19 November 2019

A future in sustainable business

Linley Boniface

New Zealand’s practical approach to learning has given Jerry Geng and Alapan Roy Chowdhury the skills to work towards making the future of business more sustainable.

Huadong (Jerry) Geng always dreamed of starting his own company, but studying in New Zealand has opened his eyes to the importance of caring for the planet as well as profits.

“I didn’t used to think about sustainability at all,” says Jerry, from China. 

“But now I understand the relationship between business and sustainability. I know how important it is for companies to care for the environment.”

Jerry took a paper on sustainability and responsible management as part of his studies for a Master of Business Management (MBM) at the University of Waikato. 

He went on a field trip to Xtreme Zero Waste, a recycling organisation, and his professor introduced him to the waste management programme on campus.

The mix of theoretical learning and real-world experience has given Jerry a passion for sustainable business. 

To create a more sustainable world, businesses will need a new generation of inspirational leaders. 

New Zealand’s practical, hands-on approach to learning gives students the skills, knowledge and experience they need to help build businesses that make it a priority to use cleaner production methods, minimise waste and reduce their impact on the environment. 

For Jerry’s friend and classmate Alapan Roy Chowdhury, New Zealand’s focus on sustainability was a major reason to study here. 

“I’ve been interested in sustainability for a long time,” says Alapan, who lectured in English literature back home in India. 

“My grandparents inspired me to love nature, and my father’s uncle built an organic farm in the 1960s. Now New Zealand has given me the spark I needed to dedicate my future to environmental sustainability.”

He volunteers at Go Eco, an environmental centre that offers everything from a food rescue service to a depot for recycling electronic devices. 

Alapan also worked at Go Eco as an intern, as part of his degree. He helped Go Eco prepare recommendations on the regional council’s plan to improve the water quality of local rivers.

Alapan also had an internship helping to identify target market segments for sustainable livestock management products for a company planning to expand into South-East Asia.  

Alapan and Jerry say the New Zealand education system’s focus on critical thinking and learning in groups have been especially valuable in giving them relevant, real-world skills for their future careers. 

After he graduates, Alapan hopes to work as part of a sustainability team within a big company. 

In the long-term, his goal is to build a college based in an eco farm. “I want to combine my teaching skills with my deep passion for sustainability.'

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About the contributors
Linley Boniface

Linley Boniface is a contract writer for Education New Zealand. She is based in Wellington, her favourite city in New Zealand. A former journalist, Linley spent a year in Montreal, Canada, as a secondary school student.