School Graduates First 'Sustainable Business' MBAs
“We’re both thrilled and extremely proud to announce our first class of MBA graduates,” said Gifford Pinchot, the school’s co-founder, business consultant, and best-selling author. “These students helped create a program that is forging new ground in business training – training that an increasing number of people want.”
Founded in 2002 by Pinchot, his wife Elizabeth and Dr. Sherman Severin, BGI’s MBA program is growing rapidly. The school enrolled its first class of 18 MBA students in the fall of that year; in fall 2003 the school admitted another 21 students. Next year the school plans to increase enrollment by 100 percent, admitting an additional 50 students.
What makes BGI unique is its innovative curriculum, which preserves the rigor of a traditional MBA program, while infusing corporate ethics, environmental sustainability and social responsibility throughout every course.
“More than ever before, major companies are moving away from the view that social and environmental issues should simply be managed, and instead are embracing sustainability and social ethics as a core business strategy, “ said Rick Bunch, BGI’s executive director.
“In fact, the ‘green economy’ now represents more than $230 billion in socially and environmentally responsible products and $2.2 trillion in responsible investments,” added Bunch. “MBA programs everywhere have begun to recognize the importance of sustainability in business, but are slow to make the necessary curriculum changes. Our flexible, independent program allows BGI’s curriculum to keep pace with the rapidly evolving needs of the sustainable business market. ”
Distinguished business-school professors and business innovators from around the world teach at BGI, including internationally known experts like Amory Lovins and John Ehrenfeld. The school emphasizes entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, and innovation training, as most graduates will be leading new initiatives either within existing companies and organizations or by starting new sustainable businesses.
“BGI is revolutionizing the way business is taught,” said graduating student Claire Bradshaw. “And the professional caliber of the founders and teaching faculty at the school is amazing.”
The program combines distance learning with monthly, face-to-face classroom sessions. Current students are located across the U.S. from diverse professional backgrounds, from major companies like Hewlett Packard and Ben and Jerry’s to nonprofit enterprises like Ten Thousand Villages to government agencies like NOAA and the U.S. Navy
“I would have never gone to a traditional business school – it just didn’t fit with my personal goals,” said Kelly ScottHanson, chief operating officer of Cohousing Resources and co-author of the upcoming book, The Cohousing Handbook. “BGI’s program is both consistent with my values and has provided invaluable business training. As a result, I’ve been able to reposition my company to compete for larger, more complex contracts.”
In addition to the MBA program, BGI also offers a Certificate Program in Sustainable Business and periodically opens individual classes to the public.
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