Alumni in Review: Margaret Arzon, Class of 2017

Margaret Arzon is currently working with the Ethical Shareholder Initiative (ESI) as a business consultant. She was interviewed by Isabel Russell, an undergraduate at UVM.

Why did you choose to attend this MBA program?

To learn the skills and tools necessary to build and run social enterprises.

What was your favorite part about the experience?

Networking, learning about teamwork and leadership, and how to run a business.

How are you applying the tools/skills you learned in the program, post-MBA?

I apply tools and skills from the program every day. Just today I was in a meeting and referenced the business canvas model I created with my team in Module 2, for RevitaFiber, and how some of the questions we received about the business applied to the project I am working on now.

What would you tell someone who is considering the Sustainable Innovation MBA?

Definitely do it.

Alumni in Review: Meghan Whirley, Class of 2015

Meghan Whirley ’15 is currently working as a Sustainability Procurement Manager for Food Service Partners Inc. She was interviewed by Isabel Russell, an undergraduate at UVM.

What have you been up to since graduation?

Following graduation, I moved to northern California and been working in sustainable food systems and institutional purchasing. I first worked at the University of California – Davis as Dining Services’ Sustainability Manager, then in December 2016, I took a position as the Sustainable Purchasing Manager and Account Manager for FoodService Partners based in South San Francisco.

Why did you choose to attend The Sustainable Innovation MBA program? 

I chose the program for multiple reasons. Primarily, I was seeking to transition into a for-profit business role and to take my experience to the next level. The Sustainable Innovation MBA is unique because it provided me with business skills, and the way to leverage my knowledge better, but truly it trained me to look long-term and with a systems-based mentality in every respect.

What was your favorite part about the experience?

Working in teams taught me a lot in how to communicate and work together in a professional capacity, as well as furthering lessons beyond the classroom. I learned so much from all aspects of the practicum experience, not simply from the material but also by working with Aaron Sonk, my practicum partner.

How are you applying the tools/skills you learned in the program, post-MBA?

I learned so much about myself during the year in The Sustainable Innovation MBA, about my strengths and weaknesses. I carry this love of the truth and feedback — as Joe Fusco would put it — everyday. Applying that to each interaction, and reflecting afterwards, has been so helpful. But also I find that I have more skills in project management and thinking broadly and systemically than many of my colleagues.

What would you tell someone who is considering The Sustainable Innovation MBA?

I have told prospective students that if you’re looking for an MBA there are so many great programs, but if they’re seeking to marry business skills with creating positive impacts, long-term results, and problem-solving in a way that isn’t “business as usual,” then UVM’s Sustainable Innovation MBA is the place to go.


Getting to Know the Class of 2018: Kaitlin Sampson

Kaitlin Sampson ’18 came to The Sustainable Innovation MBA from the hospitality industry, most recently with Marriott International, where she was an Area Sales & Marketing Manager. She was interviewed by Isabel Russell, an undergraduate at UVM.  

Why did you choose to attend The Sustainable Innovation MBA program?

I wanted to pivot my career path toward work that was more meaningful.

What has been your favorite part/element of the program thus far?

The organizational behavior courses have been my favorite part of the program.  Our courses teach you how to go from a good leader to a great leader and how to use those skills to create a transformational culture within the workplace.

What are three things someone considering the program should be aware of?

The amazing network that the program provides, the diversity in classwork and the diversity of students.

How has the Sustainable Innovation MBA helped you?

It has helped me reflect on my passions and strengths, and given me the confidence in the business world for post SIMBA.


Alumni in Review: Chris Howell, Class of 2017

Chris Howell ’17 is currently working as a finance and investment consultant. He was interviewed by Isabel Russell, an undergraduate at UVM.  

What have you been up to since graduation?

I’m currently working with mission-driven businesses who are raising investment money to fund expansion: structuring a Series A for a SaaS business, working with a farm to purchase additional land, and advising an equity crowdfunding platform.

 Why did you choose to attend this MBA program?

I chose the UVM MBA program to deepen my Vermont network and broaden my business skill set.

What was your favorite part about the experience?

My favorite part of the experience was the people. The academic experience was top notch—thanks to the professors, staff, and classmates who worked hard to create a supportive and engaging learning environment.

How are you applying the tools/skills you learned in the program, post-MBA?

Working on diverse consulting projects after the program has allowed me to use the broad range of tools we learned—from organizational design to finance and venture capital.

What would you tell someone who is considering the Sustainable Innovation MBA?

Dive in. The program was an exceptionally challenging and immensely rewarding learning experience.


Knowing Your Impact: Food Waste

This post was written by Sarah Healey ’18

The Net Impact Graduate Chapter at the University of Vermont is designed to supplement learning experiences for students in the Sustainable Innovation MBA program. For our first event of the year a number of chapter members took a field trip to the Green Mountain Compost Facility in Williston, Vt..

At the facility we got a lesson and a tour from Robin Orr, the Events and Hospitality Outreach Coordinator for the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD).

How much are we throwing away?
Every year Vermonters send 4,000 truckloads of trash to the only landfill in the state. Approximately half of this trash is actually trash. The other half consists of items that could have been diverted either to a recycling facility or a compost facility.

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Martine Rothblatt: Innovating Through Radio and Therapeutics

This post was written by Lauren Emenaker ‘18

Martine Rothblatt, Founder and CEO of United Therapeutics, could easily be considered the most interesting and inspiring speaker anyone has heard in many years. Martine visited UVM on October 11, 2017 (International Woman’s Day) and sat with Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell for a conversation in front of a sizable crowd at Alumni House. Here’s a brief overview. 

