Brian Gillard, One Planet MBA graduate

A Career Changing Experience

We talked to Brian Gillard (One Planet MBA, 2015) about his time at Exeter and how studying the MBA has enabled him to follow his passions and completely change his career.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

The University of Exeter was my first choice in European MBA programs due to the innovative and holistic foundation of the One Planet MBA.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

The diversity of Exeter’s student population was a constant enrichment to academic and social engagements. In living and studying with people of various ages and cultural backgrounds, I learned valuable lessons for my current career.

What did you do before undertaking your MBA, and what are you doing now?

In typical American fashion, I started working young. Afterschool and summer jobs taught me time management, and working to put myself through undergraduate studies was a constant juxtaposition of the theoretical and the practical. From 12 to 22 years old I was a dishwasher, a busboy, a waiter, an entertainment booker, a cook and an afterschool tutor. 

Before starting my studies at Exeter I had been working in the public sector as a teacher of English as a foreign language. It was a pleasure for me to see the development of my students and to contribute to their increased connectivity through the English language.

While this work was satisfying, I felt that I still had more to offer. My interests in social, environmental and economic justice were just interests, with little practical outlet in my daily life. For these reasons, I jumped at the opportunity to expand my capabilities for positive impact through the One Planet MBA program.

Since finishing my studies I have been able to intern for 2 large multinational corporations in sustainability strategy. Recently, I became a permanent member of the Deutsche Börse Group’s corporate responsibility team.         

What do you enjoy most about your work?

At last, I feel that I have found a career that is important, challenging and engaging. I am currently working on expanding sustainability transparency, engaging with stakeholders, and examining pathways for responsible growth.

How has your MBA helped in your career?

University of Exeter’s One Planet MBA provided me with all requisite knowledge and skills to excel in helping businesses to address social and environmental challenges. I plan to stay in this field for as long as there are still global problems to address and business solutions to be found.

What is your advice to current students wishing to pursue your career?

My advice to everyone concerned about climate change and global social injustice, and to those who see business as a legitimate lever for making the needed changes, is to equip yourselves with the knowledge necessary to have the greatest positive impact. The world needs your support!

Date: 26 October 2015

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