Ethical and Sustainable Work: Is a Green MBA Necessary?

The prospect of earning a larger income is a major draw for MBA programs, but students also want jobs that match their principles and give them the opportunity to make meaningful contributions in the fields of sustainability and environmental management. Among the many educational pathways to such careers, an MBA may seem an unlikely fit at first glance.

A growing number of businesses are looking for ways to green their operations. This is a recognition of changing priorities among retail consumers and wholesale distributors. Lower prices were once the deciding factor, but this is steadily giving way to concerns about environmental impact. It is also in recognition of the money that can be saved by closing the waste stream.

Green MBA programs are increasingly being offered by the top schools in both the traditional an online settings. Even those schools that have no formal green program will offer electives that provide an entry into the field. There is nothing stopping traditional graduates from pursuing careers in the field.

What is a Green MBA Program?

All MBA programs provide skills useful in managerial and executive positions, and most programs allow specialization in a specific aspect of business, such as human resources, finance, and marketing. A green MBA program consists of the same core requirements and a set of electives that focus on methods of strengthening the bottom line while minimizing the environmental impacts of business.

There is no common curriculum for a green MBA program. Schools will differ in the electives falling under this banner, but some common offerings are:

* Ecological Economics
* Foundations of Sustainability
* EcoCommerce Models
* Green and Social Marketing
* Managerial and Environmental Accounting

It is still possible to receive an MBA specializing in marketing, or any other traditional area, while also learning green skills related to that area. Even if it’s not your ultimate goal to receive an MBA in sustainable business, employers value the diversity of a transcript that includes the green focus.

What Types of Green Jobs Exist for MBA Graduates?

For some types of green-collar jobs, it will certainly be beneficial to formally specialize in the green business model. However, any MBA graduate will have the opportunity to apply for leadership positions that satisfy their needs for income and principled work. Some of the more obvious jobs available include:

* Ecotourism Management
* Ecofashion Design
* Sustainable Operations
* Green Marketing
* Renewable Energy Management

Green business has most of the same needs as traditional business. Landing a job that services these needs may not put you on the front-lines of the sustainability movement, but you will be making the environmentally conscious aspects of the business more viable.

Are Admission Requirements the Same?

Green MBA programs tend to have the same admission requirements as traditional study with one major difference. Candidates are selected by schools partly to fulfill their need to retain and grow prestige. Business schools want students from diverse backgrounds, because they will become alumni who serve as a resource to future graduates. Hence, a green focus from the start can increase your chances of getting into top programs. It is important to remember that the value of any degree is tied to the prestige of the school.

Top schools are offering a wider selection of electives to support green MBA programs. The focus is worthwhile for students interested in sustainability. Green programs can provide a better opportunity for principled work, but any MBA graduate can pursue jobs that support environmentally conscious business practices.

About the Author

David Dubose is a career counselor and freelance blogger. If you’re considering a career in Human Resources he recommends checking out the Best Online Master’s Programs in HR to learn more about where to go to earn your Masters in HR.

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