Huy Tran MBA 19
Blog

Studying the Impacts of Climate Change on Business—in Germany
A new summer program between UC Davis and Universität Hamburg immerses business students in science and policy

Climate change is a pressing issue globally as mean temperatures are rising at a rate faster than at any point in history and mitigation and adaptation efforts are needed worldwide. This responsibility, along with new government policies, will drive changes in how businesses operate.

To get a first-hand look at the impact and research into climate change, I joined a new summer school program born from a partnership between the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and the Universität Hamburg.

Huy Tran MBA 19

The knowledge and experience from my time in Hamburg will help inform future decisions I make in my career.

CLIMATE LESSONS FROM EUROPE

I took a month off work, put my life on hold, left California (and a summer of record wildfires burning across the state) and moved to a country that’s 5,000 miles away—all so I could learn about climate change.

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

It was the inaugural year of the month-long summer program, which also offers a track in healthcare economics. The partnership was created by UC Davis Associate Professor Ashwin Aravindakshan and Universität Hamburg Professor Kay Peters, who is a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Management. In addition to my science and engineering background, I brought a strong interest in the effects of environmental policies and climate change on businesses.

I would do it again in a heartbeat and encourage any business student at UC Davis to take the leap.

CLASSROOM AND FIELDWORK

The program included three weeks of shifting between the classroom and the field, learning about the global climate system, the societal and economic impacts of climate change, climate modelling and how scientists are predicting impacts. We took field trips to salt marshes, peat bogs and urban measurement stations to witness the research first-hand.

We learned about the global mitigation goal known as the “Two-Degree Target.” It calls for restricting global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. To reach the target, there needs to be a combined effort involving governmental policy changes, changes in consumer behavior and changes in business practices that contribute to carbon emissions. In other words, a fundamental shift in how society and business operate.

Sara Howard MBA 19 and Huy Tran MBA 19

INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE

In addition to the science and theory work, the program included a week of immersion into German culture and history. I learned basic German language and visited historic sites like a pre-war Jewish cemetery, the medieval city where Johann Sebastian Bach studied and Berlin, a bustling metropolis and a window into post-war East and West Germany.

I traveled with a diverse cohort of students from Austria, Chile, Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa, Canada and Taiwan. The exposure to different viewpoints and opinions was a crucial takeaway. In today’s global economy, knowing your own country’s cultures and practices is not enough. You must be exposed and open to all perspectives.

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

My time at the Universität Hamburg summer program was invaluable. I had the opportunity to learn about climate change and how it can affect the business world, to immerse myself in another culture, to work with great minds from around the world and to study within an international university system.

I would do it again in a heartbeat and encourage any business student at UC Davis to take the leap as well. In a global world, it pays to be a global scholar.