program and how it has uniquely prepared her to be a changemaker for sustainable innovation.

 

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