Brandeis International Business School

Thomas Stretton, MBA’11: saving the earth, one business at a time

You didn’t start out wanting to enter the business world.

As a kid, I was a tinkerer who liked science and math. At Lehigh, I minored in philosophy and was involved in environmental causes on campus. I used to think of business as a greed-driven enterprise. It was for people who were passionate about nothing but making a lot of money.

What changed your mind?

After a few years as an environmental scientist at a commercial real estate firm, I decided I wanted more out of my professional life. I applied to the Brandeis International Business School Global Green program, an MBA concentration that focused on social responsibility and environmental issues. I honestly think the world is at a crossroads, and I wanted to be part of the force that moves it in a positive direction.

How did your time at the International Business School solidify your career plans?

Brandeis taught me about “the triple bottom line,” where companies can lessen their environmental impact, save money and even produce some social good. I was also inspired by many of the company and thought leaders who visited the International Business School to speak about environmental issues, such as Jeffrey Hollender, president of Seventh Generation, the natural home products company, and Rajendra Sisodia, a co-author of Firms of Endearment and one of the leading figures of the conscious capitalism movement.

I’d noticed a real shift in business thinking. It seemed as though more and more companies were adopting a values-driven model of doing business and trying to find that sweet spot where you can make a profit and better the environment. It told me that there were going to be more opportunities in this area.

What out-of-classroom activities were you involved in?

I spent a lot of time working on projects and events for student-run clubs. I was a founding member of the European Business Club, and I was on the leadership team of the Brandeis chapter of Net Impact, an international group of MBA and graduate students who advocate that businesses work for the social good. I was also a member of the Brandeis Consulting Club, which was working on a project dealing with renewable energy.

The clubs in general offer many great opportunities to get experience and pursue projects in areas that are not fully addressed in class. They help you make what you want out of our education.

Master of Business Administration
Class of 2011

Global Green Program

Independent Environmental Consultant, Partner Engineering & Science

Previous Experience
Project Manager, IVI (a CBRE company); Independent Environmental Consultant, SKA Consulting LP

Undergraduate Degree
BS in environmental science, Lehigh University

Home Country
United States