A Navy veteran works to ‘keep the spotlight on sustainability’

Patrick O’Brien, former pilot in the U.S. Navy, will join Bain and Company after graduation. “Sustainability has been at the front and center of my education and I will do my part at Bain to help keep the spotlight on sustainability,” he says.

The next big thing in operations or clean technology is probably happening on this campus. The innovation and entrepreneurial spirit are here.

Patrick O’Brien came to MIT Sloan after serving as a pilot in the U.S. Navy where he flew anti-submarine planes around the globe. “In the Navy, I served in many parts of the world—I spent time in East Africa and the Middle East—where instances of inequality, suffering, and environmental degradation are prevalent,” he says.

He decided to go to business school because he wanted to earn a good living for his family, but also because he “wanted to play a part in helping to solve the very big challenges the world is facing.”

A lot of transitioning veterans feel this way, according to Patrick. “There’s a strong pull in the veteran community to the field of sustainability,” he says. “Veterans have already served in some capacity and typically want to continue making an impact in some way. Many want to stay engaged in service but they want to explore new areas.”

Patrick decided on MIT Sloan in part because of the Sustainability Certificate program, calling it “a powerful symbol of what this school cares about.”

“MIT Sloan is putting a lot of resources and energy into solving these problems,” he says. “The next big thing in operations or clean technology is probably happening somewhere on this campus. The innovation and entrepreneurial spirit are here.”

Outside the classroom, Patrick attends speaker sessions and energy and cleantech networking events; he’s also a member of the MIT Energy Club and is helping to organize and emcee the 2015 MIT Sustainability Summit.

After graduation, Patrick will join Bain and Company, where he interned over the summer. “Bain does not have a standalone sustainability practice but it is clearly something that the company cares a lot about,” he says. “Sustainability has been at the front and center of my education and I will do my part at Bain to help keep the spotlight on sustainability.”