One of the reasons that Layla El Zein, a successful telecommunications engineer in Lebanon, decided to go to business school was that she was interested in turning her charity work into a full-time job.
“I felt that I had much more to give than volunteering,” she said. She chose the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University partly because of its M.B.A. program’s focus on sustainability. “Their sustainability initiatives are really clear and tough, and they prioritize it,” she said.
As a student in the program, she was able to secure an internship with Oxfam in the Netherlands, where she is working to test the feasibility of impact investment.
Whether because of increased student demand or new hiring strategies among employers, business schools are paying greater attention to environmental issues. And while they are integrating sustainability into their curriculums, experts debate how these topics should be best taught, both inside and outside the classroom.
“There are a growing number of programs that say that they train students in sustainability,” said Nancy McGaw, deputy director of the Business and Society Program at the Aspen Institute, which until recently published a comprehensive MBA ranking focused on social and environmental impact.
The ranking, which Aspen stopped compiling in March, listed the top five as Stanford; York University, in Toronto; IE University, in Madrid; Notre Dame, in Indiana
; and Yale. Rotterdam was No.19.
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