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China, India and Brazil have been the trendy destinations for MBA study trips – until now.
In December a group of students from Stanford Graduate School of Business made Antarctica their destination of choice. So novel was the idea that Stanford dean Garth Saloner decided to go too.
The aim of the trip was to investigate climate change and business issues around it, in an environment that is being affected more than most. David Shackelton, a distant relative of Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer, was one of the student organisers of the trip and brought together speakers from industry and policy as well as climate activists to talk on the subject.
What the trip brought home most forcibly to him was that climate change is often difficult to take seriously because it cannot be seen on a day-to-day basis. “It is still very intangible,” he says.
For Shackelton, one of the most compelling issues is that companies have to act. “A lot of these problems can be solved profitably. You can call it corporate social responsibility, but it also makes economic sense.”
The students and the dean were blown away by their visit. “There, you really are out in nature. There are no people. There is no litter. The path [you follow] has been made by penguins, not by people,” says Prof Saloner.