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Profession and Purpose

Sustainability holds the promise of an exciting new approach to business - one in which business goals are aligned with social and environmental goals. Multinational corporations are recognizing that we live in an increasingly resource-constrained world, and that more accountability for corporate social and environmental impacts will accrue to them. More importantly, forward-thinking executives understand that sustainability can present new opportunities for competitive advantage - whether that is by reducing costs, minimizing risk, appealing to increasingly conscientious customers, or reaching new markets entirely.With the growth of this field comes a host of interesting new career opportunities for MBAs. As companies are grappling with challenges like how to develop social return on investment (SROI) metrics or understand the potential impact of corporate carbon footprints on stock prices, there are new opportunities for the next generation of managers - managers who are not only trained in traditional MBA fundamentals but also grounded in an understanding of the multifaceted social and environmental challenges facing 21st-century global business leaders. Entirely new career paths are opening to MBAs interested in sustainability: sustainable venture capital, green marketing, corporate social responsibility management, carbon credit trading, and sustainability consulting, to name a few.Perhaps even more than corporate executives, MBA students understand this trend. The next generation of managers can see that the future of business will require a new set of skills and responsibilities. Between 2003 and 2008, membership in Net Impact, the global organization for MBAs and business professionals interested in sustainability, increased more than fourfold. By March 2009, over 130 business schools had a Net Impact chapter. Around the world, MBA students realize that a different model will be required for businesses in the coming decades. The career paths that fall under the broad umbrella of "sustainability" are as diverse as the MBA students themselves. One student may be interested in social entrepreneurship in West Africa, and the next will be seeking advice about clean-tech venture capital careers in Silicon Valley; a third will be interested in greening global supply chains. Corporate social responsibility, sustainable product marketing, microfinance, green real estate development, renewable energy, and other interests all likewise fall under the sustainability umbrella at times. Because of this diversity, it is often hard for business schools' career management centers to address sustainability-related career options in a comprehensive way. Many sustainability-related companies and nonprofits are not accustomed to on-campus recruiting. Others have not historically hired MBAs at all. MBA students and alumni interested in sustainability careers are often left to navigate their own internship and job search paths. And, often, they struggle. Profession and Purpose has been written to address this urgent need. Whether you are focused on an off-campus search or participating in the on-campus recruiting process, there are a host of sustainability-specific career resources you should know about. You'll need to be well versed in sustainability news and trends, and network at the right events, conferences, and company presentations. You also need to know about industry- and discipline-specific websites that post sustainability jobs for positions with titles like Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Socially Responsible Investing Analyst, and Renewable Energy Market Analyst.Through hundreds of conversations with MBA students, professionals, and recruiters, as well as her own personal experience, the author has compiled the key job search resources and tips for MBAs interested in sustainability careers. The book provides ideas for researching companies, making the most of your networking, identifying job and internship openings, and preparing for interviews. No matter what stage of your MBA career search process you're in, this book will help you better understand your career options in the many fields of sustainability, direct you to the best resources and help you to fine-tune your sustainability job search strategy. It's the sustainability career coach MBAs have been waiting for.
Product Details

Table of Contents

PrefaceAbout the author Acknowledgments Part I: Evaluating your optionsGetting started: MBA careers in sustainabilityWhat is sustainability?Sustainable jobs and internship optionsFraming your searchTips for an off-campus job searchMaking the most of informational interviewsGaining experienceGetting to your dream job: Start with the end in mind Plan B?A note about salariesStaying the course Organizing your searchPart II: Navigating specific career paths Corporate sustainability & CSRSustainability consultingSustainable real estate & green buildingEnergy & cleantechGreen marketingEnvironmental conservation/nonprofitsSocial entrepreneurship & impact investingSustainable investingMission-driven businessAdditional career pathsPart III: Job search resources Sustainable companiesInternet research resourcesJob posting websitesReportsBooksEventsGeographic search resources

