ShannonWhen the Bard MBA launched three years ago, we had the luxury of scouring the globe for the best career person in the business to work with our students.

Luckily, the search led us to Shannon Houde. Shannon runs Walk of Life Consulting, an international career advisory business focused solely on the sustainability, social impact, international development and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fields. She also authors the “Dear Shannon” column in, providing timely insight on sustainability career issues.

Shannon developed a unique six-month workshop for our second-year MBA students, with monthly instruction accompanying our residencies, regular office hours, and 90 minutes of one-on-one advising for each student. The workshop series offers students a positive transition into their post graduation career at the intersection of business and making a difference. Students gain increased clarity, confidence and practical tools to produce tangible results in an impact career transition and job search.

This careers program is a uniquely designed and market-tested course covering three key stages – Aim Your Compass, Map Your Story, Step into the Market. Each of the three stages is critical to job readiness success in the impact sector and addresses individual needs. The program helps students create personal competitive advantages through designing and writing marketable resumes and personal branding tools.

The student response has been very enthusiastic. “Shannon was a huge help to me, pointing out how I wasn’t telling a consistent story to pitch myself and my resume”, says Libby Murphy, MS/MBA ’14. “ She helped weave all of my different jobs and experiences into one, clear path directed at what I wanted to do. The outcome was a concise “About Me” I was able to use on my LinkedIn and more. Hugely helpful.”

Rochelle March, MBA ’15 adds “Shannon keenly described the sustainability landscape, providing invaluable advice on how to get where I want to be. Her support has been extremely useful in helping me understand my place in the sustainability microcosm, and where and how I can best apply my skills and talents.”

Beyond the formal advising provided by Shannon, Bard’s MBA program takes advantage of our location in the heart of New York City to provide unparalleled networking opportunities in the sustainability space. Because all of our core business classes fully integrate sustainability, students are exposed to a constant flow of top sustainability practitioners as guest speakers. Our students work directly with business clients in our NYCLab. They also have a chance to interview their personal sustainability heroes and heroines in our Sustainable Business Friday series– and also see their interviews published in GreenBiz. Finally, high-level conferences and workshop opportunities covering all sustainable business happen daily in New York City, and our students often gain complementary or discounted access.

The MBA experience at Bard culminates in a nine-credit capstone in the second year, providing a final, focused avenue for career development. In the capstone, students pursue either an entrepreneurial vision, or else, further develop specific business competencies, and land internships. In their capstones, Bard MBA students have developed a smart-grid company, a women’s bike touring company, and a mobile home manufacturing business. Capstone internships this year include sustainability projects at, among other companies, Etsy, Dunkin’ Donuts, AccountAbility and Christie’s.

The Bard MBA is empowering students to change the world through their work. Shannon Houde provides expert guidance into that world, and the other dimensions of the MBA program specialize in opening doors.

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