Now the general manager for the Forest Recycling Project in London—a social enterprise that takes waste materials and sells them to individuals, artists, or local community projects—she is tackling one of the world’s most intricate problems.
But Pernille wouldn’t have swapped the Arctic circle for the circular economy without Bath School of Management’s Executive MBA program. In fact, the move to London wasn’t always on the cards.
“I didn’t choose the MBA because I wanted to change careers; I ended up changing because the MBA process made me reflect on how I wanted to work,” Pernille explains.
“Bath gave me a real grounding in entrepreneurship. I was taught how to build a business case, and how to run a smaller organization as opposed to the one I was used to.
“I still wanted to work on the climate change agenda. But now I had the skillset to attack it on my own terms.”
The part-time Bath Executive MBA program was a perfect fit for Pernille’s career as it allowed her to continue working in a managerial environment while sharpening the skills she felt were necessary for her line of work.
Plus, she was still living in the arctic circle! She fitted the EMBA’s week-long modules around work and travel commitments.
By the time she started the Bath Executive MBA, Pernille had been working for ten years, first for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and then the Government of Greenland.
“I’ve always worked in an environment where I was the underdog, small teams working on agendas that are always rapidly evolving. There is always something different to deal with the next day,” she says.
“But it gave me the appetite for the Executive MBA,” she adds, “as you would turn up on Monday and have to learn something new, and be able to apply that to a business environment straight away.”
Now, she’s implementing her EMBA learnings into her everyday work:
“Half my day revolves around the running of the business, so using the knowledge I gained from the managing operational processes module really comes in handy,” Pernille explains.
“But the other half focuses on growing the business and meeting new potential partners. For example, in the next few days I will pitch different waste products to interested parties that I feel we should integrate into our current model.”
Pernille’s current role also involves a lot of work with branding and marketing. In her line of work, marketing strategy is particularly important, because, she says, “to really make an impact in this industry, you need to attract a large market share, especially when making a profit isn’t your main aim.”
After her EMBA at Bath, keen to move away from government, it was key for Pernille to work somewhere she could push through her agenda more fluidly. She knew it was vital for her own conscience to work for a business whose goal it was to make a social and environmental impact, not a profit.
And that’s just what she found.
“The Forest Recycling Project has all the elements I look for in a sustainable model,” she says. “We work with materials discarded from London’s development industry. It’s mainly paint, but without our input it would be thrown into landfill, which is environmentally harmful and a wasted economic opportunity.”