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MBA students reflect on Ivey Think Big Forum

  • Communications
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  • Dec 5, 2016
MBA students reflect on Ivey Think Big Forum

MBA 2017 candidates Daniel Fuentes, Matthew Elliott Lui, Oditi Mostafa, and Keji Olaleye provide their observations of Ivey’s Think Big Forum November 16.

Ivey’s Think Big Forum will motivate future leaders to focus more on the long-term prosperity and not just short-term profitability.

That’s the message that came from the MBA-organized event that took place on November 16. A panel of six experts discussed the importance of business sustainability in today’s business world. Andrew Bowerbank, EllisDon Corporation; Mojdeh Poul, 3M Canada; Marcelo Lu, BASF Canada; Adil Qawi, Greenlid; Pam Laughland, Network for Business Sustainability; and, Dustyn Lanz, Responsible Investment Association, made up the panel, which was moderated by MBA Director David Wood.

Emphasizing long-term prosperity

Did the team achieve its goals? According to Oditi Mostafa, it exceeded them! Mostafa said the event “motivated the next leaders of Canada to focus more on the long-term prosperity and not just the short-term profitability.” Mostafa hopes this forum is a great start to Ivey’s continuous effort in building a sustainable world together.

“We are energized to continue working on amplifying the message we tried to convey at the Forum: that sustainability makes sense,” said Daniel Fuentes. “The Forum became a two-way conversation on sustainability between industry experts, high-level executives, students and sustainability enthusiasts. The discussion revolved around how sustainability can give companies and organizations new sources of competitive advantage. The panel of thought leaders presented a series of arguments that inspired the audience to continue learning and discussing the impact sustainability can have on their organizations' bottom line, operations, and value proposition. The audience included students of business, engineering, communications, global affairs, and other disciplines.”

“The speakers provided useful tips on quantifiable metrics for monitoring the impacts of sustainable practices, and ways to get buy in from others – both within an organization and as an entrepreneur,” said Keji Olaleye. “Perhaps most importantly, Think Big inspired the confidence to challenge the status quo and become true ambassadors of change and thought leadership!”

Matthew Lui adds that “the candid conversation between the panellists helped dispel common misconceptions associated with sustainability and shed light on the societal challenges of environmental degradation, overconsumption, and climate change in the pursuit of unlimited economic growth in a closed system.”

Cooperation is key

What really struck Lui were the similarities between panellists’ stories.

“While we had representation from the fields of academia, equity and derivative investments, entrepreneurship, construction, chemicals, and manufacturing, what was most striking to me was the interconnectedness of our speakers’ organizations. These inter-organizational relationships have spawned sustainability projects that are underway today to fundamentally transform the way business is done, attempting to strike a balance between economy, society, and environment in unconventional and interesting ways. The camaraderie, rapport, and mutual respect between our panellists highlighted the need for interfirm cooperation to accelerate the development of innovative new solutions that create value without being detrimental to the environment or society.”

All organizers hope this event continues with the 2018 MBA class and beyond. The greater goal is that the forum inspired a generation of business leaders to think sustainably and recognize that cooperation is key to mutual prosperity. As Henry Ford brilliantly put it: coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success.

Think Big attracted an audience of 200 students and business practitioners. The event was sponsored by RBC and coordinated through Ivey’s Building Sustainable Value (BSV) Centre.