Columbia University: Statement of Purpose

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Hi everyone! Today marks my first day of class for graduate school at Columbia University. I still cannot believe that I’m here…well, virtually anyways. I wanted to post this in the event that anyone was interested in how I got started on my sustainability journey and how I’ve arrived to this point to pursue it full-time as a student.

Statement of Purpose
M.S. in Sustainability Management

The year is 2015. I’m staring at my computer screen in the Saint Joseph’s University library deciding what minor to take. Business intelligence? Seems too general. International Business? I do love Spanish. What’s this – Leadership, Ethics, and Organizational Sustainability? Sounds impactful. I dive in to learn that this minor educates students on how to improve the triple bottom line while using business as a force for good. “These courses align with my ideology of business,” I thought. Sign me up. I’m going for it.

I believe that every conscious consumer can remember the period of time where the environmentalist inside of them came alive. Some say, “for better or for worse.” I’d always argue for the better. It’s a constant, rewarding challenge to be this type of consumer and to lead by example despite the associated inconvenience. Internalizing that coursework of the Leadership, Ethics & Organizational Sustainability program, day by day, night by night in the library, were the moments in culmination where true passion and innate drive took form. I came to meet the environmentalist inside of me. Something had struck so naturally, so forcefully, that I had never experienced before.

We internalized businesses who were not only leveraging sustainable operations but experiencing incremental profit in doing so. We dove deep and discussed Subaru’s journey to become zero waste ahead of schedule while also cutting costs. We analyzed Patagonia’s strategies to fight climate change, in addition to fighting for their factory workers’ rights overseas. Whether we were debating financial vs. social responsibilities, role playing C-suite decision making, or dissecting case studies, it took hold of me. We took charge in making the business case for sustainability – marrying profit with less impact.

During my capstone coursework I was also interning at Lilly Pulitzer, a resort wear fashion company. Think: bright colors, unforgettable flower patterns and palm trees. As some capstone courses entail, you are invited to hone in on something of interest and of relevance to you. I chose fashion. I’ll never forget the moment I watched the final scene in the Netflix documentary, “The True Cost,” where consumers are trampling over one another on Black Friday. Tears came streaming down my face as I sat there encapsulated. It was that moment when I realized that I was taking part of this in the marketing department at Lilly Pulitzer. I realized that my job was nothing but making people feel like they have to buy more, even if it was the same exact shirt in a lighter shade of pink, that left toxic dyes in rivers thousands of miles away.

The Director of Human Resources met with me at the end of my internship and asked, “What would your dream job be here at Lilly Pulitzer?” Screaming the answer inside of my mind, “I want to audit the fabrics and supply chain that we use today and make recommendations to become more sustainable. I’ll make the business case for it, too.” The problem was that I didn’t feel I had enough knowledge about the comprehensive sustainability science to perform any such task. That, in short, is the reason why I want to attend your Masters of Science program in Sustainability Management during your fall semester of 2020. I aim to have the full capability to attain and be successful in that dream job expressed in my mind four years ago.

I declined a full-time role in Marketing and Public Relations at Lilly Pulitzer.
I’ve since enjoyed a journey between two technology companies selling their software. This has been an invaluable experience. I work mainly to create and present a business case for the software solution that I am proposing. I’ve diagnosed problems with C-level executives at a wide variety of companies, including Pizza Hut, CBS and Universal Music Group. Being able to attach positive dollar figures in leveraging our solutions has introduced these companies to newfound margins and revenue streams.

My ultimate goal is to lead within a fortune 500 company – particularly one that sells goods to consumers where I can make these parallel business cases for sustainable change. I believe that this Masters in Sustainability Management will enable me to perform an accurate analysis of current operations, the ability to make a sustainability case and drive positive impact in how we deliver to the consumer market.

thanks for reading and following this journey!

the sustennial

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