Promotional Information

I wish this book was available when I was in business school many years ago! Kross gives very practical and comprehensive advice for individuals looking to find a 'purpose driven' career in the world of business. This book is a must-have for recent graduates or mid-career professionals who want to advance their sustainable or social ideals in the workplace. -- Leigh Stringer, The Green Workplace No matter your timeline, personal passion, or background before business school, Katie's book will lead you in the right direction. Through practical career advice, thorough field overviews, and engaging practitioner profiles, Katie's book will help MBAs move forward. You should read Profession and Purpose on the first day of business school orientation -- Liz Maw, CEO, Net Impact You - the mission-minded MBA - can use your skills to change the world. But first, you need to find the right job: one that keeps you engaged, learning, and contributing to causes you care about ... No matter your timeline, personal passion, or background before business school, Katie's book will lead you in the right direction. Through practical career advice, thorough field overviews, and engaging practitioner profiles, Katie's book will help MBAs move forward. You should read Profession and Purpose on the first day of business school orientation and re-read every semester of the MBA experience. -- Liz Maw, CEO, Net Impact FULL VERSION The opportunity for MBAs to make a real difference in the world through careers in sustainability is tremendous. Profession and Purpose is an essential resource for connecting MBA students and graduates with careers that will literally reinvent the way business is done in the future. -- Hunter Lovins, Co-author of 'Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution'; Founding Faculty, Presidio Graduate School Today's job seekers, from newly minted MBAs to mid-career changers, want more than a good job. They want to work for companies that are making a difference, that value people and the planet as much as they do profits. Profession and Purpose shows the way, helping MBAs forge a path to a job and a career that can make lasting change happen. -- Joel Makower, Executive Editor, GreenBiz.com, and author of 'Strategies for the Green Economy'

About the Author

KATIE KROSS is a sustainability practitioner, career coach and educator who has inspired hundreds of MBA students to go on to sustainability careers with Fortune 500 companies, social and environmental non-profits, mission-driven companies, and startups.


From finance to operations, there is a "dizzying landscape of options" for MBA careers in sustainability. Many MBA candidates who are entering the sustainability job market are on uncharted waters. Katie Kross provides clarity, tips and resources for navigating the diverse paths to sustainability careers for MBAs in the soon-to-be released second addition of her book, "Profession and Purpose: A Resource Guide for Careers in Sustainability." Kross states that the path for sustainability careers can take numerous off-campus routes, diverging from a largely on-campus career search for many traditional MBA careers. Her book is bursting at the seams with job hunting tactics and inspirations, providing structure to a potentially daunting task. It is written both for people just beginning their careers or those wishing to switch careers after earning an MBA. Part I: Something for everyone Despite a variety of potential career paths - from renewable energy to green marketing - Kross identifies specific themes that are helpful across the board. She gives numerous examples of specific sustainability job titles, helping job seekers gain insight into potential career options. In addition, she mentions additional training and certifications specific to sustainability, such as LEED Green Associate and GRI Reporting Certification, helping career-seekers hone in on an expertise. Some of her advice was broad enough to apply to most job-seekers, such as tips on using social media channels and networks, and others were specific to green careers, including specific websites and networking opportunities. Every paragraph, however, had some emphasis on business and sustainability - setting it apart as a useful resource to job-seekers within this niche. From job boards to informational interviews, the resource guide explores a variety of avenues for getting prepared and creating a career path, through both formal and informal approaches. Kross recommends throughout the book that career-seekers to do their homework by reading sustainability reports, relevant trade publications and blogs, and she says it's always a good idea to speak with people to gain insights into the market. I found the section, "organizing our search" in Part I to be especially helpful. It even provides a general timeline for MBA candidates on specific activities and intentions, with many suggestions specific to sustainability, such as making the most of a Net Impact membership or attending U.S. Green Building Council and Sustainable Brands events. Parts II and III: Choosing a career path Part II of the book focuses on specific career paths, including corporate sustainability, green building and environmental conservation, with sections on trends in the field, skills needed, sample employers and key resources. It profiles people that acquired jobs in each field, with information on how they found their current position and job search tips. Each section is a goldmine for current, specific information on each career path, with insights from industry leaders. The final section of the book is filled with job search resources, again specific to sustainability careers. It's also extremely thorough, with job posting websites, books, reports, and conferences. Even career seekers that have done a lot of previous research are likely to find some really valuable resources in this section, as it is up-to-date and very comprehensive. "Profession and Purpose" is a must-have for MBA candidates wishing to enter sustainability careers and a very useful tool for anyone wishing to start a career in sustainability. Its 200 pages are densely packed with so much information that even the most aimless green business career-seekers will gain direction and insight for a new career path. -- Sarah Lozanova * TriplePundit *

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