Are B-School Grads Ready for a Greener Future?

Last Updated Apr 23, 2009 8:07 AM EDT

  • The Find: With green issues increasingly on the agenda in Washington, one blog argues that business schools need to better prepare managers to handle the threats and opportunities presented by the rising tide of green awareness and regulation.
  • The Source: A post on the Columbia Business School Public Offering blog.
The Takeaway: As yesterday's BNET Intercom post for Earth Day makes clear, with a cap and trade scheme for carbon emissions in the offing and green jobs a hot talking point among politicians, green policy is sure to impact business whether business prepares for it or not. In light of this, the Public Offering blog argues that business schools need to step up to the plate and prepare the business leaders of tomorrow to understand and deal with the changing regulatory landscape and the evolving energy situation. Their argument:
There remains a general lack of expertise on the way that business intersects with the environment. A focus on environmental issues appears likely to follow the same adoption path that the Internet experienced in the mid-to-late '90s: from novelty, to practice by a few early adopters, to acknowledged competitive advantage, to business-as-usual.
Today, some of the world's largest and best-run companies, including DuPont, GE, Sony, 3M and Coca-Cola, have already recognized the reality that their industry landscapes will be profoundly impacted by a greater focus on the environment.... Given the direction in which these industry bellwethers are moving, business schools must start paying attention.
While this Public Offering post may be geared towards persuading B-schools to change their ways (and pitching Columbia's own green credentials), the idea that the ability to manage green issues is a scarce and valuable talent that is much in demand is also relevant to the individual manager. How so? Take a look at this podcast explaining how middle managers can develop skills in managing sustainability to get promoted.

The Question: Do MBA programs adequately prepare students to handle environmental issues that impact business?

(Image of cheerful green activist with sign by greenforall.org, 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.