MBA in sustainability: 5 business schools for aspiring green leaders
Environmental-focused degrees are nothing new. With COVID-19 hitting just about every industry hard, sustainability has become a global concern, and many are feeling inspired to get involved.
Sparking the biggest changes are large organisations that often have the resources to become the driving force for sustainability, both for themselves and for the environment at large.
Recently, Apple announced it is modifying executive bonuses based on environmental values in 2021. Microsoft also recently took major action and pledged to become a carbon-negative company within 10 years. As part of this effort, it launched an Azure cloud region in Norway, which is quickly gaining traction as a go-to nation for sustainable business. As the world’s largest green data centre site, Norway provides an ideal home for businesses seeking a more sustainable future.
The golden ticket to infiltrate organisations like these and join the fight for a better tomorrow? An MBA in sustainability.
A common misconception about these programmes is that they strictly revolve around advocating “green” policies in businesses. While they do prepare graduates for roles that promote environmentally sound policies, sustainability in the business world encompasses so much more.
These graduates have a deeper understanding of the positive effects of adopting “greener” policies and procedures. Used correctly, they could collectively boost consumer loyalty and enhance employee productivity, morale, as well as brand reputation. An added bonus? They are often equipped to drive cost savings.
If you’re interested in acquiring an MBA that will help you find your place at the forefront of global change, here are five business schools around the world with sustainability-related programmes:
The University of Warwick, Warwick Business School
Named the top school in Europe and second in the world for teaching and researching sustainability, Warwick Business School offers a full-time MBA programme that gives students the opportunity to visit Vancouver – regarded as the world’s greenest city – to learn the fundamentals of sustainable business.
There is also a Business and Sustainability module that introduces the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as well as modules like the Economics of Wellbeing, Human Resource Management and Corporate Responsibility. Students can also make the most of learning about different cultures on international modules in India, Mexico, Brazil, or China.
New York University, Stern School of Business
NYU’s MBA with a sustainable business and innovation specialisation aims to equip students with an understanding of key sustainability challenges and opportunities for modern business. The programme focuses on current and emerging business practices. It operates in both a full and part-time, on-campus format with the option to take up to 25% of courses at other NYU graduate schools or international partner institutions.
Experiential learning and co-curricular opportunities include the Stern Signature Projects (SSPs), which is structured as a semester or year-long independent studies that allow students to customise their MBA experience.
There are also case competitions such as the NYU Stern Opportunity Zone Challenge which was designed to encourage long-term investments in low-income communities; as well as the annual Patagonia Case Competition which enables graduates across the US to tackle the interconnected business and responsibility aspects of current issues facing the outdoor gear retailer, Patagonia.
University of Exeter Business School
The Exeter MBA can be undertaken full-time in over 12 months, or as an executive part-time option over 24-36 months. The programme focuses on sustainability, purposeful leadership, innovation, and technology — all of which will enable graduates to transform not only themselves but the world around them.
Exeter MBA programme director Stuart Robinson says, “The creation of sustainable practice is now in the mainstream of industrial, societal, and technological progress globally, so we are delighted to be recognised as an MBA that offers students the skills and knowledge to take this forward in their careers.”
INSEAD incorporates sustainability into its signature MBA curriculum with the help of two courses — Business Sustainability and the SDG Bootcamp. These enable students to identify and innovate creative business models that are both profitable and sustainable.
The SDG Bootcamp is an intense workshop that focuses on problem framing, ideation, and prototyping. Its overall goal is to encourage students to address critical real-world problems that are in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Cornell University, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
Johnson’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise – which launched in 2003 – publishes relevant sustainability and CSR research. Two-year MBA students can choose a concentration in Sustainable Global Enterprise, as well as a company project focusing on CSR topics, if they wish.
Students enrolled in the SGE immersion work in multidisciplinary teams on consulting-type assignments with real firms that are focused on strategic initiatives exploring new business opportunities related to sustainability.