BSAD to market new MBA

Katy Cardin

As the number of business schools implementing sustainable programs continues to rise, UVM’s School of Business has capitalized on the University’s academic strengths and launched an MBA program in Sustainable Entrepreneurship. 

A Faculty Committee focused on creating an MBA that would make the School of Business better developed the eight month-long program, business school Dean Sanjay Sharma said

“These Faculty Committees spent hundreds of hours reviewing successful MBA programs around the world, the market trends and how the School of Business could be different,” Sharma said. “They talked to current students and to alumni.

“We then presented the program to the whole faculty of the Business School for a vote and then we presented the new program to the Graduate College, the Provost and the Faculty Senate.”

The program will officially start in fall 2014 and is just now opening up its application process, he said.

Several things differentiate this program from sustainable  programs at other universities, Sharma explained. 

“The program is only one year long [and] it consists of eight months of classroom learning and four months of hands-on experiences in business,” he said. “Because sustainability is taught in all courses not only in a few electives and because entrepreneurs will be in the classroom with the faculty helping apply the conceptual and theoretical ideas to actual sustainable ventures.”

The program is interdisciplinary, drawing from professors in the Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources, the Gund Institute, Vermont Law School and the School of Business Administration, according to a University Communications release. 

“The program needs to be interdisciplinary because this MBA addresses profits, people and the planet,” Sharma said. “Understanding concepts of social equity, environmental footprint, environmental laws, et cetera [is] as important as running a business well.”

Courses for the program include “Building the Brand of a Sustainable Enterprise”, “Innovation, Product & Service Design”, “Entrepreneurship Leadership” and more.

Sustainable Vermont-based businesses such as Ben & Jerry’s, Burton Snowboards and Green Mountain Coffee will also be a part of the program, with company leaders forming an advisory board to work with the students and faculty, the release stated.

Business student and President of Alpha Kappa Psi, UVM’s business fraternity, senior Hunter Capobianco said he thinks the program fits in well with the University’s “green” reputation.

“The program sounds like a good way to keep students thinking green while providing them with the skills to build a career,” Capobianco said.

According to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek from January, in the “2012  Best B-School Rankings” where recent MBA graduates were asked to rank their business schools in different areas, the top three schools were the University of Michigan, Cornell and UC Berkeley.

The goals for UVM’s program are to recruit between 50 and 60 students and to make the program recognizable as one of the top 10 programs of its kind, Sharma said.

“We have just started our marketing efforts [and] we have received around 50 requests for information,” he said.