Cameron Center for Finance & Securities Analysis Blog

University of Oregon CCFSA Profile – Nishan Senthirajah

Originally from Tualatin, Oregon, Nishan Senthirajah is a junior majoring in finance with a minor in economics at the University of Oregon. He is in the Honors Business program and is also the consumer goods sector leader analyst for the University of Oregon’s Investment Group (UOIG). He was the president of the Financial Management Association (FMA) this past year and will be interning as an investment KeyBanc Capital Market analyst this summer. Here is what he has to say about his experiences in the Lundquist College of Business thus far:

Can you tell me a little bit more about UO’s Investment Group? (UOIG)
NS: I’m a senior analyst within the University of Oregon’s Investment Group, which is a student-led organization within the Lundquist College of Business that actively manages more than one million dollars in endowment funds. It’s comprised of student analysts as well as six students on the management team. Essentially, our job is to put together an equity research report every term on a stock that we believe would be a good investment. So, we generate investment models and do a lot of research to determine how the stock is valued. After the report, you do a presentation to the entire group with about a 45-minute Q&A session. It’s an intense atmosphere. This is my second year in the group so I have one more year after this. It’s been an excellent experience for me thus far. It gives students an opportunity to expand their learning in an environment that they wouldn’t find in the classroom, which is why it’s such a reputable group within the Lundquist College. We try to keep our strong name as we continue in our operations. You also meet a lot of people and a lot of great friends that are invested in the same things and have the same interests as you. People who actually care about the things you’re working on as much as you do. That’s been one of the best parts.

What was your role within the Financial Management Association (FMA) and how is it different than UOIG?
NS: I was the past president at the FMA, which was started two years ago. We’re a chapter of a larger national organization, similar to a lot of other clubs you find in the business school. It’s designed for the broader range of students. The FMA is a much broader-based finance group that covers topics ranging from corporate to investment banking to private equity. The goal for FMA is to provide students with a learning environment to get exposed to different areas of finance in order to determine if it’s something they’re interested in, and if so, what area and how can we help students get there. We do this by going on site visits locally and within the Pacific Northwest. We bring in different speakers from all different backgrounds to come and share their career paths, what they do with their job, skill sets in their current positions, and ways to navigate yourself into that position. It’s been a pretty decent success; it grows every year. Unlike UOIG, the application process isn’t as intense and selective.

What does the future hold in store for you?
NS: This coming summer I’ll be working as an investment KeyBanc Capital Market analyst. My goal is to work there for a couple years because it will provide excellent exposure as far as potential career opportunities going forward. Whether I want to move into private equity or take the industry route, I’m hoping to gain the necessary skill sets and experience while working with investment banking. It’s a work-hard atmosphere, so when you make a lot of great connections you gain extremely valuable experience. I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do – whether I want to stay in investment banking or private equity, or maybe a corporate finance field, but that’s what I’m looking at right now. Ideally, I would like to find myself working on the financial managerial division of a professional sports team or basketball team. After getting my experience in the financial executive department, the decisions I make post-grad will be either going back and getting my MBA or continuing within the field. Within UOIG you see a lot of people doing a couple years of investment banking but then they usually take a lot of different paths.

How do you like to spend your free time?
NS: I’m a basketball fanatic. I’m super into analyzing and catching as many games as I can, especially right now with all the games that are going on. I also play basketball and soccer. I love to travel when I get the chance to. I was able to do a lot of traveling growing up while visiting my parents’ family, so seeing as many places as possible has always been a huge interest of mine. I love Indian cuisine and I like playing blackjack too.

What are some tips you have for other finance students?
NS: Don’t use the mouse when you’re using Microsoft Office; always use the keyboard. I would also say networking is critical within the industry because it’s so concentrated. Because we’re from the west coast, making relationships and being able to network is critical for landing the ideal internship or post-grad job. I would say take advantage of the opportunities that are offered at UO outside of the classroom because not many other schools have them, and that’s what’s going to separate you when you’re going up against your peers or students from other schools. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it when it’s all said and done.

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Lessons from the Oregon MBA Part II: Interview with Oregon Advanced Strategy Professor Dr. Michael Crooke

PART II: Interview with Dr. Michael Crooke, on sustainability, business, and the Oregon MBA. Conducted April 13, 2016 by Anna Raithel, Center for Sustainable Business Practices MBA, 2017.

If we know that sustainability is important for companies and that sustainable choices often lead to profits, why do you think more companies aren’t choosing the sustainable approach?

