MBA’s Start Teaching Green Responsibility to Future Managers

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Harvard Business School

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What were once niche programs, designed for students who viewed green responsibility as a core moral value, are now becoming an integral part of MBA curricula across the nation. The demand for courses that teach sustainability is in direct correlation to the demand for graduates trained in sustainability-related skills, a demand that is as high as 40 percent, according to national executive recruitment agencies.

The first sustainability MBA program in the United States was created in 2000 at the Dominican University of California. Today, MBA programs that teach green responsibility and green business management have extended across the nation. At San Francisco’s Presidio School of Management, 20 students were enrolled in an MBA program in sustainable management in 2003. By 2009, the number had increased to 240. Enrollment in the ten-year-old MBA sustainability program at the University of North Carolina has doubled over the last five years. At the Harvard Business School, case studies in sustainability as well as environmental subjects have been added to many courses.

Sometimes called “green MBAs,” sustainability programs are primarily focused on how environmental, social and economic issues affect the bottom line. The programs may examine how running out of a natural resource may affect costs and profit, may study the effect of growing poverty on current business models or may examine how green practices and policies can be incorporated into existing systems.

Green responsibility MBA programs, however, vary greatly from school to school. Currently, many students are drawn to programs that focus on energy management. Other programs focus on topics such as manufacturing processes that reduce waste, carbon accounting and green building practices.

The growth of sustainability programs is also due to a growing expectation for businesses to become part of the solution for global problems. Businesses may need to work closely with the public sector to ensure that growth doesn’t negatively impact communities and the environment. Some courses include studies in ethics to help equip graduates with the necessary tools to make tough choices when it comes to sustainability.

Ivy MBA essay application consultants make the path easier to MBA green responsibility programs that are being driven by students who increasingly want to learn skills that will empower them to help create a more sustainable environment and economy. Businesses are increasingly looking to hire graduates with sustainability skills as well. It may well be that in the near future, MBA graduates will need to have extensive knowledge in green responsibility in order to earn their share of green.

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