MBA Students Explore Peru’s Focus on Sustainability

For Shelley Raymond, one of the biggest benefits of her trip to Peru became clear after she returned home. “It’s important to see how other people are addressing sustainability,” she said. “It helps us to see our own country through a different lens.” Shelley was one of seven MBA in Sustainability students from AUNE, joined by a student from AUNE-Santa Barbara, who took a ten-day study abroad trip to Peru this summer.

The group first visited Lima, the capital of Peru, to explore small businesses, multinational companies, and business partnerships. Then it was on to the southern Amazon rainforest, where they looked at sustainable business models, such as the brazil-nut processing industry, and met with local people to see how economic growth affects their communities.

Shelley, a 2012 graduate who now works for Essex County Greenbelt Association in Essex, Massachusetts, said the Amazon was her favorite part of the trip, because of the “amazing biodiversity of the rainforest and learning from local people.” One goal of Crooked Trails, the educational nonprofit company organizing the tour, is to bring tourism money into local communities. The travel group stayed in Posada Amazonas, an eco-lodge, with one wall open to the jungle, run by the community.

Shelley said she was impressed that Peru, as an emerging nation, can still focus on sustainability while dealing with basic human problems such as hunger. “They’re in a unique position—hey have a lot of resources but are still talking about corporate responsibility,” she said. “When our country was in that stage, we weren’t even talking about it. So they have an opportunity to build sustainability into their foundation.”

The group also traveled to Machu Picchu, the fifteenth-century Inca archeological site.

“I just love to travel and I think traveling with a school is an awesome way to see a country,” Shelley said. “It was also cool to go with some of my MBA cohort, just after graduation. We could get together and hear each other’s perspectives; it pushed me to think differently in many ways.”

The next international study trip planned by the MBA program is to Sweden, tentatively set for May 1 – May 9, 2013.

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