The first thing to say is that there aren’t any sustainable companies. There isn’t one company on the planet that is actually sustainable, that is, net neutral impact on the planet. We overuse that term. I would say, “We are on a path towards sustainability.” Companies that don’t subscribe to this way of thinking are becoming more rare. Many of the world’s largest organizations now subscribe to a GRI (Global Reporting Initiative). The first step is to measure where you are and what you are doing, and then set goals for how you want to improve. You’re not judged on how good or bad you are, you’re judged on if you are improving. Sustainability initiatives managers are smart – they can see that this is coming but they don’t know how to do it. One of my clients simply had to bring millennials into their strategic planning process, and now they have all kinds of new ideas around sustainability. 250 companies hold ¾ of the world’s GDP; the power is with the corporations. That’s where change has to happen.

 

Is sustainability being driven by corporations’ deeper sense of responsibility? Or are firms responding to consumer demand?

 I think it’s both. It’s very difficult to argue that global warming isn’t real. It’s a powerful rising of the tide and it’s happening in real time, so companies know they need to get in front of that. If they’re on the backside of that and their competitors launch a similar product that’s more sustainably made, they’re not only going to have lower costs down the road, but the customers are going to follow those companies. I had the opportunity to speak with Steve Jobs in 2008 and spent about an hour with him in his office. He thought that within 15 years the environmental aspect of his product was going to be as important as the form and function of his product. He was such a visionary, he could see beyond the horizon, and he was already building that into the company.

Consumers are demanding it. They want to see it in everything they do, what they wear, what they eat, the kind of house they live in, etc., just like any trend. When we started using organic cotton at Patagonia our jeans were $85. Now you can basically buy the same pair of organic jeans at Wal-Mart for $13. Whole Foods started supplying organic food to the masses and now Costco is the #1 organic food supplier in the world. It’s happening at different rates in different places, but overall from a regression line point of view I think it’s a rising tide and everyone will be able to benefit.

 

What is the role of government and policy in driving sustainability?

 Think of the greatest environmental presidents of our time. Why is Nixon one of them? That’s when the Clean Water Act was passed, and the Endangered Species Act – all of these major policies happened under Nixon, a Republican. I think the leadership has to come from government. Think about what those laws have done and how the basis for environmentalism was created in the 1970’s. Go back to the beginning and think about the food movement and Rachel Carson and Silent Spring (1962), and the power a book like that can have. I think it’s certainly synergistic, but the bottom line is that you need a progressive government. You need a government that understands and protects the people in our capitalistic society. There are a lot of people that believe in the Adam Smith model that a manager’s duty is to make money for shareholders. [There is] no mention of shared value or of societal value. That’s where you start to see b-corporations and nonprofits. Government is very important and it has to work hand in hand with the pioneers; the Yvon Chouinards, the Rachel Carsons, the Anita Roddicks of the world.

 

Do you think there could be a point where sustainability will no longer offer a competitive advantage because it’s such common practice?

 I don’t see that, certainly not in my lifetime. If you take the absolute ideal of what sustainability could be, Michael Braungart’s Cradle To Cradle (2002), you get done with your shirt, throw it into your garden, it composts, the organic and inorganic compounds go back into the soil, and there was no net loss of nutrients in that product. We’re a long ways off from that. But that’s the brilliance of Cradle To Cradle, to lay that concept out and really look at what that panacea could be. Or like the rocket fuel that was proposed at the New Venture Championships in Portland. The fuel was 50-60% more environmentally friendly, it worked better, and rockets could go farther. Sustainability was at the heart of that whole technology and they won the competition. We might be forced into that sort of thinking. We might not have a choice. Mars might not be ready yet.

Written by Anna Raithel

Anna is pursuing an MBA with a focus in Sustainable Business Practices, graduating 2017.

University of Oregon CCFSA Profile – Annelise Moss

Annelise Moss is an MBA student working toward her certified financial planner (CFP) certification here at the University of Oregon. Moss achieved her undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship and is the only female finishing the finance track of the MBA program this spring. Here is what she has to say about her experiences in finance at the UO.

Can you give me a short description of who you are?
Annelise Moss: Born in Scottsdale, Arizona, my family moved to the Portland area when I was two. I’ve spent the majority of my life in Oregon and I love it here. From an early age, I have loved to dance. Throughout the years I did ballet, jazz, and hip-hop, and I joined a traveling ballroom dance company as an undergrad. I also competed in Latin-style dance with my dance partner. I’ve always thought of myself as creative and found my analytical side close to the end of undergrad. I worked in advertising for a short time and quickly realized it was not the career for me. After doing some job shadowing I found a passion for the investment business. Although I was a business major in undergrad, I took very few finance classes and came back to school to expand my knowledge.

