Sustainability is now a big business. Green, sustainable, and health-related products and services account for nearly $230 billion in annual sales. Companies from Nike to GE to McDonalds are integrating sustainability into their operations to minimize risk and increase profits. And an increasing number of academic programs provide training for those interested in helping to create a more sustainable economy, with several Green MBA programs emerging to provide a distinctly green spin on business management.
How Green MBAs Differ from Conventional MBA Programs
Green MBA programs generally teach the triple bottom line. The triple bottom line puts profits on equal par with social and environmental good. (A shorthand many use is people, planet, profits.) In other words, how can you make money and do social and environmental good? This is different from conventional MBA programs, which may offer one or two courses in ethics or sustainability instead of having these issues fully integrated into the program.
Where to Get a Green MBA
The Presidio School of Management offers an MBA program in Sustainable Management. Based in San Francisco, the program involves five four-day weekends each semester to supplement online lecture presentations, conference calls and threaded discussions throughout the year. A critical feature of the Presidio program is that each student develops an “AdVenture” plan, a business plan that draws on everything they learn during their studies.
The New College of California, also based in the San Francisco Bay Area, features a full time on-site two-year program that culminates in a MBA in Sustainable Enterprise.
Bainbridge Graduate Institute, based on scenic Bainbridge Island in Washington, offers both an MBA and a certificate in Sustainable Business. Much of the program is taught through distance education, which is supplemented by monthly intensive face-to-face classroom sessions. Students work with faculty members from top business schools in a curriculum based on research, case studies, and published articles.
What a Green MBA Leads To
The Green MBA is a relatively new invention. It offers a less traditional business career than if you’d come out of a Top Ten MBA program, so don’t expect a $110,000 a year job at a consulting firm. Rather, students with Green MBAs often have an entrepreneurial goal. They want to join companies where they can integrate sustainable practices into the existing business framework, work at nonprofits, or start their own green businesses.
The Triple Pundit is a blog out of Presidio College that covers triple bottom line issues.
Net Impact is a network of MBAs, graduates, students and young professionals working to promote triple bottom line ideals.
Related article: Going Green Without Spending Too Much Green