MBA Students, Blind Man Train for Polar Vision Quest

by Vault Education Editors | February 11, 2011

  • My Vault

 Four MBAs and a partially blind man have decided to merge their penchants for thrill-seeking and entrepreneurialism by planning a Polar Vision quest from the coast of Antarctica across nearly 600 miles of frozen tundra to the South Pole. They will do this at temperatures of 40-below (Celsius) while hauling heavy sleds and "trying not to get bored of each other's jokes" (which, if funny, would produce laughter, which can raise body temperature and boost the immune system).  

One of the reasons for the expedition is to raise awareness about visual impairment. Alan Lock, who conceived of the project during his first semester at Berkeley's Haas School of Business, suffers from an eye condition called macular degeneration, which has taken much of his vision.

First, my situation has brought an awareness of the impact that any form of sight loss can have on people around the globe, and I have an understandable empathy towards this cause.

Polar Vision aims to highlight sight issues and, once we are underway, raise funds for a number of sight-related charities in the U.S. and around the world. This is a cause which my teammates can also relate to through friends and family who may have some form of vision impairment.

Polar Vision is, of course, the name of the nonprofit they set up using the entrepreneurial skills learned in business school. Courses in marketing, operations, brand management and leadership, they say, were also crucial to targeting sponsors and raising funds, of which the profits will go to sight-related charities like Sightsavers and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

One of the things business school instills in you is a sense of purpose, a mission—and the MBA gives you the leadership skills to deliver on that," [said team member and Tuck grad Richard Smith in a statement]. We will need to draw on these skills not only to plan this expedition but to get ourselves and each other to the Pole. It won’t be easy but the personal and charitable rewards are great.

[Nat Geo]

Filed Under: Education

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