We take a closer look at the MBA and sustainability with Jerry Davis, Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Read on for how students at the leading business school can learn about sustainability through the curriculum, initiatives and more.
Clear Admit: How does the curriculum for full-time MBA students support leadership in sustainability, or how is it evolving to do so?
Jerry Davis: Michigan Ross students have a variety of paths they can take to acquire the skills necessary to be leaders in sustainability:
One, students have the opportunity to enroll in the Erb Institute, a three-year, joint MBA/MS program in collaboration with the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS). More than 500 students have graduated from Erb since its 1996 inception. Erb students are leaders at Ross and serve as embedded experts in classes across the school.
Two, MBA students can pursue the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concentration in the standard two-year timeframe. This program, launched in Fall 2023, was developed in partnership with student leaders and faculty. Out of 57 total credits, students acquire 12 credits through a collection of classes within Ross and SEAS. Some course examples include Strategies for Sustainable Development, Sustainability Finance: Investment Model for Green Growth, Poverty & Inequality, and Frameworks for Understanding Social Impact Organizations. Co-curricular events, such as ESG data training and outside speakers, are also offered to students.
Three, all students have 25-30 elective credits available to them. They are encouraged to take classes tied to sustainability so they gain a new perspective.
CA: What additional resources, such as clubs, centers, etc., are available for those who want to pursue careers in sustainability?
JD: We have several opportunities, including:
- ClimateCAP Summit 2024 (student-led)
- Ross Climate Week 2023 (student-led)
- Business + Impact
- Ross Impact Studio incubates student businesses focused on climate change and racial justice
- BA670 Impact Studio course trains students to design equitable enterprises for the green-energy transition (especially in Detroit). Outputs include an online resource guide for small businesses to enable them to build on resources such as the Inflation Reduction Act: https://www.greenbiztransition.com/
- Ross Venture Funds (including Social Venture Fund) (student-led)
- Map out your impact opportunities on campus
- Erb Student Advisory Board (SAB)
- Energy Club
- Food, Bev, and Ag Club
- Net Impact
CA: How is your business school embracing sustainable practices in terms of campus life? Are there any environmentally-friendly features you would like to highlight about the facilities?
JD: We have several practices, including:
- Community compost bins throughout the building
- Opportunity to host Zero-Waste events
- Green Team – established in 1993 to reduce environmental impact and further the university’s sustainability goals
- LEED Silver certification for Ross building and LEED Gold for Blau Hall
- The University of Michigan has set carbon neutrality goals for itself to achieve by 2025.
CA: Do you have any future plans related to sustainability that you’d like to share?
JD: Michigan Ross will be hosting the ClimateCAP Summit in 2024.