Adam on the Equator

Adam graduated from the International MBA in 2009. 

When I applied to IE, my post-MBA goal was to be a financial wizard and work for a sovereign wealth fund. But my first weekend at IE I had the chance to attend the much-hyped Social Responsibility Forum. The hype was worth it. It changed my life and I took all the electives I could in this area.

But after graduating I found myself in Denmark working at Siemens Wind Power as a Supply Chain Business Development Specialist – translation: I was planning future manufacturing capacity.

Setting up a Solar Panel In Honduras for an Indigenous Mayan Cooperative

Though I was happy to be repenting for my pre-MBA oil industry sins via renewable energy, I didn’t feel any connection to the work I was doing. There was no heart in it and if I was doing something positive for the world, it was several layers and thousands of miles away from my desk in Brande, Denmark.

When I came up with the idea for The Happy Nomad Tour, I knew my MBA would be an asset. It didn’t feel that way at my first volunteering experience cleaning excrement out of dog cages at a dog shelter in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, nor in my second while feeding the incapacitated at a nursing home in Leon, Mexico. But my heart was into it.

Afterwards I helped a new Salvadoran NGO with strategy, worked with indigenous co-operatives, helped a budding indigenous eco-tourism group, did marketing for a Guatemalan non-profit used-bike to bike-machine organization, and spoke to numerous students about living a live outside the box.

And I am just getting started.

Thus, although The Happy Nomad Tour is a million miles away from what I thought I’d be doing post-MBA, it has in many ways served as a foundation for my current life.

In the future, I see myself using the strategy I designed for the NGO I volunteered with in El Salvador – setting up a financially sustainable NGO utilizing fair-trade local employment/production – to further a cause I am passionate about. But I don’t focus much on the future. I enjoy life minute by minute and see where it takes me.

You can’t plan having a content heart. You can only listen to it and see where it takes you.

We’ve never been so “advanced,” but we’ve never faced so many problems either. I still think business can be a force for good and an instrument for positive change. In all honesty, in my travels it has been hard to find such examples despite the endless supply of cases seeming to show the opposite.

I truly believe “business with a heart” is the future. It has to be if we’re going to fix the problems facing humanity. And my experience at IE definitely helped steer me down this different, exciting, and rewarding path.

Follow Adam’s blog at HappinessPlunge.com, on Twitter @HappinessPlunge or on Facebook.

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