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MBA Students Learn How to Engage in Sustainability in Any Role

The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business (“Center”) at Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business and the Net Impact at Scheller College MBA Chapter co-hosted the fifth annual “Using Sustainability to Succeed” panel on October 16.

Speakers provided guidance for MBA students who desire to make career contributions toward environmental and social goals in business. Panelists included Audrey Ewen, Energy Efficiency Program Manager at Georgia Power Company; Pat Haynes, Category Manager at Georgia-Pacific; Jesse Miers, Performance Engineer at Delta Air Lines; and Michael Oxman, Managing Director of the Center. Naveed Ahmad, Net Impact Chapter Co-president, served as moderator.

Panelists discussed the role sustainability plays in their careers, day-to-day jobs, and paths to reaching their current positions. Sustainability, they all agreed, can prove to be a competitive advantage that drives change in areas as diverse as the airline industry, paper goods, the petroleum industry, and public utilities.

Beginning with the first career panel in 2014, organizers have intentionally included panelists with diverse titles and roles in relation to sustainability: sustainability-focused positions, hybrid business/sustainability roles, and “traditional” business functions that may interact with those in more dedicated sustainability roles.

While Miers’s title at Delta does not include sustainability, he leverages his engineering expertise to provide recommendations for achieving reductions in fuel consumption. Additionally, as President of Green Up, Delta’s sustainability business resource group, Miers connects employees who are passionate about environmental sustainability in order to create positive change and add value to the airline. He said, “You’ve heard people say, ‘Dress for the job you want.’ When it comes to sustainability, it’s ‘Just do the job you want.’”

Blais Hickey, a first-year student in the Full-time MBA Program, remarked that the panel gave her hope that she would be able to incorporate her passion for the environment in any job. One of her biggest takeaways was the importance of being a good partner. She said, “You can’t just jump into a company and say, ‘This is what we need to do!’ Rather, you need to see how your sustainability initiative will work with all the business units.”

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