Earlier this semester, I had the opportunity to attend the Second Annual ClimateCAP Conference, a global MBA summit focusing on the intersection of how our changing climate is impacting businesses across the spectrum. This year, the ClimateCAP Conference was hosted at UVA and welcomed a dozens of students, speakers, and professionals to learn more about how businesses are adapting and responding to environmental changes.
So how did I, a third-year undergrad student, get the chance to take part in an exclusively MBA conference? Well, it’s because of a class I’m currently taking: “Corporate Sustainability and Resiliency” with Professor Kerrie Carfagno. After mentioning the upcoming conference in class, Professor Carfagno discussed the possibility of getting a few students from our class access to the MBA event through her network. And, thanks to Professor Carfagno, I was lucky enough to receive the opportunity to attend the conference.
The conference itself was an incredible opportunity and helped contextualize all of the information I had learned in Professor Carfagno’s class by seeing real-world, current business situations, ranging from how UPS is adapting what type of vehicles they use to reduce their carbon footprint to hearing about the trend of investment management firms shifting towards ESG (environmental, social, and governance) focused funds. By hearing from senior management and experts in different industries, I understand that the business landscape going forward will require thoughtful planning and recognition of the rapid environmental changes that are ongoing.
Beyond the actual content of the conference, I think this opportunity made me realize two things about McIntire that make it so special.
First, McIntire professors are willing and able to help students in a variety of ways (in this case, gaining access to an MBA-only conference). At the conference, there were several other McIntire students who had been granted access to the event by other McIntire professors, demonstrating the ingrained sense of giving that is common among McIntire faculty. Even beyond this one event, professors have acted as references for students seeking internships and offered crucial advice.
Second, McIntire offers courses that are at the forefront of the current business world. ESG investing, and the overall push towards more sustainable business practices, is still a somewhat new idea. Yet, McIntire already has a robust class focused on corporate sustainability and resiliency, taught by Professor Carfagno, as well as other courses, study-abroad trips, and speaker series concerning the topic. I appreciate the opportunity to explore the impact of climate change from a financial, business lens.