Aspen Institute gives Heller MBA high marks for social and environmental stewardship in business education

Brandeis University’s Heller School MBA program ranks forty-five out of 149 business programs worldwide included in Beyond Grey Pinstripes’ just-out biennial survey of innovative full-time MBA programs that integrate issues of social and environmental stewardship into curricula and research. Of Boston-area MBA programs, the Heller MBA ranks third out of 7 programs, ahead of those at Boston College, Boston University, UMass and MIT.

“This ranking is quite an accomplishment for such a small program,” noted Heller Dean Lisa Lynch. “We’re thrilled that the Heller MBA is being recognized for the socially responsible business leadership education it provides.”

The alternative rankings, conducted by the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, look at how well full-time, accredited MBA programs incorporate social, environmental and ethical issues into the training of future business executives. Approximately 80,000 pages of data were collected from 149 participating schools around the world, according to the Institute’s website.

The survey ranked programs in four areas: availability of relevant courses—courses that contain social, ethical or environmental content; second, student exposure to such courses; third, relevant courses on for-profit impact; in other words, do any of the courses in the program explicitly discuss how business can be an engine for improving social or environmental conditions? The fourth criterion measured faculty research—to what extent to professors explore environmental and social issues in their own research?

Heller’s MBA received particularly high marks, with a ranking of 7, for student exposure to social, environmental and/or ethical issues within the coursework. “All of our students take courses that build their business skills in the context of social, ethical and environmental challenges,” said Jody Hoffer Gittell, director of the Heller MBA program. “Our program reflects an understanding that social and environmental responsibility are as important as financial responsibility.”

The Aspen Institute’s alternative ranking represents a growing awareness among MBA programs that the next generation of business leaders need not only financial education, but the skills to tackle social, environmental and ethical challenges.

“Heller’s MBA students acquire the skills necessary to lead organizations that are pursuing multiple bottom lines, meeting financial goals, fostering staff development, preserving the environment, and working to resolve society’s most pressing problems,” said Gittell.


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