What are your future goals in terms of business?
AM: Ultimately, I would like to have own business. I was an entrepreneurship major in undergrad and have always liked the idea of calling my own shots. People have always intrigued me. In the near future I see myself in more of a business development type role. Learning about people’s motives and how to best support their needs is a passion of mine. I am currently working on my CFP (certified financial planner) certification and would like to start my career with financial planning where I can support clients’ needs.

You’re an MBA currently pursuing your CFP – can you talk a little bit more about that experience? Difficulties? What you enjoy?
AM: It has definitely been a challenge to be an accelerated finance student in addition to working on my CFP education. Luckily, the CFP board gave me some credit for the MBA curriculum but keeping balance in my life has been difficult. With that being said, if I could go back I wouldn’t change my decision. I knew I wanted to stay in Oregon, so expanding my network here is invaluable, and I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve learned in the CFP education program. Some may find estate and retirement planning dull but I really enjoy the thought of being able to help someone plan for a happy retirement and smooth transition.

What resources did/do you use at UO or the Lundquist College of Business that you would recommend current students take advantage of?
AM: The network here at UO is amazing. Ducks are truly dedicated people. As a finance student I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of the Emerging Market Fund, which is a student-led investment fund. It’s been a great experience to come into the program with no idea how to value a company and leaving with the Emerging Market Fund owning two of my stock pitches. I would strongly recommend incoming students take advantage of the guest speakers the program brings in. I know it can be difficult to balance school and work, and it’s hard to give up a couple evenings a month, but it’s worth it. We’ve had a wide variety of speakers including private equity, consulting, wealth managers, and many more.

What are the most important pieces of information you’ve learned from your various internships?
AM: I had a fantastic internship last summer. I worked at Becker Capital Management in downtown Portland with their high net-worth team. I had the opportunity to learn most aspects of the business, including the investment team, trading, and client service. My major project for the summer was to become an expert, plan a lunch, and learn about Social Security. At the end of my internship I presented to a group of high net-worth clients, and I couldn’t speak highly enough about my experience. The team at Becker is outstanding; I had a wonderful mentor who took great interest in my development. My internship was definitely a highlight of my graduate school experience and I am so appreciative of it.

How has the Lundquist College of Business shaped who you are as a person?
AM: Coming into grad school, I felt strongly about who I was as a person. I still feel strongly that I am leaving the same person, but the Lundquist College of Business has given me the tools I need to successfully start the career I wish to have. Who I am as a future investment professional has developed greatly because of the professors here at the college. I’ve had some great professors, including Brandon Julio, Steve McKeon, and Michael Crooke, who have all shaped my experience here. Even though I have only been in for a year and a term, the Lundquist College of Business has made a major impact on my life forever. I would also like to encourage other females to spend some time in the finance world, and be open to finding out if it’s something they are interested in. I strongly recommend any female who thinks they might have an interest in finance to go for it!

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Net Impact’s Inaugural Impact Trek to Humm Kombucha

Four minutes before 10 o’clock, on a gorgeous sunny day in Bend, Oregon, the UO Net Impact Graduate chapter piled out of Suburus and Priuses onto Humm Kombucha’s lawn to kick off our chapter’s inaugural Impact Trek. Our plan was to use our diverse backgrounds, passion for sustainability, and graduate student can-do-it-ness to offer free sustainability consulting brain power to businesses in exchange for the opportunity to get to know their company and present our ideas to them at the end of the day.  The trip was organized by our president, Katie Clark (who is famous at Humm for dressing as a bottle of their Blueberry Mint Kombucha this past Halloween) and fellow second year Andrea Teslia. The trip was modeled after the UC-Berkeley Net Impact chapter’s Impact Trek to Patagonia in Ventura, CA.

After shaking ourselves IMG_8854out from the two hour drive from Eugene, we were met by Mike and Jeff—our fabulous tour guides, sounding boards, and supervisors for the day.  We started our behind the scenes tour at—where else?!—the Humm taproom where we each tried every flavor they had on tap!  Humm’s taproom has the distinction of having been the first kombucha tasting room in the contiguous US.  One of the first and lasting impressions we got from the factory floor was that everyone was smiling!  People were genuinely having a good time and all along brewing and bottling lines, employees waved, smiled, and offered us bottles of lemon ginger kombucha right off the line.  Everywhere we went at Humm, there was a feeling of operating from abundance.  Everyone we met was generous with their time, generous in their attitudes, and generous with their pours of kombucha.

