Micah Macfarlane
Home Region

Vancouver, Canada

Undergrad Education

Middlebury College, Political Science/Government, 2009

Previous Experience

Clinton Health Access Initiative, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance, Asian Development Bank, Clinton Health Access Initiative

“I want to work on business development and strategy to scale the best ideas as rapidly and effectively as possible.”

Micah Macfarlane tries to make every career decision to make the greatest difference in the most lives.

Before HBS, Micah worked in global health – expanding access to quality care and, especially, affordable medicines. "I worked to solve market failures," says Micah. Often the medicine exists and the need exists, but it is just not getting there. The market is designed to sell to the developed world and poorer countries need more bargaining power. I brokered investments and negotiated prices to help get affordable access."

Looking at his work, Micah could see many of the same market failures for climate change but less response from society. "We are just worse at thinking about climate impacts, which feel further away than they really are. I want to be part of the solution." Because so many clean technologies need to be rolled out in private markets or sold business-to-business, Micah needed new kinds of expertise to make a difference.

The MBA curriculum covered key areas that Micah was looking to learn. "I had never worked directly in investment banking – I wanted to study that. Or marketing. My work was with institutional markets, so I had never marketed. But there are investors we need, solutions we’ll have to market. I wanted to build those skills."

Exploring new skills and perspectives

Micah chose HBS for a number of reasons. "There’s an incredible variety of backgrounds here; you’re exposed to such a wide range of perspectives," says Micah. "I also feel like HBS has the greatest academic rigor. With the case method everyone shows up, ready to dive in. I was blown away the first time I visited a class." Not least of his considerations was cost. "The extraordinary financial aid made an MBA viable for someone like me coming from humanitarian work."

Outside class, Micah serves as his section’s Senate Rep and is on the student advisory board for the school’s Social Enterprise Initiative. "In everything this year, the best part is the people. I have loved the conversations. People are here because they are smart and effective. It’s such a highlight to talk to classmates about what they believe and why, and to learn from them."

For his summer internship, Micah is focusing on decarbonization – working with companies on technologies like next-generation batteries, nuclear, deep water wind, and solar. "I want to work on business development and strategy to scale the best ideas as rapidly and effectively as possible."

After graduation, Micah wants to continue on that path – targeting our major sources of emissions with new and better sources of energy. Ultimately it comes back to the impact. "This is one of those areas where businesses can drive improvements where we need them the most. I’m excited to be part of that."