Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Other Sustainable MBA Programs...

I have heard about Presidio, Green MBA, New College, and Green Mountain College's on-line MBA program over the past few years. In all the conversations I have had with people that were looking specifically for programs that integrate and intertwine sustainable thinking into their MBA programs, these are the institutions that topped the list. In those same conversations, BGI is the one that stands out. Now, the fact that the people I spoke with are either employed by, current students of, or recent graduates of BGI has nothing to do with it., right? I am certain that these institutions offer a fine education, and may have features of their programs that make them more attractive to some students (on-line only, location, curriculum, etc.). I owe it to myself to do some more data gathering on these schools and make my own educated decision on where to focus my efforts.

To that end, I visited Presidio's website this morning for some more reading. I have to say that the initial impression is one of much more formality, almost "stodginess". It's interesting to me that one can draw certain conclusions based solely on the "feel" of a website (or any other piece of marketing communication). The language used, the layout, the photographs, heck, even the font makes an impression. Every site is designed for a purpose, and I am certain that the folks at Presidio had their's designed for the message they're trying to convey. The admissions calendar is different and the admissions process is different. I am interested in learning some more about it, specifically speaking with students that are either attending or graduated and live on the east coast.

The most recent program I learned about, via a press release on CSRWire, is Marlboro College's Managing for Sustainability MBA. It seemed a bit coincidental that they are starting the program this fall as I seriously consider pursuing a sustainable MBA program. The incoming class of 2009 will be the first cohort; that will be exciting and challenging. From what I can gather, the Marlboro program borrowed from, and with the blessing of, BGI. Despite the fact that it's a "start-up" MBA, the fact that there is a sister organization to help guide their execution is a bit reassuring. Oh, and then there's the location element. Marlboro is in Brattleboro, VT, a heck of a lot closer to Boston than Bainbridge (a mere 2950 miles closer). From a life convenience perspective, it would certainly be nice, and the CO2 emissions associated with traveling to Brattleboro, VT v. Seattle, WA will be significantly less.

There are many factors that go into a person's decision to advance their education; career change, career advancement within one's company, intellectual curiosity, boredom, uncertainty about what to do next, pursuit of a passion, structure, development of a new network, business opportunities, etc. Some people just like school. I'd have to say that 6 of the 8 items I just listed apply to me. I suppose the biggest risk involved in pursuing an MBA in a specialized field like "sustainability" is the potential for businesses familiar with traditional MBAs to discount the education as second rate or sub-par. On the other hand, a successful graduate of an innovative "new" enterprise may be looked at as an entrepreneurial type. I am certain that the programs are adequate and perhaps even superlative, but only time will tell how their graduates perform. What's that old saying, "you get out of an education what you put into it."? Sounds about right.

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