Published: Aug. 28, 2019

CESR-students-at-tableWhat is a Pathway?
A pathway is a recommended plan for MBA students to help them develop the right skills, knowledge and connections to be ready for a career in a specific industry. The Leeds School of Business is currently offering three pathways created in partnership with the Centers of Excellence: Natural and Organic, Real Estate and High-Growth Ventures.. Each pathway includes coursework and co-curricular activities designed to complement the Leeds MBA degree. 

The Natural and Organic MBA Pathway
The Natural and Organic (N&O) Pathway, created in partnership with the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility (CESR), is designed both for students who already know they want to work in the industry and those who are passionate about sustainability, but aren’t sure how to turn that mission into a career. Natural and organic is the fastest growing segment of the food industry and offers strong earnings potential.

“We curated the workshops, events and competitions in the N&O Pathway to help students develop networks and skills to build professional success,” says Julie Waggoner, the associate director of CESR. “Students have been asking for more support in finding a mission-driven career. In response, Leeds met with industry leaders to gauge what they look for when they hire, and we have incorporated those elements into the pathway.”

MBA students who participate in this pathway engage with faculty and industry leaders to build the specialized skillset needed to accelerate their careers. To further customize their experience, students are encouraged to engage in N&O related networking events, career treks, student clubs and case competitions. First up is the Natural & Organic Boot Camp, led by Heather Kennedy, a Leeds faculty member with extensive experience in N&O.

“The Natural & Organic Boot Camp gives MBA students an overview of a dynamic and growing industry that’s making meaningful and positive change in the world,” Kennedy says. “We’ll talk about the history of natural & organic, the current state of the business, trends, industry lingo and more. Students will hear from local CEOs as well as recent Leeds MBA graduates who are working in the field, which will highlight the variety of jobs available. This boot camp is perfect for anyone that wants a broader understanding of natural & organic. (Spoiler Alert: natural & organic includes more than food!)”

Check out the calendar of upcoming events and a list of recommended courses below.

MBA Natural & Organic Pathway Co-Curricular Activities:

  • Natural & Organic Boot Camp | Sept. 28th | Register
  • Farm-to-Market Career Trek to Fort Collins | Oct. 18th | Register
  • Natural & Organic Case Competition, sponsored by Naturally Boulder
  • MBArk2Boulder | Jan. 2-4th | Register
  • Quality Standards & Food Safety Best Practices Workshop | Feb. 8th
  • Expo West Career Trek to Anaheim | March 4-7th
  • Networking Naturally | April 6th

N&O courses:

  • Foundation Courses: Sustainable Venturing, Socially Responsible Enterprise, and Entrepreneurship
  • Supply Chain: Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Contracting, and Transportation and Logistics
  • Business Analytics: Customer Analytics, Digital Marketing, and Marketing Strategy

Jump-start your career
“For MBA students with a passion for sustainability, this means they will gain the knowledge, experience and skillset to work in an industry that continues to enjoy double digit growth,” says Mark Meaney, the executive director of CESR. 

For students exploring career options in sustainability, the N&O Pathway helps differentiate them  from other jobseekers. Not only do they expand their knowledge of the industry, but they also develop a strong professional network. 

Support from the industry
The natural products industry has demonstrated excitement and support for this pathway as well. Leeds has long-standing relationships with many organizations and businesses in this sector, all of whom are excited for this pathway to develop our students into more experienced and specialized job candidates. 

Naturally Boulder has played a crucial role in supporting CESR and the development of this pathway. They co-hosted last spring’s Networking Naturally as a part of their monthly networking series, and they generously sponsored the first annual Natural and Organic Case Competition. Through CESR’s silver sponsorship of Naturally Boulder, a number of free student memberships are available. Email sara.neuner@colorado.edu for details.

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