For most graduate business students, the decision to pursue an MBA is sparked by the decision to change or accelerate a career. An MBA can provide the opportunity to develop important knowledge and skills to help transition to a new field, prepare for upward progression in one’s current organization, and start a new business. A well designed “Green” or “Sustainable” MBA does all this, and more, because it also allows students to pursue their passion to make a positive difference in the world. The compelling benefits of a Green or Sustainable MBA, combined with the growing demand for professionals with sustainable business knowledge and skills, has led to a growing interest in Green and Sustainable MBA programs.
The market has been inundated with Green and Sustainable MBA programs, and it has become increasingly difficult for prospective students to tell which programs are “authentic” – defined as those who “walk the talk” in a truly sustainable way. As a former Vice President of Marketing of Stonyfield Farm and Seventh Generation, Green Mountain College’s MBA Program Director Karen Martinsen Fleming has a lot of experience in authentic green brands and managing the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits. We sat down with her to find out what she believes to be the most important criteria for selecting an authentic Green or Sustainable MBA program:
1) Is the college that offers the Green/Sustainable MBA program known for sustainability? Sustainability is incredibly complex and requires dedicated time and effort to learn and implement. Does the school have an environmental mission that goes beyond simple teaching? How long has the program been actively addressing and advocating for sustainability issues? Find out the history and the depth of your potential program’s commitment to green teaching and practices.
2) Are the faculty teaching in the Green/Sustainable MBA program experienced in sustainable business and education? Managing the triple bottom line of people, planet, profit is also incredibly complex. A truly sustainable MBA program will be a home to faculty with long business careers, including those who are practitioners in sustainable business.
3) Are graduates of the Green/Sustainable program successful? Graduates of any truly sustainable MBA program should be starting new businesses, transitioning to sustainability leadership positions in small and large organizations, as well as helping to guide their current organizations to become more sustainable. Educate yourself on the outcomes of graduates with sustainable MBAs as well as the strength of alumni networking.
4) Can you complete your studies online? Online learning eliminates the time, expense, and carbon emissions associated with commuting to school, so it is a more environmentally friendly option. Online learning also allows students to obtain their MBA degree while working full or part time.
The benefits of a Green MBA are compelling and the number of Green and Sustainable MBA program offerings continues to increase. But, just as with green brands, some of the programs are more authentically green than others, so do your research and stay ahead of the curve.
An award winning leader in environmental liberal arts education and sustainability, Green Mountain College offers the premier online Sustainable MBA Program. Before joining Green Mountain College as Associate Professor and Director of the Sustainable MBA Program, Karen Martinsen Fleming was Vice President of Marketing at Stonyfield Farm and Seventh Generation. She is currently authoring two books on sustainable strategy and sustainable marketing.