Meet IE’s MBA Class of 2017


Louise Brennan

IE Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: My curiosity, enthusiasm and compassion are only bounded by a strong dose of pragmatism.

Hometown: Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a twin brother. From a very early age, we learned that by helping each other we could both achieve greater things than we could alone.

Undergraduate School and Major: I earned a Bachelor of Science with joint advanced majors in chemistry and development studies from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. While at St. F.X., I had an opportunity to participate in an internship with the World Food Programme in Kigali, Rwanda. That summer, I experienced first-hand the importance of water to both social and economic opportunity. My time in Rwanda profoundly changed my life and has set the trajectory of my studies and my career. In 2007, I attended the University of Oxford and completed a Master of Science in Water Science, Policy and Management.

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: My career began in the public sector, first as a water policy specialist with the Government of Alberta and then as a senior policy analyst with the Government of British Columbia. In both provinces, my work focused on developing strategy, legislation, and regulation related to water access and management.

I left provincial government after four years to join Econics, a boutique start-up consulting company that excels at municipal water sustainability. Our small team of four sustainability specialists worked with local governments to design and enhance their water conservation programs, plan for financing water infrastructure renewal, set water rates, and communicate with their communities. Based on these experiences, I’m now in the final stages of obtaining my certified management consultant (CMC) designation.

Most recently, I was part of the team at Clearwater Seafoods, an international vertically-integrated seafood company that prides itself on wild, sustainable products. As the coordinator of sustainability and public affairs, my job encompassed regulatory affairs, eco-certification, corporate sustainability strategy, sustainability monitoring and reporting, and communications.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Relatively new fields like corporate sustainability lack clear cut career paths, making it challenging to figure out how to land your dream job. I feel like a really big accomplishment has been creating my own “development program” that spans experiences in the public sector, with a consulting company, and in the private sector. Through this approach, I’ve gained an appreciation for the roles, strengths and challenges of each type of organization and have developed a mature understanding of how the players in society function together.

A few highlights from my career so far include: experiencing the politics and inner workings of policy making; working with cash-strapped local governments to stretch their resources and plan for the future; helping thought leaders share their vision for a water sustainable future; implementing a national project on behalf of leading institutions; developing analytical models to support arguments for change and action; and building bridges across interdisciplinary and intergenerational teams.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Know your story, then tell your story. Take time to reflect on how you got to where you are, why you hold the beliefs you do, what change you want to be in the world, and how a business program is integral to fulfilling your dreams.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? IE prides itself on being ‘an environment for unconventional thinkers daring to be different.’ I like to think that’s me! I am really excited by IE’s focus on intrapreneurship because I believe that this way of thinking will be critical to successful corporate leadership in a global environment of increasing uncertainty and complexity.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? Water resources are one of the greatest risks to profitable business and also one of the biggest opportunities to promote peace and development. As such, my dream is to enhance water security around the world by building corporate engagement and leadership capacity in water stewardship. This will likely be a long-term journey.

Immediately following graduation, I would like to work for a company with great leadership on responsible business initiatives. A strategy consulting firm, possibly in a business unit dedicated to sustainability or risk management, or a major consumer goods or manufacturing company are top of my list. There would be opportunities in both sectors, albeit of different kinds, to shape the impact that organizations are having on society.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? Louise’s energy, spark, and determination helped to drive a constructive discourse that raised the profile of responsible corporate citizenship amongst her peers.

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