Student ambassador spotlight: Rachel Mattenberger

Rachel Mattenberger

Program Name: MBA
Year of Graduation: 2019
Program Schedule: Full Time

What is your background?

My background is in the transportation sector. I hold a BA in Spanish from the University of Oregon as well as an MS in Transportation Technology and Policy from UC Davis. I spent the first five years of my career managing sustainable commuter programs for Stanford University, where I collaborated across departments such as HR and procurement, managed vendor relationships, and supervised administrative staff for program development and implementation. Following my move to Portland in 2015, I led business development and collaborated closely with marketing and strategy teams at a commuter rideshare startup. Through that experience, I saw an opportunity to leverage the private sector to advance sustainability, and this is what led me to The Portland MBA.

How has your experience been at The School of Business at Portland State?

My experience with The Portland MBA has provided me with a unique perspective around sustainability in business. A strong sustainability orientation is embedded into the core curriculum of the program in a way that is unparalleled in other MBA programs. Almost every class has incorporated engaging conversations around stakeholder theory and the evolving role of sustainability in capitalism. I have had plenty of opportunities to apply these theories around corporate sustainability outside the classroom.

What is B Impact and how you are involved in the PSU chapter?

B Impact is a free consulting service for companies engaged in the B Corp certification or re-certification process. The program is a project of PSU’s Net Impact chapter and operates with the support of Impact Entrepreneurs. Clients of the B Impact program are matched with teams of two to four graduate students, and these teams work with the clients to develop a path to fulfill the 80 points necessary for a B Corp certification. The teams research and recommend process and system improvements, compile necessary documentation, and prepare their clients for the final assessment.

I participated in the B Impact program as a consultant during my first year of The Portland MBA. I had the opportunity to support Brew Dr. Kombucha and Roam Oatmeal on their journeys toward certification. In my second year, I stepped up to codirect the program with fellow B Corp enthusiast, Jacob Taddy. He and I are working to establish a more robust framework for tracking program metrics and capturing client testimonials. I’m looking forward to handing off the program to next year’s leadership team and seeing how it continues to grow and evolve.

Will you continue to be involved with the B Corp movement after you graduate?

Yes. I feel so fortunate to have been able to tap into the growing energy around the B Corp movement within the Portland business community. My involvement with B Impact led to a capstone consulting project with B Local PDX and a position on the B Corp Leadership Development 2019 conference committee. In the future, I hope to continue contributing to the B Corp community either in a leadership position within a B Corp or as a consultant. I plan to do some consulting work over the summer and take a little space from academia before deciding what’s next for me in my career.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by imagining what’s possible. I see climate change as the defining issue of our time, not just because we’re on the brink of catastrophe, but because we are presented with a unique opportunity for humanity to work together to confront a shared challenge. If we could overcome our differences and harness our collective potential, we could do great things together. That’s the vision that inspires me and gives me hope.

What advice do you have for prospective graduate business students who are interested in your field?

Just go for it! There is never a “perfect” time to go back to school, and it can feel daunting to try to find the time to do your research and submit your applications. But once you start the process of thinking through your motivations and connecting with others about the process, it gets so much easier. You’ll learn a lot about yourself in the journey and those first steps that seem so intimidating will ultimately pay off.

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