Student Profile: Leadership Lessons
Eva Zlotnicka '11
Joint Degree Candidate with the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Co-leader, Business and the Environment Club
Before coming to Yale, I worked on the fixed-income trading floor at Morgan Stanley as a research strategist, and it gave me a lot of good exposure to the markets.
But I knew from the beginning that it wasn't really the end goal for me. I wanted to go back to school, but I wanted to make sure that I went with a purpose. It took me a few years to discover what the purpose was, which is the career in environmental management that I'm pursuing now.
I'm in the second of three years in a joint-degree program. I’ve done one year at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and now I’m in my first year at SOM. Since the joint degree program takes three years to complete, I have time for two internships. Last summer I worked at the EPA, and this year I'll be working at Genzyme through the Environmental Defense Fund's Climate Corps program, which this year will send 50 MBA students out to work with different organizations and help them with sustainability initiatives.
I'm one of the leaders of the Business and the Environment Club at SOM. One of the things we’ve been working on as first-years is the Fourth Annual Carbon Offsets Project, where we help students offset the emissions created in the International Experience trips. This year we added an educational component: teaching people what carbon offsets are, what their impact is, what the considerations are when purchasing offsets, as well as the behavioral things that people can change in their daily lives to limit their carbon footprint.
That project was an interesting leadership lesson. The second-years who had done it last year pretty much just threw us into the fire and said, "Run with it." I took on a coordinating role and that snowballed into really taking responsibility. I had to practice not just delegating but drawing in people and getting them to take ownership for pieces of the project.
We've had a number of business cases in the core curriculum that have some kind of social or environmental component to them. These are problems that all managers need to worry about, whether they’re environmental managers or traditional executives. So it's heartening to know that my peers are learning about it. Someday when I need to tap into my SOM network in different industries, I know that my classmates will have an understanding of these issues that aren't necessarily reflected in the bottom line.
Interviewed on April 5, 2010.