5 Ways You Can Use Your MBA for The Greater Good
From a very young age, I was fascinated by people who worked in tall glass buildings. They went to their offices carrying a briefcase and probably made a lot of money. They seemed like important people, and I wanted to be important too someday.
My first impression of an MBA degree was of something that’d help me run a business someday and would make me successful. I wanted to be a shark and get into the corporate world. This was a side of me that dominated my career aspirations and my search for a good b-school.
I had my career roadmap in front of me, I had all the plans laid out, but there was something missing.
As a child, I was always the helpful, empathetic one. I wanted to help people and make the world a better place. But as I grew up, those emotions got limited to going on volunteer events once a week.
You don’ make a career in social work, right? You need to choose between the two.
But sometimes, some things are so deeply rooted in you that you can’t shake them off. Empathy is one such thing for me. But was it too late? I was already on my way to a b-school.
That is when It finally dawned on me. I don’t need to work for an NGO, to have a positive impact on the world. Businesses run the world and a responsible business can have a massive impact on the society if it starts thinking beyond keeping just the shareholders happy.
All of us have a responsibility towards our planet and towards our society and if you are someone like me who always wanted to make a difference but think that you can’t, read on.
Following is a list of ways in which you can make a difference while doing your ‘important’ job in the tall glass building.
1. Corporate Social Responsibility:
I know what you’re thinking. No you don’t need to leave your job and join an NGO in order to contribute to CSR. CSR is not something you do, it is something you have. A sense of responsibility towards the society and towards the environment is what you need to turn any job into a CSR job. You can take up organizational initiatives to Go Green or you can bring in chapters or clubs to your organization to educate the people about CSR. If you are in a leadership role and have a seat at the table, you can advocate for sustainable business strategies, read about how Lipton did it and you’ll know how it makes good business sense.
2. Help Businesses Manage their ESG Metrics:
If you are looking to start your own Venture that makes money AND helps the world become a better place, may I suggest starting a consultancy firm that guides businesses in their ESG metrics. Most of the big investors are looking to invest in something for the long term. These investors care about their money and care about the type of businesses it is involved in. The world is moving towards a more socially responsible future and the investors, who think long term, know that. This is the reason ESG Metrics are all the rage right now.
3. Spread Awareness:
Well this one’s easy, isn’t it? You can do it from the comfort of your cubicle and you can start a wave. If you are someone who has good networking skills and/or have a massive social media following, you can share the downsides of the current business practices and the upside of a sustainable future.
4. Check Your Supply Chain:
Operations guys, I am talking to you. If you haven’t read about Nike’s struggles with cleaning up their supply chain and how it impacted their business in 1990s, please stop now, read about it and then take a good hard look at your own supply chain. If you find something that you can fix and eliminate the problem, I bet you’ll sleep better. It will not be an easy job but it is definitely worth it.
5. Be Responsible towards your Employees:
Everything starts at home. If you are not good to your own employees then no amount of CSR activities or volunteering can do any good for your company. Employee retention is an art that needs one very important skill — Empathy. Understand your employees and your company’s mission, help your employees align with this mission and also take suggestions from them. Create a culture of inclusion and do not hesitate to stand up for your people.
An MBA gives you lots of opportunities but it also puts you in a role where you can have huge impact on the society. If you are someone who can make an impact, what you waiting for?