When you think about the traditional career path of an MBA graduate what comes to mind for many is a high-level position in a bank or consulting firm. However, in recent years there has been an active shift away from these traditional careers and into fields like technology and entrepreneurship.
One area that is gaining particular attention is the public sector. From NGOs and foundations to international organizations and think tanks, the public sector is becoming increasingly popular with graduates who have become interested in using their MBA expertise and skills towards social causes and progress.
Three recent graduates, Anne Reine Lapeyre (2011), Emily Groffman (2014) and Robert Johnson (2011) have all responded to the calling and are located in Haiti and beyond working on issues ranging from social enterprise development to global health.
Below, we ask each of them a series of questions about what they are doing now and how they see their post-MBA careers in the public sector.
Anne Reine Lapeyre and Robert Johnson pose with former U.S. President Bill Clinton
Anne Reine Lapeyre (2011) – Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership
Can you talk to us about the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership and your current role?
President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2002 with the mission to strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence. The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (“CGEP” previously known as the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative) was established by President Clinton and the Canadian philanthropist Frank Giustra in 2007. It is one of 11 initiatives of the Clinton Foundation and develops social enterprises in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa.
On the 1st of October, under the framework of COP21, which is the sign of the institutional support from the French government, HEC Paris organized conferences, startup fairs, and workshops, in order to build and discuss business solutions to climate change.
The aim of the conference was to address various questions such as ‘How is climate change radically redefining business models and practices?’, ‘How can companies drive an ambitious and fast enough transition towards a low carbon or carbon neutral economy?’ and ‘How is the HEC Paris community committed to drive this cultural change?’
Throughout the day, students were able to take part in the numerous interactive workshops and panels that discussed topics such as Energy Transition, Green Finance and Carbon Pricing. These activities were planned and executed by a large team of MBA volunteers that were led by the Net Impact Team. The team invited companies such as Glowee, Treez and Ecoxia for a ‘start ups corner’, and a pitch event was also organized with a jury of alumni, who brainstormed sessions with MBA to solve specific start up business challenges. For Cécile Villette, the president of the Net Impact Club, the addition of start ups was a very useful part of the program: “Several participants and alumni told us that the start up forum gave a very good vibe to the event by showing very tangible solutions to fight climate change.”
The day ended with key note speeches from Jeremy Rifkin, author of ‘The Zero Marginal Cost Society’, as well as various HEC alumni such as Emmanuel Faber (CEO Danone) and Tristan Lecomte (Founder of Alter Eco and Pur Projet).
In all, the event was a big success because as Timo Marquez (MBA Class of 2016) put it, “It involved students from different programs and HEC alumni in the same place, which is something that doesn’t happen too often.”
Listen to what some other MBA students have to say about their experience on Soundcloud: