Book Review: Sustainability Careers for MBAs

profession and purposeFrom finance to operations, there is a “dizzying landscape of options” for MBA careers in sustainability. Many MBA candidates who are entering the sustainability job market are on uncharted waters. Katie Kross provides clarity, tips and resources for navigating the diverse paths to sustainability careers for MBAs in the soon-to-be released second addition of her book, “Profession and Purpose: A Resource Guide for Careers in Sustainability.”

Kross states that the path for sustainability careers can take numerous off-campus routes, diverging from a largely on-campus career search for many traditional MBA careers. Her book is bursting at the seams with job hunting tactics and inspirations, providing structure to a potentially daunting task. It is written both for people just beginning their careers or those wishing to switch careers after earning an MBA.

Part I: Something for everyone

Despite a variety of potential career paths — from renewable energy to green marketing — Kross identifies specific themes that are helpful across the board. She gives numerous examples of specific sustainability job titles, helping job seekers gain insight into potential career options. In addition, she mentions additional training and certifications specific to sustainability, such as LEED Green Associate and GRI Reporting Certification, helping career-seekers hone in on an expertise.

Some of her advice was broad enough to apply to most job-seekers, such as tips on using social media channels and networks, and others were specific to green careers, including specific websites and networking opportunities. Every paragraph, however, had some emphasis on business and sustainability — setting it apart as a useful resource to job-seekers within this niche.

From job boards to informational interviews, the resource guide explores a variety of avenues for getting prepared and creating a career path, through both formal and informal approaches. Kross recommends throughout the book that career-seekers to do their homework by reading sustainability reports, relevant trade publications and blogs, and she says it’s always a good idea to speak with people to gain insights into the market.

I found the section, “organizing our search” in Part I to be especially helpful. It even provides a general timeline for MBA candidates on specific activities and intentions, with many suggestions specific to sustainability, such as making the most of a Net Impact membership or attending U.S. Green Building Council and Sustainable Brands events.

Parts II and III: Choosing a career path

Part II of the book focuses on specific career paths, including corporate sustainability, green building and environmental conservation, with sections on trends in the field, skills needed, sample employers and key resources. It profiles people that acquired jobs in each field, with information on how they found their current position and job search tips. Each section is a goldmine for current, specific information on each career path, with insights from industry leaders.

The final section of the book is filled with job search resources, again specific to sustainability careers. It’s also extremely thorough, with job posting websites, books, reports, and conferences. Even career seekers that have done a lot of previous research are likely to find some really valuable resources in this section, as it is up-to-date and very comprehensive.

“Profession and Purpose” is a must-have for MBA candidates wishing to enter sustainability careers and a very useful tool for anyone wishing to start a career in sustainability. Its 200 pages are densely packed with so much information that even the most aimless green business career-seekers will gain direction and insight for a new career path.

Image credit: “Profession and Purpose: A Resource Guide for Careers in Sustainability

Sarah Lozanova is a green copywriter and communications professional specializing in renewable energy and clean technology. She is a consultant for Sustainable Solutions Group and a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Mother Earth Living, Home Power, Earth911, and Green Builder. Her experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School and she resides in Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in Midcoast Maine.

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