Future MBA

100 seeds for a sustainable future: Part 6

Alexandre Dang's "Dancing Solar Flowers" exhibit at the 2015 Art Biennale.
Wikimedia Commons
Alexandre Dang's "Dancing Solar Flowers" exhibit at the 2015 Art Biennale.

In 2014, author and TEDx speaker Giselle Weybrecht posted one short idea a day for 100 days exploring how we could rethink business education to produce the leaders that our business and the planet need. The ideas were compiled in a book, "The Future MBA: 100 Ideas for Making Sustainability the Business of Business Educations." As a companion to the ideas in the book, each week for the next 10 weeks, GreenBiz will be posting 10 examples of how schools around the world are bringing some of these ideas to life, creating new opportunities for people and the planet. This is part six of the 10-week series. The series can be found here.

Day 51: Changemaker showcase

The UBC Changemaker Showcase at Sauder School of Business in Canada is an event for anybody interested in making a difference, big or small. Over three days, this annual event offers students the option to pick and choose events that focus on helping them to identify their passions, generate ideas, teach new skills and connect with peers and professionals who can support their journey.

The event is aimed at students who have a local issue they want to improve, an idea for a start-up they want to get off the ground, a project they are looking to fund, or for those who just want to interact and learn something new.

Day 52: Climate change role play

The University of St. Gallen, in collaboration with seven other leading European business schools (including ESADE, Rotterdam School of Management, Warsaw School of Management and Bocconi), takes part in the CEMS Model UNFCCC, a unique course on climate change and its implications for business. It is followed by a two-day simulation of the UN climate negotiations with master-level students from all the participating schools.

The course allows the participating students to increase their knowledge about the global climate challenge and find solutions through hands-on experience. The intense multilateral negotiations provide students with deep insights into what governments can do to successfully address climate change, why global progress on this issue has been slow and what they can do about it as future decision makers in industry and society.

Day 53: Philanthropy university

The University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business commenced the Philanthropy University, which provides free online training to thousands of people and organizations working to achieve social good. 

The regular online courses are taught over several months. There are currently seven non-credit or degree courses covering key skills such as fundraising, strategic planning and scaling for impact offered. This includes courses on “Global Social Entrepreneurship”, “Essentials of Nonprofit Strategy”, “Financial Modelling for the Social Sector” and “How to Scale Social Impact”.

Day 54: Literacy test

Kedge Business School developed the Sustainability Literacy Test, an innovative collaborative platform and learning tool to raise sustainable development awareness and “literacy” while promoting change and action towards sustainability and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Through a series of multiple-choice questions with both a global and local focus, the platform covers the whole scope of sustainability and CSR issues. This test is offered for free to higher education students around the world in order to assess their core knowledge of sustainable development issues and their responsibilities as individuals and members of an organization.

Day 55: Study of human societies

The School of Business and Management – ITB in Thailand has a unique course in its business degree: Study of Human Societies. Every human being has a knowledge set that shapes his or her behavior based on culture, environment, upbringing and experiences. Every decision made — every conduct — reflects that culture. Thus, cultural understanding is important for business practices and for business students. 

Thus, cultural understanding is important for business practices and for business students. The Study of Human Societies course specifically studies human beings. It explores how human behavior can be understood, as well as shaped and affected, by culture and the individual’s environment. The goal is to encourage students to develop empathy for others from different communities and societies, and with different cultural backgrounds, and learn to be more effective managers and business leaders.

Day 56: Dancing solar flowers

Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy, is particularly interested in the use of creative instruments and alternative communication channels to promote a proper understanding and involvement in sustainability issues. One successful area of activity concerns art and sustainability, resulting in projects that stress the link between sustainability and the art world of Art.

This ties the City of Venice, specifically its Art Biennale festival, to some of the University’s main areas of research. In 2015, the university staged Dancing Solar Flowers in the Cortile Grande [main courtyard] of Palazzo Ca’ Foscari during the 56th edition of the Art Biennale. The work was dedicated to renewable energy — especially solar energy — and its potential to meet global energy needs. The installation comprised about 200 flowers “planted” in a lawn made from recycled pallets. Solar energy, produced by a small photovoltaic cell, made the flowers move and “dance”. The aim of this installation was to give a familiar and easily understandable face to solar energy, as its full potential is often hard to grasp.

Day 57: Diversity and inclusion

The Canadian workforce has become more diverse in recent decades and is projected to be more so in the coming years. In response, Canada’s Ted Rogers School of Management has a course that explores the opportunities and challenges of managing and working in diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Population aging and the abolition of mandatory retirement means that a number of generations will be working side by side. With globalization and the greater mobility of workers around the world, racial and ethnic minorities will soon account for one-third of working Canadians, and companies are realizing that they need to embrace this diversity in order to remain competitive. The school’s Global Diversity Exchange think tank focuses on the diversity that is a result of global migration.

Day 58: Integrating

Hanken School of Economics in Finland has several initiatives targeted at educated asylum seekers and immigrants. This includes a Business Lead Program that aims to introduce asylum seekers to Finnish working life, culminating in in a two-month internship with a Finnish company. Another program is an intense, two-day Finish Business Culture course, which focuses on business legislation, Finnish consumer behaviour, marketing to Fins, Finnish negotiation and management style and guidelines on how to establish a company in the country.

Day 59: Eco-cities

The Eco-Innovations in Cities specialization project at Warsaw School of Economics provides a blended learning programme to MA students focused on cities and sustainability. A response to the Europe 2020 strategy, in which sustainable development and sustainable cities are a focal point, and UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 (focused on cities), the program trains undergraduate students to be key actors in making cities more innovative, regardless of chosen career. All students complete field trips to sustainable cities, collaborative projects with students and faculty from other universities around the world and an internship with business, governmental or research organizations.

Day 60: The wellness clinic

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Wellness Clinic is the first student-run physiotherapy clinic in Hong Kong.  This interdisciplinary program, a joint effort of the university’s Faculty of Business and the Department of Rehabilitation, promotes and provides preventive care programs, such as fall prevention and lower back pain prevention, to the community.  These programs are designed, promoted, administered and implemented by students from both disciplines under the supervision of a registered physiotherapist.