The New York Times featured the Bard MBA in Sustainability on the Green Blog in January. New York Times writer Jim Witkin highlighted the growing demand for sustainability-focused MBA programs and illustrated how the Bard MBA in Sustainability will be one of the first programs on the East Coast to meet that demand. The post includes an insightful conversation with Director Eban Goodstein.
The article is reproduced here:
For Entrepreneurial ‘Change Agents,’ a Green M.B.A.
By Jim Witkin
As we noted in a post in August about a new survey, an increasing number of colleges are beginning to offer courses or entire programs devoted to green business practices in response to growing demand.
Such programs teach students how to manage a business’s social and environmental impact in addition to focusing on profits. The latest school to add its name to this list is Bard, the liberal arts college 90 miles north of New York City, which this month announced that it would begin offering an M.B.A. program centering on sustainability.
The two-year program will be based in New York City, and classes are to begin next fall. Eban Goodstein, the program’s director, said in an interview that the new M.B.A. would integrate sustainable business principles into the entire curriculum in a way that parallels programs offered by the Presidio Graduate School and the Bainbridge Graduate Institute on the West Coast.
In this format, classes meet over long weekend residencies once a month, five times a semester. During the semester, students are required to take part in online instruction between the residencies.
Requiring students in the program to meet in person just once a month should attract applicants, visiting faculty members and experts in sustainability from a wider geographic area, Dr. Goodstein hopes. That format should also support the program’s sustainability-themed curriculum, he said.
“We are taking advantage of the weekend structure to integrate classes around particular themes,” Dr. Goodstein said, “For example, classes on leadership, economics, accounting and sustainability will coalesce on different weekends around themes like ‘the new information landscape’ or ‘stakeholders and communication.’ ”
To gain real-world business experience, first-year students in the program will also participate in the NYCLab, a yearlong internship-style consultancy that involves working on projects with area businesses, government agencies and nonprofits.
Dr. Goodstein anticipates that many graduates will start their own green-minded businesses and that others will work for established companies as “intrapreneurs,” blending sustainability initiatives into every function of a business, including operations, marketing, finance and strategy.
Dr. Goodstein, who also teaches within the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, said he was motivated to start the M.B.A. program because some people embarking on a business career really do see themselves as “change agents” — individuals who “come to get an education so they can have an impact on the world.”
At the same time, solving environmental problems “has become more than just a policy issue,” he said. “Business is now a critical component of the solution.”