Amit Pattnaik

Amit Pattnaik
Senior Business Development Officer
RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) University

1) Why did you choose Anaheim University?
Anaheim University was an obvious choice for me as they were the only one who were in the sweet spot of affordability, flexibility (being completely online) and most importantly offering a MBA in Sustainable Management. I didn’t want to do just another generic business degree as I already had a master’s degree in international business and was aware of the traditional business concepts. I was looking to learn more about how the social and environmental aspects work together with business and hence I chose the Green MBA from Anaheim University.

2) Can you tell us briefly about your career?
I have worked in the knowledge industry since 2010 and have been in various managerial positions in both for-profit and not-for-profit organisations. I currently work at informit – a business unit of the prestigious RMIT University in Melbourne, where I look after the digital library resources. These resources span from journals and databases to training assets used in teaching and learning throughout Australian universities, colleges, and government institutions. I have always been passionate about teaching and learning, and I believe that if we can change how we teach today, we can change how we will be treated tomorrow.

3) Why did you choose to earn a Green MBA?
I opted for a Green MBA because I believe that it is tomorrow’s MBA, which prepares you as a business professional for the next generation. While a traditional MBA degree provides you with a thorough understanding on business concepts like finance, accounting, marketing and management, it fails to touch on the real soul of business, which is to create value on three fronts of profit, people and the planet. This sustainable approach towards business is what attracted me towards the Green MBA, where all the traditional concepts were examined and debated from a social and environmental lens.

4) What do you like best about the program?
There are many things which I loved. Firstly, the content which was delivered mostly faultlessly through the Learning Management System (LMS). Secondly, the educators, most of whom had several years of experience in both the industry and in academia. Thirdly, my peers who were working professionals like me from all over the world. Finally, and perhaps the best feature for me - the flexibility which allowed me to complete my course while working full time.

5) What was your favorite course from the program?
I had a few that I enjoyed learning about, but my pick of the lot will have to be “BUS 535 Triple Bottom Line Accountability and Management”, with “Social Entrepreneurship Strategy” coming in a close second. The thing about Triple Bottom Line Accountability is that it talks about the balance of profit, people, and planet. We have long been taught that profit is good as it alone is the answer to improving all other issues in our communities and the environment. Therefore we should pursue it at all and any cost, and this is where understanding the correlation between the 3-Ps is so crucial for all future business leaders.

6) How is the experience studying online?
It was my first time doing a fully online course and I enjoyed the online studying experience. The learning management system was clean and very easy to understand and navigate with weekly tasks laid out at the start of every unit. It helped me immensely in juggling study and work by allowing me to study from anywhere and at any time.

7) How do you balance the time required to study while working full-time?
This was truly challenging, but then nothing substantial in life comes easy. Thinking about it in hindsight, I wouldn’t have had it any other way as the satisfaction that followed upon completion was unparalleled. One thing that helped immensely was that I had the best study partner in Stephen Mason, and we both shared the planning responsibilities. Stephen prepared a thorough study guide in the first couple of days of the course being live and we followed it throughout the length of the course. We knew exactly when a paper was due, when readings were due and when to setup team meetings for group assignments. This kept me organised through my entire MBA journey. I used to stipulate at least an hour every day after work to do some reading and research and did most of the heavy lifting of writing assignments and projects on weekends. One of the areas that was affected the most was my social interactions, but I can say now that it was all worth it in the end.

8) Do you feel you were part of a learning community?
Yes, very much so. I always made the effort to know my class mates from all around the world and had discussions on various concepts throughout the course. I also loved the online guest lectures (one of the highlights) conducted by reputed industry professionals and thought leaders.

9) What was the most unusual location you joined an online class or discussion forum from so far?
It was from an airport lounge in Singapore while I was on my way to attend our annual sales conference in Bangkok in January 2018. I remember finding a quiet corner in the lounge and using the airport Wi-Fi to login to our online class. I had to carry my laptop in my hand all the way to the boarding gate to maximize my participation. Although not ideal it sure was memorable. Apart from this, I have written assignments and attended online classes from hotel rooms after client meetings and while I was traveling in Europe in April 2018. My most beautiful location was overlooking the snow-covered mountains at the Hallstatt lake in Austria.

10) What would you say to someone who is hesitant about studying online?
Studying online is fun! It’s not always easy as there will be technical difficulties if you are not prepared but once you familiarise yourself, it can be fun. Most importantly it is great for working professionals as it provides the required flexibility.

11) Do you feel the Green MBA will help to develop your career?
I think it has already changed the way I think. From being more mindful in my purchasing and lifestyle choices to applying some of the concepts in formulating business plans and client education it has helped me add value to both my life and work. Until recently, I used to work with C-Suite decision makers in universities helping them make the transition from traditional paper-based learning to digital learning using blended learning and adaptive, AI-based learning. In my new role, where I now work with leaders within the library sector, I am working with our product team to develop a database on sustainability which will include journals and peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of sustainability particularly from an Australian context.

12) What is your career plan after completing Green MBA?
I am going to continue to stay hungry and stay foolish. I am already looking at doing a project management course which will help me deliver projects with the principles of sustainability and soon I am also planning on doing a PhD in implementing digital learning strategies from a sustainability perspective.

The most fascinating thing about sustainability (contrary to popular belief) is that the concepts can be applied in any field and are not limited to professionals working in the environment sector such as CSR, cleantech, or other environmental engineering roles. It is about doing business the right way, it’s about treating employees better, it’s about choosing better raw materials and delivery options, and most importantly, it’s about adding value to the society while causing the least amount of social pain and ecological destruction.

13) What advice would you offer to the Anaheim University incoming students?
I had my reservations about doing an online MBA, but after some research pre-enrolment and after completing the Green MBA, I can confidently say that it has the right mix of high quality and practical content, coupled with great educators and facilitators and a robust online learning management system to add value to your education. If you are keen on learning about sustainable management principles and if you already work in a social enterprise such as a cooperative or a not-for-profit, or in environmental projects, this is a great alternative to the traditional MBA.