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OCP in Morocco: The MIT Sloan Network in action

Julie Chang

Julie Chang, MBA ’02, a principal at environmental consulting firm Ecology and Environment (E & E), saw the strength and the impact of the MIT Sloan network in 2010 when she began a project helping Moroccan mining company OCP evaluate clean technologies for its operations.

The first network connection was OCP CEO Mostafa Terrab, MIT SM ’82, MIT PhD ’90. In addition to Chang, the E & E consulting team also included Ed Nevis, a former MIT Sloan faculty member and director of the MIT Program for Senior Executives, who passed away in 2011.

As the project progressed, connections between the company and MIT Sloan deepened. In the fall of 2010, Nevis arranged for Taha Balafrej, OCP’s director of Sustainable Development, to tour the MIT campus through the Industrial Liaison Program. During the tour, Balafrej met Jason Jay, PhD ’10, a lecturer at MIT Sloan who coordinates the Sloan Sustainability Research Group.

Within months, OCP began partnering with MIT Sloan, including participating in the MIT Sloan Sustainability Internship program; sponsoring MIT Sloan’s 2011 Sustainability Summit; and participating in the Leading Sustainable Systems (L-Lab), where MIT Sloan students helped investigate ways of supporting sustainable economic development in the areas around OCP’s operations. The 2012 MIT L-Lab team utilized systems thinking to help OCP’s Sustainability department analyze where and in what manner the company can intervene in order to promote economic and social development.

Now, with OCP slated to participate in the Sustainable Business Lab (S-Lab) in 2012, and potentially work to support research at MIT on topics such as sustainable societies, the relationship between the company and MIT Sloan is poised to flourish. It is exactly the kind of ever-evolving partnership that MIT Sloan is known for, said Chang. “We are inclusive,” she said. “We want to open doors—we want to make connections.”

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