This feeling of authentic good vibes was very evident in the “fermentation room.”  Kombucha is a fermented drink made by introducing SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) into tea and allowing it to ferment into the effervescent drink many of you are probably familiar with.  Referencing the work of Masaru Emoto—the scientist who discovered that Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 5.06.27 PMwater exposed to pleasant thoughts and words created beautiful crystals when frozen—Mike explained to us that the lavender walls, loving names like “Ulysses” written on the SCOBY drums, and the hand drawn hearts placed here and there were all in an effort to infuse their tea with love.

The tour was all fun and games and kombucha, but, after an hour, we retired to some picnic tables on the front lawn to get to work.  Our task was to offer solutions for the SCOBY and tea waste products that Humm ended up with each week.  Our team brainstormed together and then broke out individually to google, reference class materials, call professors, text ex-colleagues, and follow as many rabbit holes as we could.  After 4 hours of work, we compiled our best ideas to share with Jeff.  In the short term, we shared resources for offsite composting in farm supply markets and onsite composting options.  In the long term, we gave Humm preliminary specs for purchasing and operating an anaerobic digester, either as a community project or on their own.  We also talked about the leadership role that Humm could potentially take in the realm of zero waste and composting.

After a great day of IMG_8872working together, we also made sure Jeff knew that the next time Humm is looking for help with efficiency or sustainability projects, the Center for Sustainable Business Practices would be a great resource for eager, educated, free labor who will happily work for bottomless kombucha!  Net Impact spent the rest of the weekend in Bend working with Mt. Bachelor Ski Area (whew, this sustainability consulting is sooo rough…!) and visiting Deschutes Brewing (salmon safe hops were an educational highlight of the tour!).  On Monday, we all showed up to class tired, but elated from a fun, productive adventure weekend, and craving a tall glass of cold Kombucha.

 

Written by Kate Hammarback

Kate is a 2017 MBA/MPA from the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. Originally from Wisconsin, Kate graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin with a political science degree and spent time working in state and national politics before pivoting to nonprofit resource and program development. Kate is an active member of LiveMove and Net Impact and is happiest when working at the intersection of policy, planning, and business development through social and sustainable enterprise. After graduation, she plans to work where she can use finance and sustainability strategy to impact the triple bottom line.

University of Oregon CCFSA Profile – Dougal Williams

Dougal Williams is the chief investment officer at Vista Capital Partners in Portland. He is a University of Oregon alumnus who will be returning to campus on May 11 to share his experience in the financial planning industry. Students will have the opportunity to gain insight into Williams’ responsibilities as well as learn more about how financial markets function. We had the opportunity to ask Williams a few questions in preparation for his upcoming visit:

Can you give me a brief introduction into the roles and responsibilities of the chief investment officer at Vista Capital Partners?

Dougal Williams:  My primary responsibility is to orchestrate and implement Vista’s investment and wealth management research. These decisions are made at the investment committee level, so a big part of my job is to effectively lead this investment team. I also try to be a resource for our firm’s lead advisors and portfolio managers, so they can better serve our clients. We have been fortunate to add a number of great, young people to our staff in recent years, so helping mentor them and positively impacting their professional development is important.  Finally, the passion we exude for our anti-Wall Street, evidence-based investment philosophy has caused a few of our industry peers to label us as “zealots.” If that’s true, then I consider myself Vista’s Chief Investment Zealot.

What would you say is your guiding principle in terms of making financial decisions?

DW:  My dad was a craftsman and he told me to always “measure twice, cut once.” To me, that’s a great basic reminder to always check or test my understanding before undertaking an action. When you’re in charge of someone’s life savings, you can’t be sloppy and make mistakes.

What advice would you give students planning to go into a career in wealth management?

DW: Go for it! Being an investment advisor is rewarding on many levels. First, there is the intellectual stimulation that comes from working in a profession where the playing field changes every day. We get to read, learn, and teach every day. We are also well compensated for the work we do, so it can be a great career that provides financial security and opportunity for a family. Most gratifying, however, are the intimate relationships we build with clients. Seeing our advice help clients through major events in their lives is incredibly rewarding.

What resources did you utilize at the University of Oregon that you would recommend students take advantage of?

DW: Honestly, I probably wasn’t as mature or career-focused as many of the students I’ll be talking to later this week. I was double majoring in economics and Spanish with a minor in sports marketing, and captaining the men’s varsity tennis team. I didn’t have a lot of time to explore many of the resources available to students then or today. My focus was on excelling in the classroom and improving on the tennis court, as I wanted to play professionally for a few years after graduation. My advice would be to find something you’re genuinely interested in and to dive in as deep as possible. You’ll learn a lot and meet interesting people in the process.

