The first thing David Widener wants you to know about Green Mountain College’s Green MBA program is that it’s academically challenging. The second thing he wants you to know: it’s not an impersonal program, even though most of the coursework is conducted online.
“Think about it this way—it’s late and you have a big project due. The geographical distance between you and your professors and classmates can ordinarily make that a pretty lonely experience. But knowing all my fellow students and professors personally is reassuring. You have that personal connection and sense of shared purpose.”
The personal familiarity piece comes in part from the annual three-day MBA residency, which brings together faculty, students and a visiting scholar-in-residence each September to Poultney campus. “There is already a closeness that’s developed between your peers. When you meet face to face, you feel like you already have a personal history with everyone.”
Dave earned an undergraduate degree in business finance, with a minor in information technology from Ohio University. He entered a master of arts degree program in environmental geography, but wanted to combine his passions for business, technology and the environment, and decided an MBA would give him wider career opportunities—especially one focused on environmental stewardship. His search for an accredited MBA program that addressed his interest in the environment led him to GMC.
“I was interested in living an environmentally conscious lifestyle, before the word ‘sustainable’ was fashionable, so I was intrigued by GMC’s program,” he remembers. “Logistically it made a lot of sense because I could continue working while earning a degree.”
At he time he was working as senior manager of IT for IDEXX Laboratories, a Maine-based global provider of pet and domestic animal life science products and services. He graduated with the very first MBA cohort in 2008 and the degree helped him secure his current job at the Dead River Company, the largest energy marketer in Northern New England. David is now the senior executive for the company’s IT and project management operations. A family-owned company based in S. Portland, Maine. Dead River operates more than 50 locally managed offices in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.
Dave helped start the first “green team” at the company, leading internal recycling efforts and eliminating bottled water—everyone in the office now gets their own glass to refill at water stations. The company has been widely recognized for programs to providing domestic fuel to low-income Mainers like KeepME Warm.
“Having the MBA credential is important, but the type of education I got in the GMC program really broadened my understanding of business, both the potential and the responsibilities. And it really sharpened my skills so that I feel I could apply what I learned in almost any business setting.”