From India to Eugene

Greetings everybody, I’m Harkanwal Sra and I’m a first-year in Center for Sustainable Business Practices. I’m from Punjab, India and I studied Electronics & Communications Engineering in my undergrad.

After graduating, I worked for Ericsson India Global Services Pvt. Ltd. for four years where I was responsible for operation and maintenance of the telecom network for Bharti Airtel, India’s biggest telecom services provider. During this time, I acquired good technical knowledge and also identified that I need to develop business skills in order to take my career to the next level. That is when I decided to do my MBA and shore up my business skills to complement my tech skills.

So, what prompted me to leave my family, friends, job, country and travel halfway across the world to US to pursue a green MBA?

Ever since my college days, I would read various reports and articles about pollution, climate change, ozone layer depletion etc. Sitting in my cozy home and later in my office in a city, I always wondered, “Is all of this really real?” As I started becoming worldly wise, I began to see the ill effects of these things back in my ancestral village and its nearby areas. Pollution, rapid industrialization, depleting water resources, deficient monsoon had started affecting the lives of people. The once prosperous region has become a pale shadow of itself. So, the issues of pollution, climate change, etc., cannot be ignored anymore. Somewhere something has to be done to get the things back on track.

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So, when I decided to do my MBA, I wanted to do it in a field that would help me play a role in rebuilding what has been destroyed. So when I started researching MBA programs, I found the UO’s Sustainable Business Practices MBA program. I researched in-depth about the program and applied. The program offered me a chance to gain practical knowledge in the field of sustainability with its focus on experiential learning from the professors who have seen it all and done it all. Finally, I had found a program that would help me do something worthwhile with the knowledge and skills that I would gain through it.

It has now been eight weeks since the program started and I haven’t been disappointed. The program has taken me on exposure trips to Portland and the Net Impact Conference in Minneapolis. While there, I was exposed to what various organizations are doing to make a positive change in the life of people and what they’re doing to make the world a safer, cleaner and better place for the next generation to live in.

The journey so far has not only been about learning sustainable business skills but also about self-discovery. Everyday I discover some sort of skill that I never knew existed in me before. I have learnt how to cook, survive in the cold & wet conditions in Eugene. Over the course of the next two years, I hope to continue to learn more and more not only about sustainable business but also about myself and hope to make a positive change in the life of people.

Written by Harkanwal Sra

Harkanwal Sra is a first year student in Center of Sustainable Business Practices (Class of 2016). Prior to joining the program here, he worked as First level Assurance Engineer for Ericsson India Global Services in India. After graduating, he hopes to pursue a career helping organizations develop business practices that achieve a sustainable competitive advantage while making a positive impact on both society and the environment.