The American University: Study Program
Established in 1892, The American University is a student-centred research institution in Washington DC. It has an enviable reputation for creating meaningful change in the world. Alumni, faculty and staff have included two Pulitzer Prize winners, two Nobel Prize winners, one United States Senator, 25 United States Representatives, 18 Ambassadors of the United States and several foreign heads of state.
Our project with the American University had two parts. First, they asked us to research and create a series of one-week European study tours to enhance their MSc in Sustainability Management.
The second part of the brief was a 5-month study program involving students from multiple disciplines. The students’ contribution would be entirely hands-on, working in close collaboration with the best sustainability-focused organisations in Europe.
The American University
2018 – 2022
First, we needed to find a location for both projects. We chose Scandinavia because the area is a global leader in sustainability.
For the one-week study tour, we planned a diverse range of activities and visits, all relevant to the students’ coursework – energy, waste, the circular economy, farming, retail, urban development.
We organised everything – transport, accommodation, sightseeing, group dinners, company and facility visits, workshops, expert talks and networking events with local Scandanavian businesses.
We needed more than just a European-based logistics coordinator. We needed a skilled consultant with deep networks and the ability to source and develop meaningful academic experiences for our students.
Understanding the coordination between public and private is an extremely important part of this experience.
When it came to the study program, we managed the entire project – identifying six organisations to act as project partners, scheduling and running virtual meetings, interim and final presentations, project handovers.
You’re never going to be able to have another experience like this. It made me understand exactly what I’m looking for post-graduation.
For the American University, the Scandinavian program has burnished our sustainability brand. It has enhanced our standing as a leader in sustainability among American colleges and universities.
Both the tour and the study programs are ongoing projects with the American University. By taking students into the real world of sustainable business, their learning experience goes beyond the classroom.
By helping them overcome real-life business challenges, the students had a genuine impact on all six partner organisations. They helped redefine products and services, developed finance and funding strategies, identified strategic partners – and in the process, they became part of the organisations’ story and their work.
The organisations benefited from the perspective of people outside their industry boundaries – a new generation of experts not yet captured within professional boxes. The students and recipient companies reaped mutual rewards from the experience.
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