MBAs Increasingly Focusing on Green Issues

Last Updated Jul 25, 2008 9:15 AM EDT

  • Get on the bus!The Find: A raft of MBA programs at innovative new institutions and venerable stalwarts alike are foregrounding sustainability and environmental issues in an effort to attract students and turn out forward thinking business leaders.
  • The Source: An in-depth look at the rise of sustainability issues at business schools from and "Beyond Grey Pinstripes," the Aspen Institute's ranking of business schools based on their integration of social and environmental issues into their curricula.
The Takeaway: Greenbiz spoke with the leaders of three innovative MBA programs with a focus on sustainability: Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Boulder's Leeds School of Business and the Rady School of Management at the University of California at San Diego. What these conversations reveal is a whole lot of student interest and a whole lot of innovation.

For example, at Keen-Flagler students partnered with Bank of America in an initiative that saw students analyzing the organization's domestic environmental footprint and suggesting ways to reduce its carbon footprint, while the program at UCSD attracts many students with a science background and an interest in renewable energy technology. Many opt for a joint MBA-PhD degree in partnership with The Scripps Institute.

But it's not just newer programs that are embracing sustainability (the Rady School was founded only five years ago) but also some of the older and more well-known MBA programs. When the Aspen Institute ranked business schools on how well they integrate social and environmental issues into their curricula, Stanford Graduate School of Business (founded 1925) topped the list. Here's the rest of the top five:

  1. Stanford
  2. Michigan (Ross)
  3. York (Schulich) in Canada
  4. UC Berkeley (Haas)
  5. Notre Dame (Mendoza)
For the complete list, visit the Aspen Institute's website.

The Question: Do most MBAs adequately prepare students to deal with environmental challenges?



(Image of MBA students getting on the bus by Phil~, CC 2.0)

  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.