Muschamp Rd

Go Green! Go MBA!

November 9th, 2009
Sauder School of Business logo

First of all, full disclosure, I have an MBA, I even have a reputation for being green, or for encouraging corporate social responsibility, for helping people… As part of these efforts I have a number of Google Alerts, RSS Feeds, even LinkedIn Groups that I monitor. Lately I’ve been really busy with my day job, especially around greening the inner-city of Vancouver, so busy in fact that I’ve fallen behind in monitoring.

So I’m forced to blog at odd hours, but I want to finally write about a collection of links, articles, and posts that I got off LinkedIn’s Green Jobs Group.

Second of all, going green, and corporate social responsibility is not a trend, it is a necessity for the continued survival of the human race, especially at near the lifestyle Westerners, ie most English speaking bloggers, have come to enjoy.

This isn’t my first blog posting. I’ve been on the internet since 1994, I’ve applied for too many jobs to count, I did six co-op work terms, an MBA internship, and then there was my post-MBA job search. I’ve blogged about some of these experiences. Now it has become de rigueur and other hard to spell words. People blog everything, I don’t, but I’ve blogged more than most, too much. Business schools blog, job seekers blog, MBA students blog, this is encouraged in some places and forbidden in others. Not everyone has your best interest at heart, many people who blog are self promoters, they’re selling you something. Every MBA school and student is selling themselves, it is only a few steps above prostitution. Maybe that is a bit harsh, but life is harsh, and some people make it harder than it should ever have to be.

Life is pain, your Highness. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.

So with the sudden emergence of self appointed experts giving advice, LinkedIn is really bad for this at times, upsets me as I took people’s advice and I suffered for years as a result. Some people repeatedly post just about any old thing to keep their name in people’s inbox, it devalues the system, and their own personal brand. Quality counts, “you’re only as good as your last song”, holds true in blogging. You can write any old crappy piece, hit publish, and face the consequences, or reap the rewards for the optimists out there. So after this epic preamble we get to the four articles I chose out of hundreds that ended up in my inbox.

Great Resumes Fast, or one of their employees posted an actually useful bit of advice on your personal brand. The importance of the top third of the first page of your resume to set yourself apart from the herd. It made me look at my resume. I thought it was a really good post, but obviously they are selling something, in this case, resume review services. I did this for dozens and dozens of people during my MBA, but it is the one resume I never even saw that caused my downfall, or at least the suspicion and vindictiveness of the owner of that resume.

So after posting a useful and helpful, thoughtful piece on improving your resume, the same blog, though not necessarily the same person posted this. This article is less unique, less useful, less like advice and more like a sales pitch. I think it devalued their brand. I thought so much in fact that I singled out this piece to make a counter argument that you shouldn’t post everyday or even every week to your blog. The last post or last few posts get read a little bit more as they remain on the front page, others subscribe to a theory where they need to flood search engines and websites with their name and links back to their website advertising their services. Every single word you write in electronic communication is important, you never know which sentence will change your life forever.

See the recent case of Councilor Andrea Reimer making a joke at the expense of Minister Coleman. She apologized, but some people don’t want apologies, or that isn’t enough. They want vengeance. Or they want to ignore the problem and hope it goes away, they don’t want dialogue, they don’t want a solution, they want punishment to be handed down.

So I kept going through stories posted to LinkedIn and found more “rah rah” booster-ism. This time saying how MBAs can help companies become green, save them money, save the world. Of course it is posted by a consultant to something called the Green Economy Post. I know a thing or two about the green economy and I never stumbled across this website or Illana Burk in my research. She appears to be another person selling herself or her services, too bad her webpage doesn’t render properly in Opera on my Mac.

Properly rendering websites is another thing that affects you credibility online. It used to be a bigger deal, but now with all the open source CMS’s out there, apathy and ignorance seem even more pathetic.

While I was at the Sauder School of Business they used my class as a bit of a guinea pig for their sustainability or green MBA. Apparently this trend has continued. Again it is all about self marketing. Not only am I bitter, I’m tired having twice failed to complete this post. However the trend continues of people posting stuff online then promoting it and their website despite the lack of merit and insight they provide.

MBAs are not going to save the planet. In my experience most are not that great of people. Research has shown they lie and cheat, even more so if they specialize in marketing. Ethics are important, doubly so if you want to market yourself as an expert in corporate social responsibility. How can you teach a corporation, an entity compared to a psychopath by some, to be ethical and socially responsible if you’re not above lying and cheating to get into MBA school or to boost your profile or grades at the expense of others?

I’ve been working a lot in Vancouver’s DTES, I’m there right now in the rain writing from one of the recently opened coffee shops on Main. Corporate Social Responsibility or Ethical Behavior is not something you do now and then when it is convenient or you need some good press. There were two MBAs at least at the opening build for SOLEfood, neither of us sought the limelight much, even though we’d both been working on the project since before it had a name, certainly more than my coworkers who got to be on the front page of the Vancouver Sun.

I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be in the DTES. I really want to open a bar but I need investors, ie money. I’m also still halfheartedly trying to study for my CFA. I need some new material, not yet more statistics. One reason I’m in the DTES is I know what it is like to have people turn their back on you and pretend you don’t exist. Even I’m getting tired of writing about my MBA, but the problems it caused have not gone away and the people who still insist I must be lying or nothing can be done, their words and actions, and solution negatively affected me.  They’re not who I’d want teaching people how to be ethical, socially responsible, or green.

The phrase I coined during my MBA was “preserving the facade of normalcy” and that is still what people are doing, John Lennon sang about it but quoting song lyrics hasn’t helped me…

“Keep them doped on religion, sex, and tv, but they’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.


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