Can you give me a brief description of what students can expect to hear from you at Vista Capital Partners’ upcoming visit to campus?

DW:  I hope to share my journey from U of O to where I am today, and what I’ve learned that might be helpful to others. I’m also going to run a little real-time experiment, the results of which should help students better understand how financial markets work and how that underpins Vista’s investment philosophy.

Dougal Williams and Vista Capital Partners will be visiting the UO Financial Management Association on Wednesday May 11 at 6:00 p.m. in Lillis 232. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain insight into the financial planning industry!

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Lessons from the Oregon MBA: A Two Part Interview with Oregon Advanced Strategy Professor Dr. Michael Crooke

PART I: Interview with Dr. Michael Crooke, on sustainability, business, and the Oregon MBA. Conducted April 13, 2016 by Anna Raithel, Center for Sustainable Business Practices MBA, 2017.

 

How do YOU define sustainability?

 Sustainability is our ability to deliver the planet in its current state indefinitely into the future. We’re on a path to sustainability but we’re still moving backwards at an alarming rate. Sustainability to me is ultimately the Cradle To Cradle (Michael Braungart and William McDonough, 2002) type of a definition; that we’re consuming only what is grown. It’s like a sustainable forest – the board feet coming off are equal to the board feet being grown, and you can use it in perpetuity. I want people to think about how business has the power to turn things around. If business doesn’t get on board and start developing value chains that win in the competitive arena, then all is lost because that is where the power is. That is why it is so exciting to be talking about sustainability at a business school. Magnificent, off the chart changes happen when Wal-Mart changes packaging for two or three items, in regard to waste and CO2. Or the way Nike changes the way they knit a shoe, or the materials used like waterless dyes. The technology and these products are sustainably superior to what they replaced. That is what will turn things around.

 

How is sustainability integrated into business? What kind of value does it add?

At the University of Oregon we talk about sustainability as being embedded in the value chain of an organization. It’s not something you do “outside”, that after you do good you do well – it’s actually embedded. We feel that the differentiated companies of the 21st century, the ones that have a long term competitive advantage, they will have a rising tide of sustainability embedded in their value chain as part of their value proposition to the customer. Customers of today are becoming more and more sophisticated in terms of which brands they support and are loyal to. Every time the customer touches the brand it has to say the same things. Once you get that trust of the consumer you have a more valuable brand. The customers are willing to pay more and that creates a higher margin. It’s an interesting way to think about sustainability – that you do it because you want to have a competitive advantage, but you also believe in it, it’s part of your values.

 

What makes the Oregon MBA so special?

 We are using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. The people who come through our program are going out there and changing the world. They’re doing it one small step at a time but with impact. These are smart, hungry, and aggressive individuals. They’re on a career track, working in situations in which they are highly engaged. They want to be a part of the solution, and business is a big part of that solution. This is a very hands-on, experiential program. When our students step out the doors of University of Oregon they’re ready to go – engaged and contributing from day one.

I came here as a professor for the same reasons. After my business career I was teaching at Pepperdine University and I kept getting pulled back to University of Oregon, and now I can’t imagine being anywhere else. So it happens to the professors too.

 

What do you hope is your students’ main takeaway from their time with you?

 I hope they understand that I’ve made so many mistakes, and when they make mistakes they have to move forward based on their training and their gut. They have to move with their values and at the same time realize that if they don’t take any risks they’re not going to make any mistakes. You can pivot, and you don’t have to get that perfect job right out the gate. It’s going to be a curvy road and if you go with your heart, you have strong ethics and values, you can’t really go wrong. You try to align yourself with like-minded people, with mentors, with people that want to get you up the learning curve quickly. You just don’t know what you’re going to encounter on the journey.

Written by Anna Raithel

Anna is pursuing an MBA with a focus in Sustainable Business Practices, graduating 2017.

3 snapshots into the Center for Sustainable Business Practices MBA tour to San Francisco

At the end of March, the Oregon MBA offers our spring experiential learning business tour to San Francisco. During the week-long visit students are able to network with companies around the bay area and gain perspective on their industry from a diverse set of professionals. In this post three Center for Sustainable Business Practices students provide a brief glimpse into a few of their favorite visits. Big thanks to the contributing authors.

Green Sport Alliance

By Ben Fields:

While on our experiential learning trip to San Francisco the we had the opportunity to meet with Erik Distler, Senior Resource Specialist with the Green Sport Alliance. We gathered with Erik on a sunny day in Yerba Buena Gardens. He was keen to explore our unique backgrounds and interests related to sustainability, as well as share both his professional background and the personal journey that took him from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC0 to the nonprofit world.

