10 Ways to Turn Any MBA into a Sustainable MBA

10 Ways to Turn Any MBA into a Sustainable MBA

In order to make sustainability the norm, we need to educate the next generation of business leaders in sustainability issues. However, every year thousands of future business leaders and managers are coming out of MBA and other similar programs around the world without an adequate knowledge of not only what sustainability is, but more importantly, how to apply it to their jobs and how it can benefit their business.

The challenge is that most MBA and business programs still do not provide students with this knowledge or even opportunities to explore sustainability within their degrees.

The good news is that, regardless of which kind of MBA or business degree program you choose to pursue, there are countless ways to bring sustainability into your program. Here are ten ways you can do so.

1. Look at the courses and electives list. Most MBA programs are now starting to include sustainability into their core courses or have electives available in this area. If your program does not have these then request them, speak with your professors or MBA office about offering a course next term in this area or even better, embedding it into the courses you are already taking.

{related_content}2. Campus greening. In much the same way as businesses are exploring sustainability, universities are as well. Look at what your university is doing in this area. Is there a sustainability strategy? Is there a campus greening initiative? How can you get involved? Are there recycling bins on campus? Then use them!

3. Internships. Consider taking on a part time job or internship with an organization working in this area. This can be either paid or volunteer and can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year. This can be an excellent opportunity to get some first hand experience in the field you would like to go into post graduation.

4. More on Internships. Even if you take an internship that is not with a company that is specifically working in sustainability, look at ways to incorporate sustainability into your internship.

5. Course work. There are always many opportunities to bring sustainability into your course work as well. What kinds of assignments do you need to do this term? Can you do any of them with a sustainability focus? Several MBA programs require you to do short consulting projects with companies. Look into working with social entrepreneurs, NGOs or businesses exploring sustainability.

6. Look at what is happening in your community/city in this area. There are a growing number of speaker series, conferences and events internationally focused on business and sustainability. Many will have discounted entry or even free entry for students and are an excellent opportunity to learn more about sustainability and to network. Why not organize some on campus?

7. Join a student club. The majority of business schools now have one or several clubs on campus that focus on sustainability issues. There are also some larger international student networks such as Oikos, AIESEC and Net Impact which organize a lot of events in this area and often have local student clubs on campus.

8. Students as consumers. Look at the decisions that you make as a consumer while at school. What kind of school supplies are you buying? What about your business cards? Your commute to school? What you choose to eat and drink after class?

9. Network, network, network. Speak to students and alumni who have worked in this field as well as others working in the areas that you are interested in. Many in the field of sustainability are more than happy to meet and share their experiences.

10. Know your stuff. If you are interested in finding ways to make the business sector more sustainable, make sure you know your stuff. Focus on your business skills and understanding how the sector works so that you can bring sustainability into it.

Many individuals working in sustainability use their MBA as an opportunity to gain the experience to get into the field of sustainability. I used my MBA as an opportunity to explore how you could educate the next generations of business leaders in sustainability.

Giselle Weybrecht is the author of the new book "The Sustainable MBA: The Manager's Guide to Green Business," now available internationally.