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MBA Programs

MBA Rankings: Top Schools for Sustainability

MBA Rankings: Top Schools for Sustainability

Photograph by Tom McGhee/Gallery Stock

As part of the 2012 Best B-Schools ranking, Bloomberg Businessweek asked MBAs from the Class of 2012 to tell us, via an online survey, about the full range of their business school experience, from getting in to getting a job. One section of the survey singled out specific aspects of the business program and asked the students to rate them on a scale from “poor” to “outstanding.” Over the next few weeks, we will publish the top 10 B-schools in each of the nine specialty areas, from diversity to e-business, culminating with publication of the entire specialty MBA ranking, including each of the 82 ranked schools.

Today we look at green business. Of the nine specialty areas, this one provides the most variance among ranked schools, as many programs offer little or no course work in this relatively young subject area. The ranking is based on student responses to a question asking them to rank their program’s green business and sustainability offerings. Points are awarded for each response—one point for “poor” through six points for “outstanding”—and then averaged for each school. The average green business score for all 82 U.S. and international schools in the ranking was 4.25. At the top of the list is the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

It’s no surprise that Ross fares well in the green business ranks, considering that the school is home to the world-renowned Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise.

Within the Erb Institute, students can pursue a dual MBA/MS degree in global sustainable enterprise, taking courses like “Sustainable Finance” and “Green Building,” as well as two internships and two capstone projects in the three-year program. At any given time, 100 students are working toward the dual degree, with about 36 graduating each year, according to the school. Upon earning the global sustainable enterprise degree, a quarter of grads go into energy and raw materials jobs and a fifth go into management consulting jobs. Top employers include Boeing (BA), Ford (F), and McKinsey & Co. Starting salaries are comparable to those earned by MBA grads at Ross entering similar fields. Full-time MBA students can also enroll in many of the green business electives offered through the Erb Institute.

Following Michigan in the green business ranking is Cornell’s Johnson School of Business. Johnson offers a wide variety of green business options for students, including an MBA specialty in sustainable global enterprise (SGE), green business electives such as “Entrepreneurship in the Emerging Sustainable Economy,” and a unique SGE immersion learning option built into the full-time curriculum.

In the SGE immersion program, students spend a semester working on consulting projects that focus on problems sponsor companies are currently facing. Past partner companies have included BP (BP) and BASF (BAS:GR). “The sustainability program at Johnson is the best in the world, and I’ve had a tremendous opportunity to apply sustainable business practices through projects with multiple companies,” says 2012 Johnson MBA grad Will Martin, who now works on climate change strategy at Chevron (CVX).

University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the Yale School of Management, and Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management round out the top five.

Top MBA Programs by Specialty: Sustainability

1. Michigan (Ross) 5.82
2. Cornell (Johnson) 5.76
3. UC Berkeley (Haas) 5.64
4. Yale 5.61
5. Erasmus (Rotterdam) 5.48
6. MIT (Sloan) 5.47
7. North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) 5.43
8. Notre Dame (Mendoza) 5.38
9. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) 5.32
10. George Washington 5.27


Join the discussion on the Bloomberg Businessweek Business School Forum, visit us on Facebook, and follow @BWbschools on Twitter.

Gloeckler is a staff editor for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York.

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