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Current Student Profile: Doug Beyers, MBA '16
Current Student Profile: Doug Beyers, MBA '16

In a recent interview with the Future Forward MBA blog, current student Doug Beyers spoke about his PSU experience and Graduate Assistant work with Community Environmental Services and the Port of Portland.

Q: Thanks for taking the time to meet with me today, Doug. To start off our conversation, can you tell me more about your educational and professional background?

A: My background is in archaeology, actually. I got my degree in anthropology at Washington State University, and prior to PSU, I was working as an archaeologist in cultural resource and heritage management. It was actually that work that inspired me to pursue business.

Q: That’s an interesting and, I would guess, not particularly common source of motivation to attend business school. Can you tell me more about that?

A: Sure. Up in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia there are dozens, if not hundreds, of archaeological sites – really sacred places – that are effectively being washed away a little more every year as sea levels rise. I spent two years working with a team out of WSU to help mitigate those erosional forces on one such site, and if I had stayed in archaeology, I’d be doing my PhD right now at WSU to monitor and begin the work of protecting other sites like that one.

The reason I’m here instead is because the real problem that needs solving is obviously the sea level rise itself, and climate change. I think those problems will only be solved if we can change the way we do business, which ultimately drives the way we consume as a society. I’m here to learn the skills that I’ll need to start having that impact, and do what I can to help.

Q: What drew you to PSU, in particular?

A: Everything about the program. When I decided I wanted to go to business school, I went onto Google and typed “MBA” and “sustainability.” PSU was the first school to come up. It was the school that integrated those sustainability issues in a world-class way, with a focus on global leadership and innovation. It was a natural fit for me, and no other school came close.

Q: You recently started a Graduate Assistantship with Community Environmental Services (a PSU-based environmental consultancy) and the Port of Portland. Can you tell me more about that?

A: Yeah. I am now the Project Lead for the Waste Minimization team at the Port of Portland, contracted through PSU’s Community Environmental Services (CES). CES’s really big strength is in its waste assessment and minimization experience. We do waste sorts and waste management consulting for a lot of companies around Portland, and the Port is one of our longest running partners.

It started out there with one person in 2003, and now the program has grown to five people total, including four GRA positions for PSU graduate students, and one part-time, hourly position for a PSU undergrad. We’re making big strides, and helping the Port of Portland be a true leader in its sustainability efforts. Programs that PSU students have initiated and developed are being adopted by airports across the country who are trying to improve their ecological footprint. It’s a great team, and a very cool thing to be a part of.

Q: That sounds perfectly aligned with your interests. As far as the program, what has been your favorite part thus far?

A: I really like everything about the program, so far. The thing that comes most to mind is the level of support I’ve got from the faculty and staff. I’ve been afforded some really excellent opportunities, and I feel I’ve been really well supported by the program to take full advantage of them.

Q: Great. What has been the most challenging part of the program for you?

A: My biggest challenge has definitely been finding the work-life balance. It’s very easy to let yourself be stressed out. Stay up till 2 AM, get up at 6 AM, and not leave enough time to really enjoy all the non-school and work things that make it all worth doing. It was definitely harder early on — I was new to the program, new to the city, new to business, really. It’s a lot to dial in.

Q: Where do you see yourself after finishing your MBA?

A: Immediately after the program, I intend to stay in sustainability-focused consulting. Ultimately my goal is to build a company that’s focused on innovation in sustainable technology and design, to put my education to work disseminating better ways of doing business and consuming into the world.

Q: I know you moved to Portland for the program. What are your thoughts on the city so far?

A: It’s fun. I really like the food. I really like how easy the transport system is to use. People seem a little weirder than I’m used to. Portland is very weird, for sure. I like it.

Q: Between your GA work and school, you sound very, very busy. What do you like to do in your rare moments of free time?

A: I’m still kind of checking out the local scene, learning the lay of the land. I’m enjoying all of the hiking opportunities. I like to read a lot of books. In the spring and summer, I’m really into outrigger paddling. It’s the national sport of Hawaii — six people in a canoe, alternating sides. We do 10-mile races on the Columbia, which turn into a full day event. It’s quite the production, and a great community of people.

 

Thanks for meeting with me today, Doug. Good luck with your term and I’m sure I’ll see you around the Port. You can connect with Doug on LinkedIn.

 

Read about CES and its partnership with the Port of Portland.

Click here to read more posts about Portland State MBA students.

Click here for info about the Portland State MBA program.