Erik described how his time in sustainable consulting at PwC gave him the tools to communicate the business arguments for sustainable business practices. His ability to not only present a business case for sustainable practices, but also help PwC’s clients communicate their stories around sustainability, enabled Erik to become an invaluable asset. This storytelling ability is what opened his opportunity with the Green Sports Alliance where he now brings sustainability to the sporting world and beyond through partnerships with ESPN. Erik related how he has seen demand grow and discussed future opportunities as the field continues to develop.

After listening to our stories, Erik described how stories from his journey with sustainable business could help us understand the landscape from a professional view. He provided unique prospective and insight to help us understand how to leverage our experience in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices to find our place in this changing climate of sustainable business. Meeting with Erik allowed us time for introspection about the opportunities in front of us and provided inspiration about what the future may hold.

Facebook

By Max Fleisher:

On Wednesday morning, March 30th, we braved the impossibly traffic-free 101 to visit with the Sustainability team at Facebook HQ. Our host was Lyrica McTiernan, Sustainability Manager, who was joined by Louisa Smythe McGuirk, Sustainability Analyst. Lyrica has been at Facebook for over 5 years, and has witnessed what she described as a “journey of maturity of understanding of sustainability at Facebook”. Louisa is primarily focused on metrics, measuring how FB is progressing on its sustainability goals. Her first project involved calculating Facebook’s carbon footprint, the 5th time such an assessment had been completed. The primary goal in doing the carbon footprint is identifying the most actionable items for the largest impact. Facebook currently does not do specific reporting like GRI, and the general consensus is the time and energy required is not worthwhile. The scope of carbon reporting is expanding as Facebook moves into consumer technology with their acquisition of Oculus.

Facebook Campus

Facebook Campus

Lyrica and Louisa walked us through their large (and growing) department, highlighting both the breadth and depth of the team, with key focuses of data center design, energy efficiency, and water use. These foci make sense given the sustainability team’s placement within the infrastructure department. Facebook is building a number of new wholly owned data centers, and Lyrica is involved with the design of the facilities to incorporate new technologies like swamp cooling to reduce energy and water use intensity. There is an overall goal at Facebook to reach 50% clean and renewable energy by 2018. Lyrica emphasized that this is only an interim goal, meant to be achievable in a reasonable timeframe. We were left with the tenet: “Sustainability is future proofing.”

Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

By Joey Jaraczewski:

On Thursday March 31st, the Oregon MBA had the good fortune to meet with the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB). SASB seeks to be the sustainable complement to the 10-K annual report by creating the standards by which public entities can measure and report their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) efforts. Put another way, where FASB standardizes how companies report their financial accounting, SASB standardizes how companies identify and report their sustainability track record. These standards provide information that is decision-useful and complementary to financial accounting information. Put another way, SASB is making an awesome contribution to the stewardship of people, planet, and financial returns.

The CSBP came to SASB at an amazing time. The day before our visit, SASB had released the last of eleven sets of provisional standards to the public, marking the end of a four-year process of creating and tinkering. SASB was proud to show off their Materiality Map which reporters could use to identify what to report. This Materiality Map is important for streamlining standards into the market.

These standards are coming to a receptive marketplace, as there is a clear trend towards more comprehensive reporting of ESG from the public and private sectors. In Europe, the EU is mandating that their member states report on ESG metrics. Meanwhile, in the United States, investors clamor for greater transparency and accuracy of corporate sustainability reporting. There are certainly hurdles ahead of SASB, however, the information that standards are trying to capture is crucial for markets to gain greater long-term efficiency. Indeed, many stakeholders across the value chain are coming to realize the importance of a company’s relationship with the environment and employees.

CSBP visits San Fransisco

The Center for Sustainable Business Practices MBA

The release of the provisional standards also represents an area of opportunity for MBA students through SASB certification in the Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA). Achieving FSA Certification would be beneficial training for students that are considering careers in sustainability. Furthermore, holding certification creates a critical edge of expertise in a market clamoring to understand the role of ESG in investing.

Written by Natalie Colvin

Natalie is a 2016 MBA from the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. The experience of living abroad in Costa Rica, instilled in Natalie a passion for improving the world. After completing her MBA, she hopes to bring this passion to a career in corporate environmental and advocacy campaigns. Natalie received a dual undergraduate degree in development anthropology and Latin American studies from the University of Arizona honors college where she was also on the equestrian team.

