San Francisco

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.

Showing Up Fit and Well

Kathryn Butera USF Graduation

When I graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2013 with a B.A. in International Studies, I had no idea what I would do with my degree. Everyone talks about the mid-life crisis, but no one ever talks about the the post-graduation crisis. I spent four years scheduling out every day with homework, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs, all while exploring everything that San Francisco had to offer. However, when it came time to go off and pursue a full-time career, I was unclear about my direction.

I decided to take advantage of my freedom and move to Panama City, Panama. I figured I would work any job I could find while exploring what I was actually passionate about. After about six months of living in Panama, I found myself working at a small financial consulting company as an executive assistant.

Panama%20City%20PanamaWhile we handled some of the biggest clients in the country, I didn’t have the skills I needed take the next step in my career and take on the projects that interested me. I discovered that I didn’t want to simply be present for my 9-5 schedule, but rather that I needed to be more emotionally invested in the work I was doing. Although I loved living abroad, I decided that it was time to leave Panama after about a year and a half, and I chose to seek a graduate program that would help push past the barriers I had previously experienced.

Fast forward to my acceptance to the Oregon MBA Program and orientation week. I was anxious and excited about meeting my cohort, starting classes, and acquiring all the skills I had lacked in my previous positions. While orientation week was exhausting, it was also one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in a group setting. I was particularly impressed by the improv group “On Your Feet”, whose presentation focused on how to be successful both in the program—and in life. One of the points most strongly emphasized was the concept of showing up “fit and well” and how that simple shift can change the outlook, mood, and outcome of a situation.

Since learning that lesson, I have been able to identify moments where I strategically changed my attitude so that I Lillis Business Complexcould show up ready to share positivity with my cohort. Now, as we approach midterms and stress levels rise, I try to remind myself to be grounded in the “fit and well” concept so that I can continue to get the most out of the program, while helping my classmates be successful as well.

Written by Kathryn Butera

Kathryn is originally from the Bay Area and is currently a first year MBA student in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship.

A Sierra Nevada love story: how a non-beer drinker fell in love with a brewery

Long story short, I am not a beer enthusiast. I can boast that I have the distinguished title of Beer Master from the Budweiser tour at Busch Gardens, but those days are long gone.

The Center for Sustainable Business Practices scheduled a visit to the Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico, California, on our trip home from San Francisco in early April. I was expecting a company video and a quick tour, ending with a beer tasting. Instead, we were taken on a thorough tour of the factory and grounds where we learned about the numerous sustainability initiatives Sierra Nevada has implemented. For example, the company has a rooftop solar array that aids their fuel cells in meeting the brewery’s energy needs.

We toured the grounds and visited the organic garden that supplies flowers for the site’s landscaping and provides fresh produce for the onsite restaurant. We even saw the beloved composter, Hot Rot, which helped Sierra Nevada divert 99.8% of its solid waste from the landfill in 2012.

The personalized tour ended with lunch at the onsite restaurant with Cheri Chastain, Sustainability Manager. Cheri discussed her work on the company’s most recent Sustainability report, the purchase of Hot Rot, and the benefits of working for a privately held company. Her job spans from feeding food scraps to the composter to imbedding sustainability into the new brewery location in Mills River, North Carolina.

Sierra Nevada is proof that growth and sustainability can go hand in hand. It was an inspiring visit and I am excited to have Cheri as a professional connection.

IMG_3410

Written by Kelly Kilker

Kelly is a second year UO MBA student in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices (Class of 2016). She is a running and yoga enthusiast looking to create and manage employee wellness programs. Kelly did her undergraduate work at Florida State University and is from Boca Raton, Florida.

From Cal Bear to Oregon Duck: Highlights from San Francisco

Earlier this month, the entire first-year MBA cohort had the opportunity to spend the first week of April in the San Francisco Bay Area visiting with top executives in a wide variety of companies.

