Top Schools with Green MBA Programs Practice What They Teach

Published on April 4th, 2011 | by

The Sustainable Endowments Institute released its fifth College Sustainability Report Card that examines the sustainability practices of colleges and universities with the 300 largest endowments in the United States and Canada, Socialfunds.com reported today.  With the recent proliferation of green and sustainable MBAs in the United States, I often wonder if universities practice what they preach, or should I say teach, as far as sustainability goes.  So I decided to investigate what sustainability grades were earned from the top United State’s universities boasting green MBA programs.  See where your school or alma mater falls.

Following are the top ten universities with MBA programs that integrate issues concerning social and environmental stewardship into the curriculum, according to Beyond Grey Pinstripes (an independent, biennial business school survey and ranking hosted by the Aspen Institute that celebrates coursework, research and activities that prepare MBAs for social, ethical and environmental stewardship).  I have added next to their names the school’s overall sustainability grade as determined by the College Sustainability Report Card:

1 U. of Michigan (Ross):  B
2 Yale School of Management:  A
3 Stanford Graduate School of Business:  A-
4 Notre Dame (Mendoza):  B+
5 UC Berkeley (Haas):  B+
6 NYU (Stern):  B
7 Columbia Business School:  B+
8 U. of Virginia (Darden):  B
9 Cornell (Johnson):  A-
10 GWU School of Business:  B

I was happy to see all of Beyond Grey Pinstripe’s top ten schools achieved grades well above average, indicating that sustainability is not confined within the MBA classroom, but part of the greater policies of the school.  This not only role models sustainability for MBA students but undoubtedly gives them avenues for further learning, experience and application of their course concepts to the actual administration of their universities.

Socialfunds.com reported that six of the nine main categories addressed by the Report Card focus on the operations of colleges and universities, while the importance of the investment activities of endowments can be seen in the other three categories, which seek to measure endowment transparency, investment priorities, and shareholder engagement.

Overall the weakest performances by schools were found in the category of shareholder engagement, where the average grade remained unchanged from last year’s grade of D.  Likewise the performance of the 10-school sample here was very low in this category.  Perhaps more student engagement in this area in particular can boost next year’s grades?

To find out how these and other universities performed in the nine subcategories that comprise their overall sustainability grade, check out the database at College Sustainability Report Card.

Image Credit:  AJC1 via Flickr under CC license.


About the Author

Emily McKinin DeMasi is a 2011 MBA/ MA Public Policy candidate and Peace Corps Fellow at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Her thesis work concerns Corporate Social Responsibility in the United States. She also works as a Research Fellow at Bridgeway Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in downtown Pittsburgh. Emily has worked as an Associate in a Private Equity Placement Firm in NY and as a Water and Sanitation Volunteer in Ivory Coast, West Africa. She hopes to combine her business background with her passion for development and inspire others in the fields of Sustainability and CSR.
  • Ryantyoung

    Thanks for the ratings. I do find it useful. I am curious about one thing thought – why did you take the non-US schools out of the Beyond Grey Pinstripes rankings in your blog?

    • Emily DeMasi

      Thanks for the comment Ryan! There are certainly a lot of international schools doing groundbreaking work in the sustainability field. However, I didn’t include them because the The College Sustainability Report Card only evaluates environmental sustainability efforts at 322 schools in the United States and Canada; therefore I wouldn’t have been able to provide the “grade” portion of the post. But for the top ten list of Beyond Grey Pinstripes for international schools, you can check them out here: http://www.beyondgreypinstripes.org/rankings/topten.cfm

      Thanks again!

    • Thanks for the comment Ryan! There are certainly a lot of international schools doing groundbreaking work in the sustainability field. However, I didn’t include them because the The College Sustainability Report Card only evaluates environmental sustainability efforts at 322 schools in the United States and Canada; therefore I wouldn’t have been able to provide the “grade” portion of the post. But for the top ten list of Beyond Grey Pinstripes for international schools, you can check them out here: http://www.beyondgreypinstripes.org/rankings/topten.cfm

      Thanks again!