Name: Justin Finnegan
Hometown: Darien, Conn.
Education: Stanford University, Graduate School of Business, MBA Class of 2009
Plan A: Real estate/government
Plan B: Working with nut farmers in Bhutan
I looked at real estate and met with many companies, but there was definitely a sense that they weren't hiring. So I made a final decision earlier this year: I wanted to get my hands dirty. I didn't want a desk job for thirty years.
I was introduced by a classmate to Daniel Spitzer, the chairman of a company called Mountain Hazelnut Venture, and he shared a lot of my same visions. A great environmental and social businessman, he started telling me about his new ventures, and I was sold.
My job will be working at Mountain Hazelnut Venture in east Bhutan. The goal is to provide income to the population of the poorest areas by giving hazelnut trees to farmers, who harvest the nuts and then sell them back to us. We project a farmer who makes $300 per year right now will make $500 to $600 per year just from our nut business, in addition to whatever else they earn from crops. It's a significant change.
I'll be setting up strategies for how we manage the huge task of planting 10 million trees over eight years: everything from making videos with our agricultural team to figuring out and teaching people how to plant a tree to building a huge factory. It's a dream job I didn't know was there. It took two years in business school and this financial crisis for me to be honest with myself and to find out what I wanted to do with my time. The world is in need of—and ready for—a lot more nontraditional careers.