[syndicated from my blog at blogs.ft.com/mba-blog]
I now have a little over two weeks remaining with the California Fisheries Fund and am in the process of drafting up my final project papers and presentations, a little of which I have given a window into through this blog. But more important than those white papers or recommendations that I leave with my clients will be the impression that I leave behind.
I doubt very much that I need to explain the difficulties with its reputation that the MBA degree is experiencing in the greater market place. I have spent time and effort this summer trying to dispel those myths, not only to my co-workers at the Environmental Defense Fund, but also to those of you who may be considering an MBA education, but aren’t sure that a business degree is going to allow you to make the positive impact you desire in the world.
I am coming away from my internship in San Francisco convinced otherwise. I am surrounded on a daily basis by people who dedicate their lives to issues greater than themselves and I have not felt out of place even once, neither have I felt that I have nothing to contribute. The scientists and economists around me bring great gifts to the world as “public policy entrepreneurs” through the EDF, but I have found that I do as well. So far, my MBA experience has allowed me to refine my ability to make and execute decisions and to understand the motivations of individuals that are affected by those decisions. Management, leadership and being business savvy, they are all needed in the non-profit world as well. The ability to present a different perspective, to build and drive a team to succeed, to find a need and fill it with a novel idea or product: these are skills that are needed in any type of organisation and are ones that an MBA can help teach and refine.
Overall, I am very pleased with my experience this summer: it has not only shown me just how valuable my skill-set can be, but I think I have also done my part to show the world that you shouldn’t judge a person by their degree alone. An MBA does not equate to profit-driven greed, nor to a quantitative robot. And not all environmentalists are tree-hugging socialists (although I DO love trees.)