Shining bright at AMBS
I am pleased that we can begin an ongoing series of blog posts by graduates and students in the Collaborative MBA program. Missy Schrock’s post describes a positive outcome to one of her final projects in the program. This is a good place to start. — George
by Missy Kauffman Schrock
The highlight of 2017 was when we flipped the switch to “turn on” our 60 kilowatt solar installation at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. It was a project that began in theory as my Collaborative MBA capstone and became reality in the year following graduation. Here is what I learned in the process:
- I focused the project on the benefits of the triple bottom line (financial, environmental, social/spiritual) to engage all of our stakeholders – administration, board, faculty and students.
- It was easy to dream big on paper. My capstone presentation proposed a much larger project than we ended up installing – 150kW vs 60kW. I learned to temper my expectations as I worked with our installer, our neighbors, and the city council planning commission. No amount of research could have helped me to anticipate all of the obstacles we encountered during implementation.
- In looking back, I wish I had done more practical research for my capstone so that I could have anticipated some of the obstacles we encountered along the way.
- It helped to work with a CFO with an imagination! We wrote two grants with the hope of being able to cover the entire cost of the project, but when we only received one, our CFO – creative financial officer – suggested alternative financing from our endowment. We sold a donation of appreciated stock and determined that investing a portion of the gain in the solar array would produce a better return than investing it in our endowment.
- I relied on things I learned from every class in the Collaborative MBA and from my incredible cohort members to provide a foundation for getting from theory to reality. I needed skills in leadership, negotiation, critical thinking, marketing, accounting, management and conflict resolution to bring this project to life. It was absolutely essential for me to draw on those around me who had wisdom and competence in areas where I was still growing and to do so without apology.
- We are so happy with our project that we are hoping to raise enough funds in the next 9 months to install an additional 40kW array.
If you’d like to hear more about our project, drop me a note and I’d be happy to share. I am looking forward to hearing from other Collaborative MBA students in the coming months.
Missy Kauffman Schrock, MBA ’16, is Director of Advancement at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, IN.