“It is impossible to ignore that global trends affect us all in significant ways.” Jasmine Surti, MBA Alumna
Jasmine Surti, Lehigh MBA Alumna ’12 and Nottingham MBA Martindale Fellow ’11, reflects on her experience with and passion for travel.
I’m a firm believer that gaining a variety of life experiences is essential for personal growth. When I was younger, my family was concerned, or at times even shocked, by my strong drive to seek out new experiences that would be different from my day-to-day surroundings. Whether it was venturing into nearby cities with friends, traveling to Mexico as part of a study abroad program, or going on an extended trip to India where I met my husband, I’ve always had a love for adventure and a desire to challenge myself to stretch my worldview.
So when the opportunity came up to travel to England as part of my MBA program, I eagerly applied, and was fortunate to be chosen for the trip. I soon found that the personal side of international travel was a lot harder for me than it had ever been before – I missed my children (ages 3 and 5) terribly, and it had been a long time since I’d had to navigate the challenges of traveling with a group. But the benefits of our trip made up for any difficulty.
One of the most eye-opening visits for me was the tour of the experimental homes at The University Nottingham’s Department of Architecture and Built Environment. The students were working to develop housing solutions that would comply with the mandate that all new construction must be Net-Zero (i.e .Carbon Neutral) by 2016. As we walked through some of the homes, I was struck by how small they seemed compared to homes I’ve seen in the US. And it was also clear that the technologies employed to make a home carbon neutral will necessarily vary from street to street, block to block, country to country. It makes sense – the whole point is bringing the built environment into harmony with the natural environment.
I really enjoyed meeting all of the business leaders and fellow MBA students that we visited. I think the essence of a globally-oriented business education is to examine some of these questions: How are we (and the challenges we face) different? How are we the same? And in that comparison, what are the things that matter most? In my current role I am primarily focused US-only business, but no matter whether you have a role that is internationally focused or not, it is always necessary to find common ground with our business partners (and even at times, with our competitors) and to discover what matters most. As in the case of building Net-Zero architecture, solutions differ from place to place and time to time, but what matters is that we keep looking for them.
I applaud Lehigh’s efforts to bring the global perspective more and more fully into the classroom. Increasingly, it is impossible to ignore that global trends affect us all in significant ways. Whether it’s global warming, a catastrophic oil spill, economic upheaval, or violence in the Middle East, we all must pay attention and recognize what’s at stake, not just for ourselves, but for the whole world.