University of Oregon CCFSA Profile – Anika Hedstrom

Anika Hedstrom is a Lundquist College of Business MBA alumna and current financial planner at Vista Capital Partners. Vista Capital Partners will be visiting the Lundquist College of Business in April and May to engage with students and give insight into starting a career in wealth management. Hedstrom brings extensive knowledge on the financial planning industry and provides a unique perspective as a Lundquist College alumna. I had the opportunity to ask Hedstrom a few questions in advance of her visit.

  1. Can you give me a brief overview of your role as a financial planner at Vista Capital Partners?

As the in-house expert on financial planning issues, I make recommendations to lead advisors, portfolio managers, and our diverse array of approximately 400 clients. I perform research and analysis, serve as the specialist for our financial planning tools, and write the wealth management section for Vista’s quarterly newsletter.

  1. What would you say is your guiding principle in terms of making financial decisions?

Above all, I strive to take an evidence-based, unemotional approach to financial decisions.  I am annoyingly thorough and methodical because I strongly believe in investing for the long term.

  1. What resources did you use at the UO or in the Lundquist College of Business that you would recommend current MBA students take advantage of?

I highly recommend the Engaging Asia study tour. The chance to learn first hand from prominent experts, combined with an incredible opportunity to travel internationally, is invaluable. I would also encourage MBA students to apply for the Technology Entrepreneurship Program Fellowship, which provides tremendous experience, exclusive exposure, and a great introduction for interdisciplinary teamwork.

  1. How have you seen the role of women in the financial planning industry evolve since you began your career?

The statistics are still somber—only 23 percent of professionals holding a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation are female, and this figure has remained stagnant for the past decade. Leaders such as Sally Krawcheck continue to traverse through these barriers, demonstrating the importance of seeing women not as a niche, but for what we are: educated and informed. More encouraging, is what studies and evidence show: women can be, and are, incredible financial planners.  At Vista, we are the exception. Five out of seven CFP’s are women.

Women bring a diversity of thought and perspective to clients and firms, help to foster more creativity, and enhance profitability. The more women are exposed to financial planning—which I believe is synonymous with making a difference in peoples lives—the more women will be driven to pursue the profession.

  1. Can you give me a brief description of what students can expect from Vista Capital Partner’s upcoming visits to campus?

Vista is committed to developing a long-term relationship with the Lundquist College of Business and the Cameron Center for Finance and Securities Analysis. We will provide students insight into a day in the life of our CEO and CIO, provide perspective on starting a career in wealth management, share personal experiences, and discuss current events/issues facing our industry. Perhaps more importantly, it is an opportunity for the audience to challenge our leaders by asking tough questions and ultimately controlling the direction of the discussion.

Be sure to connect with Vista Capital Partners representatives during their campus visits April 14 at 4:00 p.m. (location TBD) and May 11 at 6:00 p.m. to meet with the UO Financial Management Association in Lillis 232.

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Team TougHER takes on the Louisville Cardinal Challenge

The Louisville Cardinal Challenge is an annual business plan competition held in Louisville, Kentucky. Hosted by the University of Louisville, the Cardinal Challenge is one of the first events of the business plan competition season and offers students seeking to launch a business an opportunity to measure up to their counter parts from around the nation. The 2016 edition was sponsored by Brown Forman and offered thousands in prize money and services to the winner.

The competition had an opening round of four tracks with three teams within each track. The winner of each track moved on to the final round. Those teams who didn’t advance out of the first round competed in the 60-second quick pitch competition within the competition.Team TougHer at the Cardinal Challenge

The Team TougHER journey began in the opening round where we presented second out of three teams. Our presentation went well and we felt confident coming out of the Q&A session. Our opening round track included a team specializing in a new natural and organic chicken feed that fought diseases in chickens and a team who created a new solid-state rocket fuel source. Needless to say, we quite a challenge in front of us.

Later in the day, the competition hosted a luncheon with all the teams and announced the winners of each track. Unfortunately, Team TougHER didn’t successfully emerge from the opening round. The team pushing rocket fuel edged us out by the narrowest of margins.

Next up was probably the part I found to be most valuable. After lunch we were guided to our feedback session with the judges who evaluated both our presentation performance and the overall quality of our business plan. The judges provided critical feedback and assured us that we weren’t far off from a winning plan and pitch. Once through with the feedback session, our fearless leader, Stacey, put together a pitch for the 60-second quick pitch mini competition.

