How an MBA Can Enhance Other Disciplines for Career Advancement
Posted March 13, 2017 by Meghan Kelly
- Graduate Student - Clark University
The clear, unmistakable call from across the tundra caught my attention. After six seasons of searching potential habitat for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, I heard the bird before catching a glimpse of this elusive species. I had found a breeding pair, a male and female who had likely left their nest to feed before the sun disappeared for the brief Arctic summer night. I quickly snapped a few photos to record the sighting and crept backward so as to not disturb their eggs that were due to hatch within a few days. The countless hours I had spent looking for this species cumulated in a brief few minutes with this pair, a moment that I often think back on as I pursue my dual master’s degrees in business administration and environmental science.
Building on Professional Experience: My Graduate School Calling
I spent nearly a decade after my undergraduate studies working on environmental resource management and conservation projects. My professional experience took me across the globe and exposed me to diverse individuals working on complex environmental problems. My work with the Spoon-billed Sandpiper made me realize that most of these issues require a multidisciplinary approach that transcends any one field. This critically endangered species experienced a rapid population decline due to habitat loss and degradation in several countries along its breeding and migratory range. In order to save the species, scientists must collaborate with policymakers, local communities, and business leaders to create integrated solutions that address a range of issues that affect not only the Spoon-billed Sandpiper but the communities it calls home. Managing this collaborative effort is what inspired me to pursue dual master’s degrees.
Interdisciplinary Studies for a Collaborative Workforce
The collaborative nature of conservation work requires the ability to communicate with multiple stakeholders. An understanding of environmental science concepts provides a solid foundation in which to develop solutions to environmental problems. Developing proficiency in the skills offered by an MBA, such as accounting, finance, and management, is an essential component to integrating disciplines to make these solutions resourceful. The world faces environmental issues that affect all sectors of the economy and society. I have been fortunate to gain international experience that has exposed me to many of these issues, including the impacts of environmental change to a migratory bird species. However, to make an impact, professionals can have experience in multiple sectors on any level—local, regional, or international. To be successful, they must embrace the interdisciplinarity of the most pressing problems and use their experiences to create innovative solutions that address the needs of multiple stakeholders.
Developing Business Skills for Career Advancement
Building on the professional experiences I gained before returning to graduate school, my studies have armed me with skills I can take back into the field to successfully manage conservation projects and work with stakeholders to create enduring solutions to the world’s most prevalent environmental problems. Pursuing my graduate degrees in business administration and environmental sciences was a natural progression to taking my professional experiences to the next level.
Meghan Kelly is a graduate student at Clark University dually pursuing an MBA and an MS in environmental science and policy.