Affiliated with both the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management is unique by design. Explain how our approach to business education is the right fit for you, and how your interests, experiences or goals will contribute to the unique composition of the entering class. (Please limit your response to 650 words.)
Engineering is black and white. Every invention is based on natural laws of physics, definite chemical reactions, and hundreds upon hundreds of formulas. The math behind it is reliable, steady as the drizzling rain on a spring day. Economics is spontaneous, the scattered summer storms that go from downpour to clear sky in the blink of an eye. Predicted bull markets don’t always arrive, and dreaded bear markets often come barreling through at the most unexpected of times. A single day in 1929 sent stocks crashing, triggering a depression that took years to recover from. The two subjects are appealing in their balance; economics and engineering collectively bring together stability and adventure, neutralizing the unpredictability of economics with the predictability of mathematics to create rhyme and reason out of its chaos.
Dyson, too, is a balance between two opposite worlds. The giant glass skyscrapers frequently associated with the business world are a sharp contrast to the image of sweeping wheat fields and grinding tractors that agriculture conjures up. Though all its students share a major in applied economics and management (AEM), Dyson’s affiliation with CALS allows them to double-major in fields outside conventional economic-oriented ideas. Majoring in Environmental Engineering in CALS alongside AEM allows me to balance business education with life science education; it allows me to balance economics with mathematics and science.
Balance, specifically in sustainable development, is oftentimes a costly choice. It is unfeasible to ask a poor family to choose pricier, fair trade fashion brands over the fast-fashion brands, especially when it might mean skipping out on other life necessities. I grew up in a household where money was tight; both my parents were pursuing their doctorates and had little change to spare for luxuries. It was only that both my parents received their PhDs and started working that I began to consider sustainability. It was only after my parents felt that they could provide appropriate care for our family that we began to care for our planet. Consumer choice only applied after we felt we could financially sustain our choices. On a grander scale, nations will only begin promoting environmentally-friendly practices if they can afford it. Protecting the Congo Basin comes second to protecting the livelihoods of the small lumber businesses around the region. But having both undergone financial struggles and understood my role in promoting sustainability, I think it’s unfair that families and towns and regions must often choose between one or the other. Looking back at how some of the first civilizations sustained themselves and trying to create modernized versions of their practices could help bridge the divide. I’m particularly fascinated by how ancient civilizations sustained themselves: the Incas with their fog nets to capture moisture from the atmosphere, the employment options devised by ancient Mesopotamia. I’m captivated by the idea of merging ancient practices into modern society, creating sustainable practices for rural populations and developing nations that may not have the funds for technological processes like desalinization.
The world is seemingly composed of opposites. There is order and chaos, rich and poor, urban and rural. Our choices, too, often appear to diverge. I can choose either engineering or economics, choose either sustainability or affordability, choose either business or life science school. But I don’t have to choose, because CALS will give me the practical skills to refine my ideas, and Dyson gives me the opportunity to market and develop them into reality. I can create practices that are both sustainable and affordable. Dyson gives me the freedom to choose both.Published in