Unlocking the Future: The Importance of Teaching Sustainability in MBA Programs

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Organizations have acknowledged the fact that they have a far reaching social and economic impact. Sustainability has been recognized as an issue that needs immediate consideration and owing to this perspective organizations have embedded the principles of sustainability into their business practices (Stubbs & Cockin, 2008).

In response to this paradigm shift, universities who offer MBA have included sustainability – related modules in their curriculum. A study conducted on the top fifty MBA programs in the world indicated that more than 70 percent of the programs offered at least one or more modules on topics related to sustainability (Christensen, et al., 2007).

Sustainability is extremely relevant as it is not limited to a certain function of the business or to an industry alone; but touches aspects of science, technology, geography, culture and economics. Hence, having an understanding of these aspects helps “build global citizens”, who  have a holistic understanding of the business environment and the encompassing issues (Tobal, 2019).

The “World Environment Center” recognized that an understanding of “Geo-political, Economic and Marketplace Trends” pertaining to sustainability as an essential skill required for global leadership. These findings imply that educating MBA students about the three pillars of sustainability is imperative. Live projects, case studies, presentations, experiential learning, industry visits are various mechanisms used by universities to educate MBA students on the challenges and possibilities of running a sustainable business.

However, Yosie (2010) suggests that sustainability should not be made into a stand-alone discipline but rigorously integrated into all the core modules. The understanding of local and global issues related to sustainability will empower MBA students to deal with these issues more effectively in a real time setting. The sustainability challenges will then be viewed by organisations as financial opportunities to create social and environmental value and mitigating ethical risks (Top MBA, 2014).

The MBA programs at Westford University College in affiliation with Cardiff Metropolitan University as well as University of Wolverhampton, UK include modules in ‘sustainability’, which is a testament to the institution’s vision of keeping the MBA program extremely relevant and contemporary.

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