Six years ago when Sanjay Sharma took over as dean of the University of Vermont’s Grossman School of Business, he set his sights on an ambitious goal: to become the top MBA program in the country for sustainable innovation.
A few weeks ago, that happened, as UVM’s Sustainable Innovation MBA topped the Princeton Review’s 2018 list of “Best Green MBA” programs. UVM replaced the University of Oregon, which dropped to No. 4 behind second-place Yale and Portland State, followed by No. 5 Stanford University.
The decision seemed risky to replace a traditional MBA program with the nation’s first one-year AACSB-accredited MBA focused entirely on sustainable innovation, but Sharma believed it was good timing. The program meets a growing demand by companies seeking managers to guide them toward financial, social, and environmental impact. It seeks to educate managers so that they could develop profitable business solutions to societal needs and demands for the future, he said.
The rankings are based on student assessments of how well their school is preparing them in environmental/sustainability and social responsibility issues, and for a career in a green job market. The UVM program was also included in The Princeton Review’s list of the 267 Outstanding On-Campus MBA programs based on surveys of 23,000 students attending business schools and administrators at the graduate schools.
The program’s curriculum revolves around teaching sustainable business practices, followed by a three-month practicum where students work with companies all over the world on a special project. Upon completion, the program has a wide networking effort to place students with mentors, and ultimately, jobs.