Top 5 Green MBA: Stanford's $80,000 Support, Green MBA in Social Entrepreneurship & Sustainability as a Business Strategy

Sustainable MBASustainability has transformed from a buzzword to a Business strategy. Many companies have shown that sustainability can reap profits. Starbucks' Go Green initiative which includes buying only certified organic coffee,  increasing temperature in stores from the typical 72°F to 75°F, buying cabinetry made from 90% post-industrial matter and implementing low-flow water valves has helped the company both increase business and reduce costs.

eBay allows people to buy used goods that would otherwise end up in the garbage dump. The eBay Classifieds helps buying and selling of items that are too bulky to ship within the local community, doing away with shipping and packaging costs. Google uses renewable energy for its power hungry data centers and invest substantially in promoting sustainable living and markets.  The start-up world has also seen some innovative energy efficient startups like Invisenergy, a startup at MIT that uses windowpanes to generate electricity through solar power. The energy can fill nearly 10% of the total building’s energy demands.

Besides Businesses, sustainability finds a platform with social entrepreneurship. Maria Teresa Leal launched Coopa-Roca in a favela - a Brazilian slum. It is a woman’s co-operative where initially fabric remnants were recycled to produce beautiful quilts and pillows. By 1994, Coopa-Roca was making clothes in collaboration with fashion artists around the world, and now has a contract with C&A - a clothes manufacturer from Europe. The Arvind Eye Hospital performs 2 million cataract surgeries a year in India; helped by Aurolab which provides cataract lenses for $5 that otherwise cost $120. This cost difference was brought about by innovative and lean production techniques. Aurolab now produces 10% of the world's lenses and makes a 30% profit on them.

Sustainability in MBA programs is implemented in two ways:

1) A typical MBA with a sustainability concentrations or electives also called as a Sustainable MBA.

2) An MBA where sustainability is threaded into every aspect of the program, also known as Green MBA.

Let us look at the top 5 Green MBA/Sustainable MBA Programs:

1) Presidio Graduate School - MBA in Sustainable Management

The Presidio Graduate School offers an MBA in Sustainable Management, as well as an MBA/MPA dual degree in Sustainable Management. The MBA program can be studied on a Full-time or Part-time basis, and can be completed in 2 or 4 years respectively. Full-time classes are held during 4 residency days a month, for five months. Part-time students have 2 days of classes a month, and the contact hours are the same as the General MBA program. The program also has an intensive online collaborative learning model. The school is located in San Francisco, a global sustainable business and policy hub.

The course prepares students to lead organizations in issues ranging from climate change to cleantech. MBA students are equipped with management theory and practice, as well as leadership skills and ecological & social awareness. The “integrated curriculum” is built around the three basic concepts of Sustainable Systems(Fundamentals of sustainable systems are woven into each and every course),  Leadership(nurtures the capacity to influence positive changes in the self, the team, the organization and society at large) and Business Foundations (economics, capital management innovation and critical thinking, based on sustainability).

2) The Haas School of Business MBA

The Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley offers several green study options. It has two well-known centers - Center for Non-Profit & Public Leadership, and Center for Responsible Business that provides a thrust to the school's sustainable curriculum.

The MBA program offers three areas of concentrations with a green edge. They are Corporate Sustainability, Energy & Clean Technology, and Nonprofit and Public Leadership. Under Corporate Sustainability is the Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund,  which is student run; The Sustainable Products & Solutions (SPS) Program in conjunction with the College of Chemistry and the Moskowitz Research Program studies the investing industry and awards the Moskowitz Prize to teams that have worked on investments in Social Sectors.

Energy and Clean Technology courses are built around the Energy Institute at Haas and offers courses like Energy & Environmental Markets, Cleantech to Market, Energy & Infrastructure Project Finance and the Renewable Energy Speaker Series.  

The Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership at Haas
runs programs like Social Sector Solutions for Nonprofits - a tie-up with McKinsey; Social Sector Solutions for Social Enterprises - a tie-up with The Bridgespan Group; the annual Education Leadership Case Competition; Schwab Charitable Philanthropy Speakers Series and the Berkeley Board Fellows program.

All the three areas of emphasis offer experiential learning opportunities and dedicated career services options.

3) Stanford Graduate School of Business - MBA

Stanford MBA offers a variety of options for students seeking a career in Green Industry. The Public Management and Social Innovation Program prepares MBAs to innovate and create positive environmental, social and economic value systems. It offers more than 50 electives in areas that include environment, international development, nonprofit management, public policy, social entrepreneurship, and CSR. The program provides Certificate in Public Management and Social Innovation for MBAs that involves taking up subjects and experiential learning tasks.

The Impact Labs for social innovation education and the Social Innovation Study Trips are two valuable features of the sustainable MBA program that provides MBAs with exposure to countries like Cambodia, China, Kenya, South Africa and United Arab Emirates.

The Social Innovation Project Fund offers monetary support for short-term consulting projects at organizations visited during the Social Innovation Study Trips. Stanford also offers career assistance with Stanford Management Internship Fund (SMIF) for Students who are completing Summer Internships in social or public sector The GSB Nonprofit/Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to 100% debt repayment forgiveness for that year. Social Innovation Fellowship is another funding option that GSB students and recent alumni can avail with up to three year-long stipends of $80,000 individually or $120,000 per team.

4) Michigan Ross

University of Michigan's Ross School of Business offers a top-class MBA program with a variety of Sustainable options at its two world-renowned centers -  The Nonprofit and Public Management Center & The ERB Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise.

The Nonprofit and Public Management Center aims to educate future leaders in the public and nonprofit, as well as private sectors. It offers courses like Nonprofit Management & Leadership (General  & Topical versions), Advocacy & Social Change, Nonprofit Law & Public Policy, Nonprofit Finance, Fundraising & Development, Social Entrepreneurship and Professional Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility.

The ERB Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise focuses on creating a socially and environmentally sustainable society all around the world, a fact proven by a vast global alumni network in the social sector. It teaches sustainability with a global perspective, transformational leadership skills, systems/strategic thinking, ecological, scientific & technological literacy, Ethics & social responsibility, Cross-sector partnerships, and Entrepreneurship.

5) Dominican University of California - Green MBA

The Dominican University of California is located in the Bay area of Silicon Valley, and offers an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise. Students can complete the course on a Full-time or Part-time basis. The Full-time classes are held on a Saturday and Sunday, twice a month, and can be completed in 2 years. The Part-time classes are held on a Saturday or Sunday, twice a month, and can be completed in 3 years.

The program aims to develop effective leaders who will successfully promote ecologically balanced and socially just ventures in an organization, or as a startup. The program follows a collaborative, project-based approach in developing entrepreneurial as well as intrapreneurial skills. The program is designed around five foundations. They are Sustainability, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Experiential Methodology. It involves working at companies, government bodies and non-profits.

The University's Environmental Finance Center West (EFCWest) promotes sustainable communities with cleaner business strategies, anti-pollution measures, resource reduction and energy conservation. The Venture Greenhouse is an early-stage business incubator as well as an accelerator for environmental and social startups. It offers 5,000 sqft of space for up to 12 companies.

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