How to Get a Green Business Education


April 8th, 2011

As the green economy continues to expand, more companies are looking for ways in which they can apply sustainable business practices to their day-to-day operations. Other organizations see an opportunity to grow in an environmentally responsible manner. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics points to the renewable energy industry — a key piece to the green economy. This sector, which is experiencing rapid growth, also generates thousands of U.S. jobs. Many business degree seekers may be reconsidering their career goals and are interested in enrolling in a program that will make their bank account and the planet a little bit greener. Entrepreneur Media recently teamed with The Princeton Review to identify 16 business schools that they felt offered a strong green education. Administrators and students from 325 graduate schools of business were surveyed regarding their institutions’ academics, curricula, campus policies and student services as well as their relation to the environment, sustainability and social responsibility. “Ground-floor trends for entrepreneurs in green business are approaching fever pitch, with big opportunities in everything from clean tech to sustainability management, ecological restoration and more,” said Amy Cosper, vice president and editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine. Based on Entrepreneur and The Princeton Review’s list, here are a few academic institutions where environmentally conscious students can receive a green business education.

  • Babson College: Students who enroll in this Massachusetts-based college can take advantage of more than a dozen green-themed courses – including Imagining Sustainability, Water in America and Social Responsibility in Malaysia. In addition to offering green education options, Babson practices what it teaches. Between 2005 and 2010, the college reduced its consumption of electricity and fuel by 19 and 15 percent, respectively.
  • New York University: At the university’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, MBA students have the opportunity to select the social innovation and impact specialization. This area of concentration provides a blend of economic and environmental perspectives, according to the institution’s official website. Students who choose this specialization will acquire the conceptual strategies, frameworks and skills that are necessary to provide for-profit and nonprofit organizations with social and economic value. Among this specialization’s available courses are Energy and the Environment as well as Introduction to Environmental and Social Sustainability.
  • University of North Carolina: This MBA program at this university’s Kenan-Flagler Business School offers a concentration in sustainable enterprise. The institution’s official website states that through this area of study, enrollees can learn how to improve a company’s bottom line, society and the environment simultaneously. Students who choose this option may take such courses as Social Entrepreneurship, Environmental Strategy and Sustainability Immersion.
  • Duke University: The university’s Fuqua School of Business in North Carolina allows students who are enrolled in its MBA program to focus on energy and environmental studies, according to the institution’s official website. This MBA concentration provides students with knowledge regarding the energy industry, tools for analyzing environmental problems and strategies that can be used to advance in the evolving business world. Through a variety of available courses, students have the opportunity to choose offerings that best reflect their interests. Available classes include Sustainable Business Strategy, Energy Technology and Markets for Electric Power.
  • Other options: Other schools on Entrepreneur and The Princeton Review’s list include Brandeis University in Massachusetts, Portland State University in Oregon, the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “These schools deserve kudos for their exceptional commitment to environmental and social responsibility issues both in their institutional policies and their academic offerings,” added Robert Franek, senior vice president, publishing for The Princeton Review.

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