In just four days, we met with Levi Strauss, Blackrock, Strava, Wells Fargo, the Federal Reserve, Farmland LP, Capital One, LinkedIn, Google, Women’s Startup Lab, Interwest Partners, Bay Area Impact Investing Initiative, RSF Social Finance, Clif Bar and Sierra Nevada Brewery! We also had a little time to explore downtown San Francisco, take pictures under the Golden Gate Bridge, and spend the evening playing in the Exploratorium.

Showing our Oregon pride under the Golden Gate Bridge

Showing our Oregon pride under the Golden Gate Bridge

While I was excited to get insight into the inner workings of some incredibly successful companies, I was also thrilled to be returning to the Bay Area for the first time in a few years. I did my undergrad at the University of California, Berkeley, and I was eager to show my new friends around all of my old favorite spots in the city.

Oregon Ducks take over the UC-Berkeley Campus (My alma mater)

Oregon Ducks take over the UC-Berkeley Campus (My alma mater)

 

It would be hard to pick my favorite experience from our week in the Bay, but I was able to narrow it down to a list of my top three:

  1. Clif Bar

Going in to the trip, Clif Bar was the company that I was most excited to visit, and the office tour did not disappoint. Between the rock-climbing wall in the employee gym, bike parts repurposed as door handles, an endless supply of snack bars, and a program that allows employees to volunteer for an unlimited number of paid hours, it would be hard not to want a job at Clif. Our group was lucky enough to meet with the CFO, who shared stories about what it was like to work for the company 15 years ago when the CEO turned down a $120 million offer and decided to keep Clif Bar private. As far as authentic companies go, Clif Bar is the real deal.

  1. RSF Social Finance

One of the primary benefits of the experiential learning trips is the opportunity to be exposed to an array of companies in many different industries. While I am not personally interested in a career in impact investing, I really enjoyed learning about RSF Social Finance. RSF is a nonprofit financial services organization dedicated to transforming the way the world works with money. The visit with RSF drew together the interests of all three centers (finance, entrepreneurship, and sustainability) in attendance, as we had the chance to talk about social responsibility, financial analysis, and innovation and entrepreneurship within the company.

  1. Net Impact Meet Up

My third and final highlight of the trip was our meet up at UC-Berkeley’s graduate chapter of Net Impact, a nonprofit organization of students and professionals dedicated to using business skills for social and environmental causes. On Tuesday night, students from our chapter at UO met with students from the chapter at UC-Berkeley. We compared professional interests, internship prospects, and our plans for the Net Impact conference in Seattle, Washington in November. Of course, we also told stories about our experiences in grad school and laughed over local brews. This highlight might be biased, but it was eye-opening to see my college campus through the eyes of my new friends.

Despite feeling slightly nostalgic for my college days in Berkeley (who isn’t nostalgic for their alma mater), my biggest takeaway from San Francisco was a renewed appreciation for the MBA program at the University of Oregon. The experiential learning trips are just one of the many benefits of the Oregon MBA, and I feel really lucky to have a cohort full of intelligent, passionate, collaborative and enthusiastic students with which I can share these trips. Until next time, San Francisco!

Written by Katie Clark

Katie is a second year MBA student in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. Over the summer, Katie worked for Happy Family Brands as the Corporate Social Responsibility Intern, where she managed multiple supply chain projects and provided employee education on topics in sustainability. She hopes to bring this experience and her MBA coursework to a strategic sustainability position in a mission-driven company in the outdoor product or natural foods industry.

The 2014 Warsaw Bay Area Adventure

The incredibly rich experiential learning opportunities provided by the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center (and the Oregon MBA) are unrivaled in the sports marketing space. Along with the rest of the first-year MBA class, I recently returned from a whirlwind week of information and education in the Bay Area. In six short days we met with both Oregon alumni and influential sports industry members at the San Francisco Giants, the Golden State Warriors, Visa, EA Sports, Google, and a number of other companies. Read on for some of the highlights of the 2014 Warsaw Bay Area trip.

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Written by Jeff Angus

Jeff is a 2015 MBA Candidate at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. He was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada and obtained a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Victoria (BC) in 2009.He frequently shares his thoughts on Twitter @anguscertified and is passionate about writing, storytelling, fitness, health, and everything and anything sports-related.

