Going Green with MBA Subjects

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Posted on December 4th, 2009

The “green” movement has compelled people from around the world to rethink their lifestyles and change them accordingly.  As a result, many organizations have created eco-friendly food, products, and even cars.  Business schools have recently jumped on this bandwagon, increasing their emphasis on social and environmental return based on the potential forum for future success.  Students are now graduating with a new degree in this type of sustainable lifestyle, focusing more on the MBA subject of environmentally-friendly businesses, rather on the Wall-Street oriented future. 

As sustainability becomes an ever-looming problem for many businesses and organizations around the world, more universities are beginning to take notice.  While MBA programs have been some of the last programs to take notice, many schools in Europe and Asia now offer programs that cater to this newfound enthusiasm in preserving the environment.  Norwich Business School in the U.K. has now implemented an MBA program in carbon management as a new subject for students to research as a future option for business.  Additionally, Brandeis University International Business School created a new “Global Green MBA” which was implemented to teach students how to build sustainable businesses in the international marketplace. 

The United States has also stepped up to the plate, altering the MBA program at Stanford to become the most sustainable MBA program in the U.S.  Their slogan alone depicts the green lifestyle the school now endorses: “Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.”  The Center for Social Innovation within the school’s MBA program is specifically geared to teach students how to redress global problems and drive social benefit.  This new MBA subject offers students the chance to participate in internships which serve a social purpose as well as encourage students to get involved in global programs dealing with personal ethics. 

While the Stanford program is one of the only programs of its kind within the U.S., it has taken a firm hold within the student body.  Ninety percent of students within the program now take at least one course at the Center for Social Innovation and twenty percent of the graduates leave with certificates in corporate responsibility.  Graduating these types of students from business school is important to sustaining the future of our economy.  These students may go on to become the leaders of a major corporation, thereby trickling down their understanding of sustainability throughout their corporation. 

Many of these programs strive to emphasize the drastic way the world has shifted, away from industrial standards and toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle.  MBA programs thereby serve an important role in emphasizing this shift in the environment because many of these students will be at the top of many influential corporations within the next few decades as the problem becomes more noticeable.   Thus far, California leads the way in educating business students about the important role they play, as the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco additionally has begun to incorporate issues like climate change, energy efficiency, and social good into the school’s traditional subject.  MBA students today will have the responsibility in only a few years to tackle environmental disruptions; as leaders in the business world, they are the hope for change in the future through the help of these programs.

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