New youth council targets sustainable business education

Student leaders prod business schools to modernize how they teach about the climate crisis and income inequality

Impatient for transformational solutions, a handful of sustainability-focused undergraduate student leaders in Canada have joined forces to mobilize youth and prod business schools to modernize how they teach about the climate crisis, income inequality and related issues.

The Canadian Business Youth Council for Sustainable Development, officially in operation this month, is on a mission to share knowledge and drive change – with youth leading the charge.

“Youth have a tremendous role to play in changing business education and also changing the field of sustainable business development,” says council chairman Maxime Lakat, a McGill University Destautels Faculty of Management commerce undergraduate.  “Student organizations like the ones in the council can be tremendous agents of change.” He is also co-president of the Desautels Sustainability Network, one of seven student-led business school sustainability associations that founded the council.

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Joining academic forces generates a win for sustainability

Multidisciplinary degrees at universities of Calgary, Guelph and McMaster bring real-world approach to green business

Kristin Skelton returned home from overseas in 2014 when the economy of her home province of Alberta was at a low ebb.

“I was applying for a lot of jobs and not getting anywhere,” says Skelton, a sociology undergraduate with a work internship in Washington, D.C., and teaching experience in Asia.

She decided to return to school for a graduate degree, spotting an intriguing program at the University of Calgary. A 16-month Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Development, offered jointly by Haskayne School of Business, Schulich School of Engineering and the university’s faculties of Law and Environmental Design, hit the right notes with its interdisciplinary approach to sustainable energy.

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Business schools up the grade on sustainability

Top schools say the time is now to get serious about greening MBAs

There have been some promising signs of progress in business education of late. Special issues of top-tier academic journals are being devoted to sustainability and the climate crisis. New core and elective business-school courses are exploring United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. More scholars interested in sustainability are being hired.

Much heavy lifting remains, but sustainability-linked topics are increasingly being integrated into core and elective courses at business schools – an encouraging development as Corporate Knights publishes its 2019 “Better World” MBA global rankings. This year, 146 schools (up from 141 in 2018) were evaluated for their sustainability performance, based on publicly available data, on faculty research, citations in top journals, core course content and relevant research institutes and centres.

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MBA grads paying big dividends for the world

Meet three business school graduates leading ventures with social impact

For three business school graduates, one common thread is a commitment to communities and clients. Here are their stories:

Cristine Sousa

Managing director of New Generation Consulting

Cristine Sousa, with a strong family history of community engagement, arrived in Portugal in 2014 on a full scholarship for a master’s of international management at the Nova School of Business and Economics. The two-year program, including a six-month exchange at Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management, is offered through Nova’s membership in a global alliance of business schools known as CEMS. For her degree, Sousa specialized in social enterprises.

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Oxford includes public impact as part of tenure; McGill students green business school

Sometimes, a small change sends a big message.

Evidence of impact will be included as an optional component of tenure applications this fall at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, beyond the usual measures of research output, teaching and service.

Those seeking a permanent post can submit evidence of their research impact on, say, improving corporate practices, public policy or social good, with an evaluation by internal and external reviewers as in a traditional tenure process.

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Training the next generation of Indigenous leaders

More business schools are introducing Indigenous-focused programs

There’s an urgent need to equip a new generation of First Nation, Métis and Inuit leaders for success. A small group of Canadian business schools are responding with for-credit, Indigenous-focused programs, and they’re looking for others to join them.

“We’re in survival mode,” declares Joy Cramer, a member of Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, a long-time aboriginal advocate and, as of last January, the director of Indigenous programs at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. According to Cramer, Canada’s dark history of residential school abuse has meant that Indigenous people “are trying to survive after decades and decades of what we’re now saying is attempted genocide and genocidal activities towards us as people.”

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