Alumni Host MBA’s at San Francisco’s Century Club

After a busy day of business meetings, we had the wonderful opportunity to spend the evening in great company with business leaders at the Century Club in San Francisco, hosted by Mark and Martha Greenough. The evening opened with drinks and appetizers providing ample opportunity to introduce ourselves to our hosts (and other guests) and begin learning more about their various business ventures. The variety of our guests gave us insight into small business management, financial advising, capital investment, entrepreneurial startups, and general business advice.

The evening continued to the dining room where our first course and main course were served over more intimate conversations between the students and our business guests. Topics of conversation ranged from football allegiances to work-life balance and entrepreneurial advice, to name a few. We students were then offered the opportunity to introduce the guests at the table to the entire group, giving everyone a chance to see the great talent, success, and achievements made by those in our company.

As we made our way upstairs for drinks and dessert, Mark Greenough prepared a networking activity to offer additional time for small groups to ask questions and glean as much as we could from our guests before the evening drew to a close. In small groups, we spoke with 2-3 guests about their great achievements, biggest challenges, and highest aspirations. The intimate setting provided for a honest discussion of the highs and lows of business, focusing on how the journey is the exciting part, not the destination.

To say the least, the evening was motivational as we had the honor to hear about real world business success from the mouths of those who achieved it. The variety of personalities and careers afforded us a myriad of examples of what success really looked like and how it could be achieved. As young men and women at the beginning of our career adventures, this dinner provided us a unique look at the paths taken of those who were once in our shoes. The Oregon MBA is grateful for the following guests, especially Mark and Martha for offering us their time, energy, and wisdom:

  • Mark Greenough (Greenough Consulting Group)
  • Martha Greenough (Independent Bookkeeper)
  • Joshua Greenough (Capital One Innovation Center)
  • Brian Connolly (Connolly Advisors)
  • Ben Keighran (Chomp)
  • Lauryn Agnew (Seal Cove Financial)
  • Geoff Dolan (Makani Power)
  • Claire Herminjard (Mindful Meats)
  • Robert Simon (IDC Ventures)
  • Ken Pearlman (Oceanshore Ventures)
  • Eli Janin (Capital One Innovation Center)
  • Bob Komin (TicketFly)

 

Written by Andrew White

Andrew is an MBA Candidate in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. A native of Massachusetts, he came to UO to refine his business skills and build his expertise in the sustainability arena. His primary interest is in helping organizations implement environmentally and socially sustainable strategies for long-term success, and he is a regular participant on many of the MBA intramural sports teams.

San Francisco: Day 2

Warsaw students Aaron Klein, Perry Hammond, and Elizabeth Brock pose behind home plate at AT&T Park

Editor’s Note: This post is the second in a series of entries chronicling a recent study tour by first-year MBA’s from the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, who spent the first week of spring term visiting the offices of nine major sports properties in San Francisco. The San Francisco study tour is an annual Warsaw Center trip that exposes students to a variety of sports agencies, teams, corporations and product companies in the Bay Area, providing excellent opportunities for experiential learning and networking.

Following an action-packed first day in San Francisco, we were allowed to sleep in just a bit as we prepared for another event-filled day in the Bay. After meeting in the hotel lobby at 10:15, we headed over to nearby AT&T Park, home of the reigning World Champion San Francisco Giants. We arrived a few minutes before our meeting was set to start, which gave us time to pose for photos with the Willie Mays statue in front of the beautiful waterfront ballpark.

At 11 o’clock, we were greeted by a Giants representative, who led us inside the park and into one of the press rooms, where we were greeted by Tom McDonald, Executive Vice President for Consumer Marketing, and Jeff Tucker, Vice President of Sales, both University of Oregon alumni. Tucker began with a presentation on the Giants’ dynamic ticket pricing strategy. Back in 2009, the Giants teamed up with start-up software company Qcue to test out a pilot program of 2,000 seats in the View Reserved and Bleacher seats. Given the success of the test run, they went on to dynamically price the entire venue for the 2010 season. The Giants turned out to be trailblazers in this respect, as many other professional teams across various sports have moved to this model since then.

