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Ten Best Green MBA Programs

August 27, 2011
 The hot recruiters on campus these days are the firms that promote values revolving around sustainability and the building of communities. These job opportunities are spurring green coursework, and many business school administrators say that “greener” curriculum changes are a necessity if graduates are preparing to search for jobs in a global economy where businesses are increasingly expected to solve the planet’s problems. Or at the very least, not make them any worse.

In a world beset by environmental woes, it’s the business schools’ responsibility to educate and train a new generation of students pursuing MBAs to make wise business decisions.

Based on my research, as well as asking the experts, the following appear to be the top choices for a green MBA. Note that they are not “ranked” and this list may be modified accordingly.

Number 1

Presidio Graduate School

Offering a dual MBA and MPA in Sustainable Management, the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco has built a curriculum based around three central concepts: sustainable systems, leadership, and business foundations.

Number 2

Stanford University

Its Graduate School of Business now offers a twist, though, in the form of a Business Strategies for Environmental Sustainability program. The program covers a range of issues related to sustainable business, and “explore[s] what it means to turn sustainable business practices into competitive advantage.”

Number 3

Bainbridge Graduate Institute

Their motto “Changing Business for Good” says it all. The institute has taken a different approach by not merely “greenifying” a conventional MBA program, but constructing a specific MBA in Sustainable Business. The goal of the program is to “prepare graduates to create and manage successful, dynamic enterprises that build a better world.”

Number 4

Yale University School of Management

The more conventional business school at Yale has been infusing its MBA program with a more sustainable agenda. It has incorporated partnerships between the Yale Center for Business and the Environment and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, hoping to create opportunities for greater strides in both fields.

Number 5

Columbia Business School’s Social Enterprise Program

The Social Enterprise Program (SEP) at Columbia Business School provides a framework for students to think in broader terms about their role in business and society, and prepares them with the knowledge and experience to respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

Number 6

Notre Dame MBA program at the Mendoza College of Business

The school’s sustainability courses focus on topics such as “greening” the supply chain and improving environmental accounting. The College also features lecture series, including Ten Years Hence, that bring speakers to campus to discuss how environmental concerns can be better incorporated into business practices.

Number 7

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School

The Center for Sustainable Enterprise (CSE) at UNC Kenan-Flagler helps leaders learn how to bring profits to a triple bottom line. A triple bottom line blends doing the right thing for people and the planet with business goals in ways that are well suited to growing mature markets and to moving into emerging markets.

Number 8

Portland State University

PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions provides leadership, guidance and catalytic investment for students, faculty, and partnerships from a diverse array of academic disciplines.

Number 9

The University of Michigan

The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is attempting to be green both within its core curriculum and the very architectural structure in which classes take place. It considers itself one of the world leaders in research and academic programming relating to sustainable enterprise, and uses its building as a demonstration of their commitment to the field.

Number 10

Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management

The center views solutions to environmental and social problems as business opportunities, not a cost of doing business. They frame the solutions to these complex issues as new business growth rooted in innovation and enterprise development.

If you’re interested in pursuing a Green MBA but prefer learning on your laptop as opposed to classrooms, I’ll cover these virtual degrees in an upcoming post.


This piece was originally published in my Sustainable Career series on Thrifty&

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