Are b-school systems accommodating for entrepreneurship?

By Aaron Templer

Higher Ed

You can disregard the underlying conclusions of Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s book Manufacturing Consent. But you have to admire their ability to delineate between systems and conspiracies. The media, from my layman perspective of Chomsky and Herman’s central point, is a business. Like any business, it operates to generate a profit. Anything that acts against that fundamental premise isn’t tolerated within its system. Like an ecosystem that works to destroy a threatening virus, stories that dissent against the media’s main drivers of profit (thus the elite that gain the most from its prosperity) simply aren’t tolerated. Chomsky and Herman are saying that it’s simply a systems issue with the media: resources are funneled toward their prime purpose. It creates […]

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Can a mining company teach us about sustainability?

By Aaron Templer

Higher Ed

It’s a strange concept to get your head around. What could a mining company—a gold mining company—possibly teach anyone about sustainability? If you want some gold today, you don’t settle in a quaint mountain town in the Rockies filled with scrappy boot strappers singing Colorado My Home Sweet Home in hopes of discovering a nice little vein you can claim. Too many people have done that already.

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Extreme doesn’t mean a former river

By Aaron Templer

Higher Ed

We’d just spent a day in the hot and humid forest and small villages in and around Akyem, Ghana. It’s the “before” site: Newmont is going through their stage-gate process of due diligence to determine if its worth opening a mine here. The task is ungraspable. Items on an endless to-do list: Energy needs. Relocating multiple villages, maybe 10,000 people. Roads and access concerns. NGO buy-in. Still not sure if local Chiefs will give their approval (despite not having de facto governance, politicians and enterprises must have their buy-in). Locations of sustainable farm training facilities. Evaluation of available and competent labor. Evaluation of available and competent ex-pat labor. Oh — and is there enough gold in the ore samples to […]

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Extreme… part II

By Aaron Templer

Ghana, Higher Ed

There appears to be very few international travel classes like this in higher ed. Amanda Pollock, Daniels executive program staff member and the co-brainchild behind the program, is the person who actually makes it all happen. Sold it to Daniels management. Promotes the program. Helps create the curriculum and on-the-ground integration. Books the buses. Brings the gifts to our hosts. She’s worked in other Universities coordinating travel abroad programs. And she agrees. “Most travel abroad programs are tourist courses. They’re ineffective in delivering any kind of sense of culture, and what its like to do business abroad. “The goal of this class is create value on multiple levels: a more valuable learning experience for students. Valuable deliverables for partnering enterprises. […]

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Now that we can do anything

By Aaron Templer

Ghana, Higher Ed

Today we visited the Elima Slave castle. Stood in the dungeons. Walked through the gate that led to the ships. This place was only the beginning of the atrocities. It’s futile to describe the emotions. Multilayered, complex, sickening. A thought struck me on the bus back to the hotel. It isn’t exaggerating to suggest that we find ourselves facing a new world. A world with unexampled challenges, a totally opaque future. But with the same undying hope that we just can’t seem to shake. As an agent of defining this new world, capitalism is facing the same question that faced settlers of that other new world that was built on the backs of exploited people. Today, we ask ourselves to […]

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What you don’t learn in business school

By Aaron Templer

Higher Ed

When you go to fancy-pants MBA school, you learn a lot of fancy-pants terms. It’s nice at first to throw them around and sound smart. Kind of justifies the expense of the degree. But pretty soon you realize they aren’t that meaningful if (a) they really aren’t communicating anything other than you’re a snotty MBA with some fancy-pants terms, and (b) you really don’t know what it means in the first place. And by means, I’m talking about the experience of driving through the barely-settled hills of Ghana and happening upon a working gold mine. Towering processing machinery clustered together, the size of ten, maybe twelve city blocks. Caterpillar’s repair facility four stories high, two football fields long. Security check-points […]

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Machetes and mowers

By Aaron Templer

Higher Ed, Reputation Management

When you’re anxious to go on a tour of an African mine site, sitting in a florescent lit room listening to presentations makes you a little jumpy and inattentive. Even so, when Jay Bastian started talking about the mowing operations at his mine, my ears perked up.

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