Omar Mitchell came to MIT Sloan looking to take the next step after starting his career in architecture. Now the Director of Sustainability for the NHL, Omar credits his MIT Sloan experience and the Sustainability Internship Program with getting him the job of his dreams.
In his first year at MIT Sloan, Omar used his fall semester to investigate career options like those in management consulting, technology, and clean energy. He visited companies like Facebook and Apple, talked with MIT Sloan alumni, and attended student–led treks. The Clean Energy Trek, a mix of class work and in-the-field experience in Spain and Denmark, started to focus Omar on sustainability. “On the trek I realized this was where my current passions and interests connected with my architecture background. That informed how I selected my classes and approached my internship search.”
During his first year Omar took Sustainable Business Lab and a class at the MIT Media Lab called Living Labs, he also got involved with sustainability activities like the Sustainability Summit. "All of these activities opened my mind to what sustainability is. It’s more than an environmental issue, it is an issue that every business needs to confront and embed into core business practices. MIT Sloan is about creating principled, innovative leaders that change the world – at MIT Sloan I learned not only about my responsibility to change the business I am in but also how to do this effectively.”
Omar also applied for and received one of MIT Sloan’s Sustainability Internships, enabling him to spend the summer between his first and second year at the National Hockey League, helping them investigate sustainable business practices.
Omar believes that the opportunity for the NHL to participate in MIT Sloan’s Sustainability Internship, added to the knowledge he had accumulated about sustainable business practices, won him the NHL internship. As an intern, Omar visited teams across the U.S. and Canada to understand what hockey clubs were doing to increase sustainable business practices. His internship culminated with the presentation of a best practices guide to league leadership. The guide received considerable attention within the league and eventually led to the hiring of Omar as its full-time Director of Sustainability, a brand new role for the organization, and one they felt was a wise investment.
Now as the Director of Sustainability for the NHL, Omar’s role is a mix of helping hockey clubs manage their facilities more efficiently, building partnerships with companies to engage fans in sustainable programs like sports equipment exchanges or community clean-up projects, and reporting to the NHL and its fans on the league’s sustainability practices.
According to Omar, “My job requires a lot of different skills and expertise, much of which I got directly from my time at MIT Sloan. In Organizational Processes for example, I learned all about how to engage stakeholders in making decisions. Strategies I learned in Marketing and Communications classes that directly inform a lot of the fan engagement and reporting work I do. I used a required class for the Sustainability Certificate to get a more academic understanding of how sustainability could be introduced in professional sports; to learn about supply chain, foods for concessions, player health, and investigating player treatment as an important sustainability issue. I used all of these classes to prepare me for my role in the NHL so I could go in ready to have an impact.”