Building the business case for water

Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, Graduate Studies

- Carlos Berti

Nuha Omer Elgindi, Master of Global Business (MGB) graduate.

Nuha Omer Elgindi has always believed that commerce could be about more than just making a profit. Born in Sudan and raised in Tunisia and the UK, Elgindi says her early environment played a key part in making sustainability one of her earliest, deepest values. “I had always wanted to make a difference. And to protect the plants and animals around me.”

Those values have since connected Elgindi to the global commerce hub at UVic's Gustavson School of Business—and to the United Nations, where Elgindi is building the business case for water security. This month, she receives her Master of Global Business (MGB) degree from Gustavson.

From a young age, Elgindi’s concern for the planet was also sparked by her mother, a professor of global environmental change. “I came to understand that current environmental problems were created as a result of a development model that cares about economic returns without giving due consideration to environmental or social impacts.” She soon saw that business has the power to be an innovative solution to the world's environmental crisis, and not just a contributor to the problem.

Hoping to take up the mantle of environmentalism her mother had taught her, she took those standards of social and environmental responsibility to private sector work—and around the world to a Master of Global Business (MGB) degree at the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business.

New beginnings at Gustavson

Elgindi began her studies in Tunisia’s Mediterranean School of Business, going on to receive an MSc in environmental assessment and management from the University of Brighton. Seeking to find ways to merge her two passions, she decided to enrol in Gustavson’s MGB program.

Here, Elgindi found a diverse community with similar outlooks on business and social responsibility, and the chance to put her critical thinking skills to the test in the real world.

“My internship with a consultancy firm in Peru enabled me to work in a company that focuses on socioeconomic development and tries to expand its business in a socially responsible way.

“It was a great example of something a professor once told me: companies care about social responsibility because people do.”

Fostering social responsibility

Now interning at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, Elgindi is helping develop the financing module for a new water security course, with the aim of extending water security across the developing world.

“It’s incredibly useful to be familiar with both worlds,” she says, referring to her knowledge of both business and the environment. After years of travel, Elgindi understands how these issues are treated in both the developed and developing world, knowledge that will give her an advantage in bringing action to these issues.

After her graduation this June, Elgindi hopes to forge a meaningful path. “In the short term, I want to continue my work for developmental organizations. I want to make a difference here.”  Long-term, she dreams of opening her own consultancy firm, one focused on helping the most vulnerable parts of the world, “regions like Africa and South America, which are the most affected by issues of global environmental crisis.” Her international business experience will definitely come in handy, but for Elgindi the MGB program was more than just a business course: “It was a lifetime experience.”

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Keywords: convocation, student life, alumni, business, sustainability, water, international

People: Nuha Omer Elgindi

Publication: The Ring


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