MBA in Sustainable Business

Jul 18, 2018

This article introduces readers to options for sustainable Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees. The different degree options are covered along with admissions information and common coursework.

A sustainable or 'green' Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate program that incorporates a major focus on social and environmental responsibility into the standard management-level business training coursework.

General Program Information

There are a few different options when it comes to sustainable MBA programs. Some schools offer a discrete sustainable MBA, while others. Some offer a sustainable or green track or concentration as a part of their standard MBA program. And some schools offer a graduate certificate program in sustainable business management that can be obtained after completing a standard MBA (or another type of master's degree). Sustainable MBA programs are available both online and on campus.

What makes a sustainable MBA different from a standard one? There is a central focus on social, economic and environmental sustainability. This type of MBA emphasizes business practices that address potentially ruinous global issues such as pollution, economic stratification and the exhaustion of non-renewable resources.

Sustainable MBA programs are available both online and offline.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements can vary greatly by program. Students entering any kind of full MBA program (as opposed to a graduate certificate program) should expect that a bachelor's degree will be required, however. Some programs will allow a bachelor's degree from a non-accredited institution provided the student meets certain minimum GPA and GMAT score requirements. Other programs will waive the bachelor's degree requirement entirely if the applicant has equivalent work experience. At minimum, however, it is very helpful if the student has some undergraduate coursework completed in algebra, statistics and microeconomics.


Coursework in a sustainable MBA program will overlap to a great degree with the standard MBA program. Students can expect to cover key business concepts such as finance, marketing, accounting, law and ethics as they apply to business managers.

Courses that students can expect to see in these programs include:

Sustainable Business Planning / Strategies

These courses address how to adopt concepts of social and environmental responsibility into a viable business plan. Opportunities and risks raised by a commitment to sustainable practices are covered. Students also learn how to use technology and market in a sustainable way among other items.

Sustainable / Green Marketing

Students learn how marketing can be conducted with an eye toward green conservation principles and sustainable practices. This can include the use of materials as well as methods of communicating with audiences that are receptive to green and sustainable practices.

Leadership in Sustainable Organizations

Leading a business committed to sustainable practices brings a unique set of challenges and considerations. Students learn how things like organizational values and performance expectations are handled when green and sustainable principles need to be considered.

'Triple Bottom Line' Measurement / Reporting

The 'triple bottom line' is an accounting concept that is commonly taught in sustainable business courses. The concept refers to adding social and environmental concerns to the standard economic bottom line for businesses. Students learn how to do research, analyze data and apply probability models to measure and report each of these bottom lines.

Sustainable Operations / Supply Chains

Students learn how to manage aspects of everyday operations (such as logistics and supply chains) within a framework of sustainability. Concepts covered include the management of service systems and quality along with process analysis.

Sustainable MBAs are available as a primary degree, a concentration within a more general MBA program, or as a graduate certificate. These programs prepare the next generation of business leaders to make socially and environmentally responsible decisions while still running a profitable and successful business.

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