Sunday, August 05, 2007

Marlboro College Graduate Center Open House

I decided to attend the Marlboro College Graduate Center's open house yesterday in Brattleboro, VT. The drive out from Boston was uneventful,taking about an hour and fifty minuted and covering just about 100 miles as indicated by the mobile edition of Google Maps I have. I'd never been to Brattleboro before, and I was looking forward to seeing another one of New England's small cities, if only for a few hours.

I arrived at the open house a bit late, not realizing that there was a schedule of events to follow. Don Parker, a member of the admissions team greeted me warmly at the entrance and ushered me into the meeting. I thought that the open house was for people interested in the Sustainable MBA program, but it was for anyone interested in any of the Graduate Center's courses. There was a small group of people gathered talking about their interests, including a near graduate member of the MAT program, "Teaching with Technology". It was very informative to listen to a mid-career professional relate her experiences managing work, school, and family. Her enthusiasm for what she was studying and learning was plain to see, and the importance of her classmates to push and support her came through as well. I was relieved to hear that she experienced a fair amount of fear prior to starting the program. I guess I am not alone. One of the many emotions I feel when contemplating a return to school is abject terror.

I had a great conversation with Ralph Meima, the Sustainable MBA Program Director. We talked for well over an hour about sustainable business, reviewing each other's history with the concept and discussing how an MBA in sustainable business can help people like me. We spent a fair amount of time discussing what "sustainability" really means to businesses and the inherent problem trying to teach something that defies a standardized definition. I suppose that's one thing that attracts me to learning about it; the intellectual challenge of getting my head around what sustainable business means for individual companies, regions, and people. We talked about the reasons to attend business school and the potential to help create a regional sustainability "knowledge-base" in the Northeast similar to what is underway with BGI's help in the Pacific Northwest.
When you think about it, a central element of sustainability is working locally with supply chains that do not rely on energy intensive activities like long-distance shipping and importation of resources from other areas. Organizations like BALLE are working hard and making progress to create and maintain strong local economies. One of my favorite companies (one that I have fantasized about working with to recreate their model in other regions) working to create strong local economies for food is The Farmer's Diner, located in Quechee, VT.
I am digressing. I enjoyed my visit to Marlboro and would encourage anyone interested in sustainable business education to check out their program. While the 2007 class will be the inaugural edition for Marlboro (and something I am taking into consideration as I complete my admissions material!), I can not foresee interest in sustainable business education waning. I expect that in five years, people involved with programs like BGI, Presidio, Marlboro, Antioch, etc. will be heavily influencing "mainstream" business education. Innovation generally comes form the small and the new, not the establishment. Wouldn't it me cool to be part of that?

Why the photo of Poison Ivy? It's CO2 related. I heard portions of a story on Poison ivy's potential increase in size and toxicity due to predicted rises in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Great. I have been extra cautious about Poison Ivy after contracting some nasty cases as a child. Now, there will be more of it...yet another (personal) reason for me to want to do something about CO2 emissions through sustainable business.

I snapped the photo above with my phone while stopped on the Palisades Parkway overlooking the Hudson River. The view was amazing. The hopelessly jammed George Washington bridge I had just escaped from was off in the distance, hazily dangling over the water.

1 comment:

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