A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Welcome back! This is part II of the Sustainable Business Battle article – if you haven’t read the first one yet, I’d suggest you do that. Or you don’t. It’s really up to you.
Quick recap: The SBB is a 3-week sustainability challenge aimed at students and it’s a lot of fun. This second part is about two pillars that make the SBB stand out – interdisciplinarity and real-life application.
Everyone always says how good it is to have interdisciplinary environments. Chances are though, that you often end up around people who study with you. Sure, you’re all individuals, but you also have a lot more in common than you realize.
The SBB allowed me to leave my Psychology-bubble, and work together with people from completely different studies. It was fascinating to see how people with different academic backgrounds approached the same situation. Sometimes, these unique perspectives were quite hard to merge into one coherent-battle plan, but that is exactly what let us grow as a team. And honestly, the results speak for themselves: All stakeholders were absolutely impressed with the ideas the different teams came up with, and some of them were instantly scheduled to be implemented!
When I first read about the “real-life cases” on the SBB’s website, I expected them to be “very realistic examples”. I was quite wrong about that. We were working with an actual company, that faced an actual sustainability issue right now. We even got to visit their headquarters to talk to multiple representatives and observe the issue first hand.
It was truly inspiring to interact with the companies, as we got a much deeper understanding of the issue we were working on. Also, it was a lot of fun to discuss our preliminary ideas with people from the company – I’m sure we avoided quite a few dead-ends that way.
But the best part is, that companies might actually implement your plan. Part of your pitch involves how beneficial your solution would be for the environment. As we’re talking about big companies, with even bigger capacities, a reduction in C02 emissions by let’s say 2% is really a lot, especially when you compare it to your own carbon footprint.
It is truly mind-boggling to imagine that that was actually the contribution of you and your teammates. That you did that. For real!
As you might guess, I wholeheartedly recommend the Sustainable Business Battle. You get to meet interesting people, learn about sustainability and business, and have a real impact on sustainable development within your partner company! It is the perfect opportunity to get that sweet consulting experience and have a first look into the business world. And even if you don’t win, in the end you can say: “I’ve got 99 problems but a pitch ain’t one!”
Don’t forget to sign up for the SBB 2020! https://www.sustainablebusinessbattle.nl/