Aspen Institute Releases Green’ MBA Guide

June 23, 2008  • Institute Contributor

Aspen Institute Releases “Green” MBA Guide

Berrett-Koehler publishes Aspen Institute Guide To Socially Responsible MBA Programs

NEW YORK,NY – June 23, 2008 – Long a leader in evaluating and ranking MBA programs for their commitment to teaching and researching socially and environmentally responsible business practices, The Aspen Institute Center for Business Education (Aspen CBE) is publishing its first guidebook for prospective MBA students.

In keeping with its environmental perspective, the book will primarily be distributed digitally as an electronic download. However, print editions can be purchased through Available starting Wednesday, June 25th, The Aspen Institute Guide to Socially Responsible MBA Programs 2008-2009, published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, can be purchased digitally ($14.95, 272 pages) at or in print form ($37.95, 272 pages) at and through Berrett-Koehler.

“The release of this book is a watershed moment in business education,” said Rich Leimsider, executive director of the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education. “Building on our highly successful ‘Beyond Grey Pinstripes Alternative MBA Rankings,’ this MBA guide will serve the growing number of highly qualified prospective business school students for whom social and environmental responsibility is an extremely important factor as they plan their business education and career.”

With the guide, prospective students can compare and contrast MBA programs that deal with social and environmental issues based upon the following areas:

  • required and elective courses
  • faculty research
  • concentrations
  • joint degree programs,
  • students clubs and activities
  • on-campus institutes and centers

From 700 MBA programs researched by Aspen CBE staff to compile the latest “Beyond Grey Pinstripes” rankings, 130 MBA programs were selected to be included in the guide. Each program receives a two-page profile that includes a brief summing up—called “the Bottom Line”—in which an MBA program is designated as “truly extraordinary,” “excellent,” or “good.”

“These designations were given following statistical analysis to determine the relative strength of each school along with a few select criteria,” Leimsider said. “We assessed both the number of courses reported to us and the proportion of those courses that address mainstream, for-profit business issues, as opposed to public policy or nonprofit themes.”

Although prospective students represent the primary market for the book, Leimsider also highly recommends the book to hiring managers seeking today’s best, brightest and most socially conscious business school graduates, as well as business school administrators seeking to benchmark their offerings against other leading MBA programs.

The guide builds upon business education research Aspen CBE has been conducting since 1999 for its alternative MBA rankings, “Beyond Grey Pinstripes,” and for its Faculty Pioneer Awards which, since 1999, have recognized business school faculty most committed to teaching and researching social and environmental business issues.

“I believe that the Beyond Grey Pinstripes program has been one of the most important information initiatives of the past decade for the emerging field of sustainable and socially responsible business and this guide is an invaluable resource that enhances that work,” said Stuart Hart, S.C. Johnson Chair of Sustainable Global Enterprise, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell. “The Aspen Institute MBA guide enables prospective MBA students from all over the world to identify and focus on these business schools that are most responsive to their needs and aspirations when it comes to fusing societal contributions with business competitiveness. It turns out that these prospective students also happen to be the highest possible caliber applicants on the market.”

As more prospective students seek to integrate their personal values with a career in business, and leading companies seek to hire such MBA graduates, Leimsider said he expects the market for the guide to expand dramatically.

“The bottom line in business is no longer exclusively dedicated to financial returns,” he said. “Rather, business leaders must also consider the environmental and social impacts of their decisions in order to compete in the global marketplace. The MBA schools that participate in our survey, and are therefore highlighted in The Aspen Institute Guide to Socially Responsible MBA Programs, are leaders in integrating these issues into their curricula.”

The Aspen Institute Center for Business Education equips business leaders for the 21st century with a new management paradigm—the vision and knowledge to integrate corporate profitability with social value. To that end, it provides business educators cutting edge classroom resources and creates peer networks to incorporate social and environmental stewardship into teaching, research and curriculum development. The Center for Business Education is part of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, an organization dedicated to developing leaders for a sustainable global society.

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue.


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