You can use your MacBook Pro and share its internet connection via Wi-Fi. When using your iPad, your MacBook Pro will have to be on to share the connection. Otherwise you need to buy a wireless router to create your own Wi-Fi network.
I am on a large ethernet network so a little worried about 'opening' it's internet connection, should I be?
Well, a USB wireless adapter would do the same thing as the link I provided. Basically, anyone within about 10 to 15 meters of your computer would be able to access the wireless network.
An Aiport Extreme base station would allow security options to restrict access to a specific devices, require passwords, encryption, etc. If this is a business environment the best thing to do would be to talk to the IT department for an official solution.