Last fall, Mayur Mukati, a Master of Science in Sustainability Management (MScSM) student at the Institute for Management & Innovation (IMI), was selected to participate at the 7th Nudge Global Leadership Challenge in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Connecting more than 200 CEO’s, politicians, scientists and young future leaders in sustainability, the three-day leadership development program was designed to challenge current sustainability practices by fostering an openness to new ideas about climate change and world peace.
How were you challenged during the competition and how did you fare?
I was required to come up with a sustainability impact plan and I competed in a sustainable business case competition, as well as attended lectures and mentoring sessions, amongst other things. Most of the sessions were composed of five-to-nine people. The diversity of opinions, ideas, knowledge and experience in sustainability brought us a holistic perspective. I was chosen as one of the Nudge Top 10 Global Leaders finalists. My first team came second in the sustainable business strategy competition and my second team placed second in the Systemic Change session for our presentation on tackling the refugee crisis.
What are some valuable insights you've learned about yourself and others during this experience?
Anticipate change and get out of your comfort zone. For instance, we did a lot of team-building exercises during the entire event, and sometimes we had to present issues on stage with little preparation. But this is what the experience was about – how to get out of your comfort zone, and how to tackle global issues with people whom you have little knowledge about.
Also, creativity and passion creates followers: we competed in a business case competition with teams that had really creative ideas about recycling and fundraising for social impact. People needed to see passion and why we were interested in tackling these particular issues. Eventually, they followed because they felt what we intended them to feel.
Sustainability is not about telling people to stop harming the environment and society. It is about giving them better alternatives. I have seen people change their views after a rational argument on sustainability was presented to them. Don’t preach to people. Instead, show them how something is good for them and their communities, thus incentivizing their actions. Synergy among people to act is what the world is craving.
What is your most memorable time in Amsterdam?
At the end, all participants were asked to write down what they liked about the other participants in terms of their passion, knowledge, experience and energy. Surprisingly, I got eleven cards with acknowledgements for my passion, vision, attitude, knowledge and presentation skills. I was amazed, not by the words that I got to hear but, by the number of people I touched in some way. I hope my passion for sustainability has motivated them to create a positive impact in their organizations.
How has the MScSM program influenced or inspired you?
The MScSM program gave me the technical and managerial know-how that I needed. I have learned immensely about sustainability from the perspective of science and management, as well as economics, psychology and law. Systems Thinking is a core-focus of MScSM which makes it unique. It is hard to find an interdisciplinary program like this, and people are surprised that such a program even exists.
* Story by Sarah Jane Silva. Photos provided by Mayur Mukati for Institute for Management & Innovation.