MBA in Sustainability prepares leaders in vital evolving field

The Graduate School of Management (GSOM) at Clark University now offers an MBA concentration in sustainability, an innovative program focusing on the critical business and management skills corporate leaders need to effect global change and be true stewards of the environment.

Clark’s program couples the principles of environmental sustainability with the business strategies and fundamentals necessary to achieve responsible management at both the local and global level. This MBA curriculum considers the impact of multinational and multiorganizational supply chain partnerships and the worldwide environmental influence of corporations large and small.

“GSOM has been offering sustainability courses for more than 15 years, and through this concentration we are formalizing our offerings by providing students with a chance to be recognized as tomorrow’s sustainability leaders in their organizations,” said Joseph Sarkis, GSOM professor of management and a leading global expert in green supply chain management and operations sustainability.

An MBA in Sustainability from Clark will prepare graduates for today’s evolving job market—one in which for-profit and not-for-profit organizations increasingly seek sustainability managers with both a background in science and a deep understanding of strategy, business processes, management practices and government policy. The Clark program will provide students with the cross-disciplinary knowledge and the critical thinking skills to work effectively across multiple organizations and stakeholders—and effect positive economic, environmental, and social change.

Corporations from Wal-Mart to General Electric to EMC rely on the multi-faceted expertise of their sustainability directors, consultants, and supply chain managers to make the smart, responsible choices their customers and investors increasingly expect. From small towns to major metropolitan areas, communities seek sustainability professionals who foster organizational sustainable behavior, manage projects, and technologies that will ensure regional and global progress.

“We feel that this is a direction that all forward thinking organizations have planned,” Sarkis added. “The knowledge in management and organizational sustainability is continually evolving. We feel it is of critical importance to our community and stakeholders to offer a concentrated educational opportunity that is globally second to none.”

As organizations increasingly realize the importance of sustainability, the career landscape has evolved to include a new role: the chief sustainability officer (CSO), responsible for leading sustainability initiatives throughout the organization. Students in Clark’s MBA in Sustainability program—with grounding in business strategy, leadership, finance, operations, energy and environmental management—are fully prepared to lead and succeed in this pioneering field.

“Having worked in the corporate world for 12 years it was apparent that sustainability was quickly becoming a trend in the same way quality management did in the ’80s, and Clark has allowed me the opportunity to get ahead of the game and bring new knowledge to my corporate operations teams,” said Jason Collier, Director of Operations at The Hanover Insurance Group, who is studying Management & Sustainability/Social Change at Clark. “It has given me the edge to stay a step ahead of everyone else.”

As part of Clark’s program, students will gain hands-on experience in sustainability management through projects and internships in the Greater Worcester area, allowing opportunities to hone critical thinking skills and learn to evaluate the complexities of managerial decision-making among multiple organizations and stakeholders.

Students will have the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills while:

• Helping large and small local businesses to go green
• Designing products, services, and processes as eco-entrepreneurs
• Taking part in Worcester’s initiatives to become a green city
• Designing an eco-friendly food system in China
• Developing sustainability plans for local townships

Many Clark faculty are business owners themselves and bring to the classroom their first-hand experience in sustainability management. Several serve as directors of area sustainability programs and as expert consultants and advisers to numerous organizations. Will O’Brien, Clark Executive-in-Residence, serves as director of the Worcester Sustainable Business Leader Program, a nonprofit that helps organizations reduce operating costs, improve business practices, and minimize their environmental footprint. O’Brien indicated that “students enrolled in the Sustainability-track MBA will have the opportunity to work with local organizations, apply their knowledge and help them become environmentally sustainable.”

Clark faculty members’ groundbreaking research in environmental sustainability at the local, regional, and global levels gives students valuable exposure to developing theory and solutions—long before these concepts appear in textbooks, O’Brien added.

Integrated with Clark’s International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) program, the MBA concentration in sustainability provides an opportunity to work with a community of distinguished scholars and practitioners dedicated to fostering social change. IDCE’s transdisciplinary approach enables students to approach environmental sustainability, social justice, and global economics from diverse perspectives. The MBA in Sustainability community of advisers and participants includes business executives, scientists, and sustainability experts from a range of industries and organizations. These professional participants in the program work directly with students, serving as mentors, career counselors, and as links to the external community.

For more information, contact 508-793-7406 or clarkmba@clarku.edu.

Since its founding in 1887, Clark University in Worcester, Mass., has a history of challenging convention. As an innovative liberal arts college and research university, Clark’s world-class faculty leads a community of creative thinkers and passionate doers and offers a range of expertise. Clark is nationally recognized in the areas of psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. Clark’s students, faculty and alumni embody the Clark motto: Challenge convention. Change our world.
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