For several years, students in MUM’s MBA in Sustainable Business Program have been assisting local organizations with their sustainability efforts. Through their Capstone Project, MBA students have worked with the City of Fairfield, the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center, and several businesses by assessing their needs, conducting research, and making recommendations.
“We want students to learn and appreciate the community because we are teaching them about global citizenship and global leadership,” said Ayako Huang, assistant professor of management. “It’s important for them to learn that they are not working just for their own benefit. We want them to serve the community and we call it service learning. This differentiates MUM’s Sustainable MBA program from other MBA programs.”
The Capstone Project consists of several classes and the completion of a practical community project. In their classes, students conducted case studies of local businesses that embraced sustainability, learned about sustainable technologies and tools for measuring sustainability, and studied the mechanics of fostering sustainable communities. Then they conducted research, presented their findings, and recommended sustainable solutions.
Student Kenny Januar did an internship with Global ID’s human resource department to create a new performance management system and conduct a training needs analysis to increase the company’s effectiveness. “The advantage of working on the Capstone Project for me was to use the skills I obtained from the University to help local businesses and the community.”
Latha Lakshmanan surveyed customers of a local grocery store about their approach to sustainability. “The project at Everybody’s was a good opportunity to combine the current consumer trends in the grocery industry into viable experiments for the local store to try, based on successful benchmarking of larger stores in the greater Iowa area,” said Latha. “It was a good opportunity to learn about a new industry, understand the gaps, and provide recommendations.”
In addition to gaining hands-on experience, students can benefit from working in the community in multiple ways, including developing critical thinking, increasing understanding of the class topic, developing communication and leadership skills, improving flexibility and openness to change, and growing understanding of diverse cultures and communities.