Stacey competing in the fast pitch for team TougHERFor the quick pitch competition, the moderator called up each of the eight selected speakers from each team and then randomly selected who would pitch. The presenters were allowed no more than 60 seconds which was then followed by two minutes of time for the judges to make notes and score the pitch. After a nerve-racking half hour, Stacey was selected to pitch last. Realizing that she was missing important details of our business in her original pitch, Stacey scrapped the pitch she prepped and free styled the pitch. Later than evening at the awards banquet, it was announced that Stacey had brought home the title for the quick pitch division along with $1,500 for the business.

As a native of Hawaii, I never thought I would find myself bundled up in 19-degree weather in the heart of Kentucky. I knew the Oregon MBA was going to challenge me in many ways but I never expected to be pitching in front of panels of entrepreneurial experts and other MBA’s and PHD students. It made me really value the multiple speech classes I took in high school.

This business plan competition offered me a chance to not only see what my counter parts across the nation are doing, but it also gave me a chance to see just how well I stack up to the competition. After this experience, I can confidently say that Oregon MBAs are just as competitive as any other out there. It was especially cool to see all the different innovations that others are working on and how they view the landscape of their respective industries.

Overall, this experience provided a ton of learning points and exposure to things that I never imagined. I now know more about solid-state rocket fuel than I ever thought I would. I am extremely grateful to be a part of this team and for the opportunities that the Oregon MBA has given me. Next for Team TougHER will be the New Venture Championship in Portland, April 7-9. We hope to see you there!

Written by Brawnson Adams

Brawnson is a 2016 MBA from the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. A native of Hawaii, Brawnson has an extensive background in retail and an undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business.

Catalyst

Snow was falling softly on the ground in the parking lot outside of the police station as my phone went off. I had just finished a meeting with Flagstaff PD regarding their strategy of “community policing” in the wake of a fallen officer. The meeting still on my mind, I answered a call from Paul Allen, UO’s Director of Admissions, which led to my acceptance into Oregon MBA. As I started my car and defrosted my windshield, I breathed a victorious sigh. I was going to business school.

Some might say that I had a wild roving youth, and one which doesn’t translate well to paper.

Singing for 'We Were There' in winter 2014

Singing for ‘We Were There’, winter 2014

Recognizing this shortcoming, I threw myself into creating the case for why I was a prime candidate to leave my current path and get on the Oregon trail. All of my community-college-attending, essay-editing, resume-tweaking, and GMAT re-taking efforts were steps toward rebranding myself and building that case. The funny part of the whole process? It’s what doesn’t translate well to paper that translates best to the program itself.

A large part of our discussions at Oregon are retrospective and reflective. Every day we are encouraged to synthesize our considerable learning in the light of our direct experience. After all, if you cannot find personal relevance with the material, you will not understand it properly. Different minds subjected to different training, interpret the same data differently (duh). The fun part of the program is collaborating with my peers to combine these interpretations and create additional value.

It is here that I find that my wide and varied skill set aids me most. My background in education allows me to facilitate group discussion for effective decision-making. My work as a tour manager aids me immensely in understanding accounting and finance, while experience as an event planner gives me the linear mindset required for project management. I draw from my time as a punk rock front man to be a commanding presenter, and my experience in the tattoo industry taught me that innovation is iteration. Buffalo Wild Wings taught me supply chain, while Criollo Latin Kitchen taught me supply chain integration. Hosting taught me capacity management, serving taught me how to segment markets, and bartending showed me that hustle is scarce and hunger is your greatest asset

Visiting Theo Chocolate with the OMBA, winter 2016

Visiting Theo Chocolate with the OMBA, winter 2016

Most importantly, however, was the time I spent as a crisis responder for victim’s rights. Becoming a crisis responder was one of my last projects before coming to the OMBA, inspired by last year’s civil unrest and a heightened consciousness of gender issues. Crisis response taught me that risk is ever present and many a well thought out deal goes bad. Crisis response causes me to remember that there is a much larger world outside of the Oregon MBA, one which is created at the community level, and one which demands conscious change agents.

If I could, I would go back to that parking lot and ask myself, “How does your experience color the way you process information? How do you leverage your insight into effective leadership? How do you find freedom in focus?” The answers to these questions are those which show a person’s true quality beyond their worth on paper. Yet, I know I would never have been able to answer them before coming here.

Written by Joey Jaraczewski

Jaraczewski joins the Oregon MBA with a passion for changing the food industry. He grew up in rural Arizona and has spent the past four years exploring the world of food from multiple angles. He’s worked as a server and bartender in Flagstaff and traveled across the country visiting farms, feedlots, food distribution warehouses, and retailers. As an Oregon MBA on the sustainability track, Jaraczewski plans to build on that experience to explore ways to build a more sustainable food system for generations to come. Jaraczewski will graduate as an Oregon MBA with the class of 2017.