Warsaw students mingling in the lobby at EA Sports in Redwood City

After Tucker’s presentation, we heard from McDonald, who talked to us about the Giants brand marketing campaigns, using the similarly themed slogans from the past few years, “Together We’re Giant”, “Together Again,” and “Together We’re Champions”. He discussed the concept of the club not only as a baseball team, but as an entertainment company, and explained how they have been able to leverage their two World Series wins by taking the trophies on nationwide tours. He highlighted their commitment to customer service and how everyone in the organization views the club as a “community trust”, to ensure that they serve the best interests of the entire community. To wrap things up, he showed us commercials from this season’s marketing campaign, which uses players to communicate the club’s strategies.

We climbed back into the vans for a drive down Highway 101 to Redwood City, home of video game giants EA Sports. We were welcomed by the President of the company, Peter Moore, and a trio of Warsaw Alums in Dave Rosen, Director of eCommerce Partner Marketing for EA, Tabitha Hayes, Director of Online Marketing for EA, and Tyler Vaught, Product Marketing Manager at Sony. The main topic of discussion circled around the changing platform of video games, as they move from chips to digital and focus more on in-game add-ons to enhance the digital experience. They provided several examples of this within their own games, including the “Origin” platform, which is the new name of their online store, and the popular player trading cards in FIFA 2013, which allows video gamers to build a dream team of soccer players from around the world.

We then headed further south to the HP Pavilion to meet with Malcolm Bordelon, the Vice President of Business Operations for the San Jose Sharks, who gave us a well-rounded view of the club’s front office operations and touched on a current public relations issue within the organization. That very morning, the team had traded for Raffi Torres, widely known around the league for his tough guy reputation and previously despised by Sharks fans for having injured a couple of the team’s players. It was an intriguing real-time opportunity for us to see how a professional organization deals with such matters. Following our discussion, Bordelon presented us with San Jose Sharks hats, key chains, and “Sharks Territory” placards. We then moved from the offices to the stands to watch the Sharks take down the Minnesota Wild, 4-2, in an exciting game. Worn out from the long day, we loaded up the vehicles once again and headed back to San Francisco for a quick night’s rest as we prepared for another day of visits on Thursday.

Action from HP Pavilion, where the Warsaw students witnessed the San Jose Sharks take down the Minnesota Wild, 4-2.

Written by Perry Hammond

Perry is a first-year (2014) MBA student in the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.

Landing a Job in San Francisco

I wanted a job, really bad. Years of studying had to pay off. So I got some advice from career services, packed my bags, and hopped on a plane to San Francisco. With 4 informational interviews scheduled, I intended to make the most of my trip.

For two days I met with four firms while eating lunch, and drinking coffee, lots of coffee. I met with recruiters and staff from each firm and enjoyed viewing each of their offices. After both days I flew back home with the hope that my visit would secure me an interview. Little did I know that in a few weeks I would return to the Bay Area for a second round interview, and the chance for a full time offer.

After securing a few first round interviews, I received a second round interview opportunity from Frank Rimerman. They invited me to their Palo Alto office where I would have multiple interviews with staff, partners, and recruiters. The experience was incredible, from meeting with staff to talking about a partner’s career, I started to see why I had heard so many good things about Frank Rimerman. The following week, I returned home and a little later I received an offer. It didn’t take me long to accept as I fell in love with the bay area, Frank Rimerman, and the people that work there.

This spring as I graduate, I’ll have one attitude: San Francisco here I come.

 

Trevor Haynes
Masters of Accounting Student, 2013

 

Written by trevorh@uoregon.edu

A young entrepreneur from the age of 12 I was born in a small but lively neighborhood in a city called Gresham. At a very early age I was fascinated in almost every facet of life, including but not limited to particle physics, business, and the art of surfing stock market waves among others. Now I reside in a liberal town called Eugene where I seek to help those who are less fortunate in the realms of knowledge, wisdom, and domination. In short, I help everyone. If you need help, contact me at: 503-I NEED TREVOR