Sustainable entrepreneurship program ranks fourth in nation

A UVM master’s program, after graduating its first class in August, has been ranked fourth on the Princeton Review’s list of “Best Green MBAs.”

“The Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA (SEMBA) program is a very unique program; I don’t think there is a program like this anywhere in the world,” said Sanjay Sharma, dean of the Grossman School of Business.

“We feel it should be number one because it is so unique,” he said. “We are much better than the three programs ranked above us.”

   SEMBA is a one-year graduate program designed by UVM faculty to revolutionize the MBA program in place before it, which had a graduating class of eight students per year.

  “We wanted a program that fits with UVM and draws from the strengths of UVM,” Sharma said.

The program was attractive to some students because it framed business as a force for positive change, Bianca Mohn, a student in the program said.

“The SEMBA business education is the way of the future,” Mohn said. “The most successful businesses will be those who maximize the value that they bring, not just to customers but to the environment and society as a whole.”

  What sets UVM’s program apart is a resistance to the common “saddle bag” approach, which most MBAs take, where a few sustainability courses are added onto a standard business curriculum. SEMBA tailors  courses like finance, accounting and marketing to sustainability topics, Sharma said.

    “We delve into the issues of our world, such as economic collapse, poverty and climate change and see how these issues can be solved using the power of business,” SEMBA graduate Kyle Chu said.

SEMBA attempts to immerse students in the world of sustainable business by allowing them to get firsthand experience. Partner businesses range from local companies like Ben & Jerry’s to global businesses like Pepsi.