It's not just rote learning or through books. You learn how to approach the world, how to develop your own ideas and perspectives. That's what I'm taking from the program.

Going the Extra Mile

When it comes to her Antioch University New England education, Brianna Bain goes the extra mile. Every month she commutes from her home in La Mesa, California to Antioch University New England where she’s a candidate for a master’s degree in Business Administration in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability – AUNE’s Green MBA.

I’m very committed to this program, she said. I totally believe in it. It’s unique.

Brianna, 27, developed a passion for business during her childhood. She grew up in San Diego in a family of entrepreneurs. Her father and brother own a cabinet manufacturing and remodeling company while her mother is a self-employed interior designer. After graduating in 2006 from the University of California-San Diego with a bachelor degree in international studies, she moved with a friend to New Jersey and worked for a year at a Waldorf school. That’s when she first heard about AUNE.

After college, I was exploring what to do with my life, she said. I thought about education. Then someone at the Waldorf School told me about AUNE’s Green MBA. I thought, what am I doing? This is exactly what I want.

A Perfect Match

Soon after, she visited the Keene campus to interview with Polly Chandler, chair of the graduate school’s Organization and Management department. I was sold, she said. It perfectly matched what I wanted to do.

Brianna enrolled in AUNE during summer 2008 and just a few months later, for personal reasons, she moved back to the San Diego area. Now to further her education, she travels long distance, but finds it surprisingly both inexpensive and problem-free.

Her monthly roundtrip airfare generally costs only $200. And, because AUNE students originate from all over the country, she has her choice of destination airports-JFK, Albany, Philadelphia, Manchester where she can meet up with any number of fellow classmates to hitch a ride to the Keene campus. Her AUNE education, she says, is well worth the once per month 5000 mile roundtrip journey.

My AUNE program has surpassed my expectations, she said. It’s not just rote learning or through books. You learn how to approach the world, how to develop your own ideas and perspectives. That’s what I’m taking from the program.

Because of her AUNE studies, Brianna recently was offered a part-time trainee position at home in San Diego with Specialty Produce, a one hundred-year-old private family business with nearly one hundred employees. Her initial professional assignment coincides with her first AUNE student group project.

I’m excited about working with the produce company, she said. I’m creating a web-based platform to boost the local food economy. I’m not doing web site design. I do research to create a space where people can talk about what makes local fresh farm food better. The site, she explains connects growers and consumers and helps farmers educate consumers about their products.

Despite her busy schedule, she’s also a co-leader of the AUNE chapter of Net Impact, the international nonprofit organization which fosters future community leaders to improve the world through business.

By spring 2010, Brianna should earn her graduate degree. Her long term goals include a career as a business consultant, helping farmers to increase their visibility with consumers, and coaching businesses to develop successful relationships with local economies and the natural world.

She expects her AUNE Green MBA to prepare her well.

I’m so enthused about my AUNE education, she said. I’m surprised by how much I’ve already grown. What’s so amazing to me is that it’s not business as usual. It’s such an integrated program. I’m so satisfied.