During a break from undergraduate studies, Rothblatt was inspired by traveling and working with a NASA satellite station. She wondered if it would be possible to have something in the Earth’s orbit that could give music to the world. Feeling enthused, she returned to school to study communication. She continued onto grad school and graduated from UCLA with JD-MBA degree. All the while, Rothblatt’s passion for satellite communication continued to remain at the forefront of her life, leading her to become founder and CEO of SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

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Alumni in Review: Caitlin Goss, Class of 2017

This post was written by Camille Fordy ’18.

Caitlin Goss ’17 is Director of People & Culture at Rhino Foods, headquartered in Burlington, Vermont. In some ways, Caitlin’s role at the head of the firm’s human resources team is similar to the traditional human resources professional. But Rhino’s commitment to impacting the manner in which business is done creates a broader scope for her work and is aligned with her commitment to workforce development and The Sustainable Innovation MBA mindset and toolkit.

Originally from Hinesburg, Vermont, Caitlin left to pursue an undergraduate degree at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and later moved to Boston where she worked at Bain & Company, a top global management consulting company. At Bain & Company, Caitlin worked on analysis and employee engagement as part of the firm’s global human capital team to attract, engage and retain employees. Her success at Bain & Company enabled her to live in Shanghai for several years.

Looking for an opportunity to move closer to home, Caitlin discovered the University of Vermont’s Sustainable Innovation MBA. The program provided Caitlin with the opportunity to return to Vermont and to plug into the local professional community. While still a young program, The Sustainable Innovation MBA has already developed a strong reputation in the Vermont business community. Its growing network of graduates are focused on building future partnerships and synergies across all domains of business in the state and region. The program also gave Caitlin fundamental tools and business “fluency” to succeed in any business environment.  

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Sustainable Innovation MBA Students Support “Old Spokes Home”

Fundraiser Aids Mission To Provide Mobility and Job Skills To Low Income Vermonters

This post was written by Shari Siegel, ’18

Students from The Sustainable Innovation MBA Class of 2018 — Arielle Tatar, Madeline Brumberg, Ian Dechow, and Shari Siegel — donned their tights and jerseys and saddled up for a recent fundraiser for the Old Spokes Home in Burlington.

The unique bike shop is a not-for-profit organization that, in addition to selling and servicing new and used bicycles, helps get bikes into the hands of low income Vermonters who need them for mobility, health and freedom.  In addition to providing bikes, the Old Spokes Home offers job training, classes, social programs and guided rides.  As its leadership says, “we believe bikes are a simple solution to complex problems. We believe there is a bike for every person and every purpose. We believe bikes aid in positive personal and cultural transformation. Bikes connect people to their community, to their own bodies, to their physical environments. Bikes heal. Bikes empower. Bikes mobilize. We believe everyone should have access to bikes. We believe everyone deserves to feel the joy that a bicycle provides. That’s why we’re here.”

Such a mission is embraced by the students who came out for the event. The event exceeded its fundraising goal, and a good time was had by all. 

Getting to Know the Class of 2018: Camille Fordy

Meet Camille Fordy ’18, (LinkedIn) who came to The Sustainable Innovation MBA from the Washington, D.C. law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck where she worked in their government relations division. Prior to working at Brownstein, Camille worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staff assistant to Sen. Patrick Leahy and  the Senate Judiciary Committee. This interview was conducted by Peyton White (LinkedIn), an undergraduate Business Administration major in UVM’s Grossman School of Business.

Why did you choose The Sustainable Innovation MBA?

I was MBA-bound for a while. I took the GMAT once and was exploring future options for MBA programs. I did lots of research on two-year programs, which I liked. I was going to push the application process out a year to continue studying for the GMAT, but instead I applied to The Sustainable Innovation MBA. I liked that the opportunity cost of attending The Sustainable Innovation MBA program was only one year and offered me a great change of network, too, away from my primary one in D.C.

“I liked that the opportunity cost of attending The Sustainable Innovation MBA program was only one year.”

What do you like about The Sustainable Innovation MBA?

I know a few individuals who were in previous cohorts. Their growth and experience in The Sustainable Innovation MBA program is inspiring and I really like the uniqueness of the program. I have heard before that “if you don’t go to a Top 10 school, an MBA isn’t worth it.” But after one month, I can say I disagree for many reasons. The program offers many interesting perspectives, classes are intellectually challenging, and we are provided with many opportunities to work in teams. I have found that the teamwork projects have been a great tool to self-assess how I work with others and improve upon my communication, project management, and problem solving skills for use in my future workplace. I have had the opportunity to develop relationships with new people and new personality types that I may never have met in my former workplace. Working in these diverse teams in a low-stakes atmosphere has given me the space to take risks and grow.

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Watch It Live: The Transformation of the Grossman School of Business

Autumn may be leaf-peeping season in Vermont, but it’s also construction season at the University of Vermont, and the Grossman School of Business. Among the many, many projects at UVM over the last twenty-four months is a significant addition to Kalkin Hall, the School’s home. When completed in 2018, Ifshin Hall will add a significant amount of classroom, office, and multi-purpose space to UVM’s growing and nationally recognized business programs, including The Sustainable Innovation MBA.

Click the video to follow a live feed of the construction.