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Posts tagged ‘columbia university’

Sustainability Skill Building

March 5, 2012

Emily Briggs


Last month I shared my fondness for Net Impact’s report on Business Skills for a Changing World: An Assessment of What Global Companies Need from Business Schools. In it, Net Impact identifies some of the core skills needed by business school students to prepare them better for future employment in companies with strong sustainability agendas. If you haven’t read it already, go ahead and thank me later.

All of this talk about skill building got me thinking about a scene from a movie I watched a few years back called The Brothers Bloom. The scene features a quirky character who, inspired by those around her, puts her mind to collecting a vast array of nifty hobbies.

Confession: the break dancing bit makes me giggle every time haha.

In some ways, the scene is a great analogy for taking this year to pursue graduate studies. While I have my own ideas about what I ought to be learning, my journey is constantly guided by new insights that come to light, inspiring people I encounter and salient reports like the one from Net Impact. When combined, they represent the unique collection of experiences that are continuously informing the skills I build and ultimately who I am as a sustainability professional.

So without further ado, in no particular order, I present to you the top 10 skills that I’ll be working to add to my collection over the next few months. Stay tuned for posts detailing my adventures along the way or sign up for instant updates!

  • Life Cycle Analysis
  • Sustainability Science
  • Sustainability Indicators and Metrics
  • Green Accounting
  • Gravitas and Communications
  • Sustainability Across the Value Chain
  • Sustainability and Risk Management
  • Sustainability Reporting
  • Systems Thinking and Negotiating
  • Embedding Sustainability into Organizational Culture

Have you added any skills to your collection lately? If so, what where they and how did you go about acquiring them? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Seeing The Forest Through The Trees

February 20, 2012

Emily Briggs

Coffee and roses

Manhattan is a paradoxical place. In one of the world’s most densely populated, bustling places, finding a moment’s peace on a tranquil morning is simply blissful.

That is, until you have to go to school …

Columbia's Teachers CollegeThis weekend, my conflict resolution course met for a special weekend of mandatory workshops, which meant I had the rare experience of spending most of my time cooped up in lecture halls and conference rooms. It was both illuminating and exhausting. After long days of lectures, exercises, and reflections, I came home and curled up with my latest New Yorker feeling depleted and dreary.

Most days, I’m amazed at how fast this year is going by and how fortunate I am, but every once in awhile I yearn to be nestled back into the workforce, settled and smiling. But as the weekend came to a close and the weather flirted with Spring, the birds sang and the crickets chirped, I took a sip of my early morning coffee and remembered just how revitalizing tranquility can be.

In case you’ve leafed through all of your New Yorkers, here’s a little sustainability reading for the week ahead. Happy Monday!

Do you ever have trouble seeing the forest through the trees? How do you cope? Is there any reading I should add to this list?

Surviving Finals Season

December 15, 2011

Emily Briggs

Rockefeller Holidays

Let’s be clear. I no longer have the patience or tolerance to pull all-nighters, nor do I enjoy cramming. I certainly don’t find that any of these practices lead to effective learning, and perhaps most of all, they’re incredibly exhausting. But we all know that academic semesters are punctuated by extreme workflow fluctuations and as November came to an end, I couldn’t help but brace myself (everything is fine, fine, la dee da … then suddenly, it’s end-of-semester pandemonium!).

Having been off the school circuit for a while, I was really curious to see how the organizational and priority management skills that I got from my professional experiences would help me not only cope, but also maintain some semblance of balance throughout finals season. This became a little competition I had with myself: to see how well I could learn and perform while preserving a positive school-life balance. Read more


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