I’m in the tourism industry in the Fiji Islands, where we have two island resorts that specialize in surfing and other water activities. I’ve witnessed firsthand the effects of global warming, with the erosion of sand levels making these islands more vulnerable and coastal villages being flooded for the first time in their recorded history. The effects of unsustainable tourism aren’t helping. Mangrove depletion, reef degradation, and endangered species are just some of the issues Fiji is contending with.
While my efforts in the past have been primarily business focused, the sustainability focus in Yale SOM’s EMBA program has given me a deeper understanding of these issues, and it’s opened my eyes to new solutions and approaches. My goal is to leverage these tools in Fiji.
I enjoyed the integrated curriculum, but I think in the second year, you really realize why you’re here. Classes such as Climate Change: Law Policy & Opportunity and Sustainable Systems have been directly applicable in my business. Being in the tourism business was especially challenging during the pandemic. Luckily our business is back in full swing despite supply chain and inflationary challenges. A lot of what I’ve learned at SOM has really set me up to deal with these issues. Gaining better expertise in financial modeling, for example, has been one of my goals for a while, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
My philosophy has always been to work hard and play hard. I’ve surfed professionally for years, and it’s been a great release for stress. I was surprised by the fact that a lot of the adrenaline in surfing I now find in academics. Some of the lectures at SOM are so engaging and the professors so knowledgeable that they challenge your mind the same way riding big waves challenges your body.
This program is for individuals who want more than a degree from an amazing institution. It’s for someone who’s eager to leverage experiences that can truly make a difference in their life and in the lives of the people around them.
Interviewed on October 18, 2022