In 2002, I took a course as a grad student at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in their MBA program called “Business and the Environment”. For a scientist with zero business experience, it was one of those mind-altering classes that changed my perspective on life.
How shade-grown coffee woke me up!
One of my own group projects for the course involved a business case analysis for shade grown coffee, culminating in a presentation to the class on the potential market opportunity of shade-grown coffee that also involved a taste test of shade-grown verses intensively-grown coffee beans. Shade-grown won!
The experience was the first time I experienced what HIV researcher Dr. Reid Rubsamen once said:
“The greatest opportunity occurs at the interface between two disciplines.”
A set-back in my career ambitions
I felt sick hearing these words – Had I wasted twelve years of my life in university soaking up knowledge on everything only to find that I wasn’t specialised enough to have a career? “Jack of all trades, Master of none” was now my cross to bear as a result of my foolish desire to know something about everything.
Just a little patience...
It seemed there wasn’t a business school in the country that required their students to have some understanding of environmental issues, despite the fact that our economic growth is ruthlessly bound to natural resource extraction and every business has to operate within the confines of environmental regulation.
Dreams are scary when they become reality
But the scariest things in life always teach us the most, so I’m diving in head first. I’m extremely fortunate that several of Ireland’s business and environmental leaders have agreed to join me for guest lectures so I have some great company on this adventure!
- How do you teach finance students about natural environment? How will they respond?
- How will they resolve traditional economics with potential impacts on the environment?
- How can you explain the potential impacts of climate change to business when the science and time scales of those impacts are uncertain?
- And the most frequently asked question: How will you physically endure teaching for 25 hours consolidated in 4 days?? – That’s the question I’m the least able to answer as Trinity’s course format is certainly unique in that respect!
Share my adventure!
And as always, keep fighting the good fight!