Diamonds in the Rough: Bard College’s New MBA in Sustainability

MBA applicants tend to overvalue rankings and so can overlook some strong business schools that might be a good fit. In this series, we profile amazing programs at schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Sustainability is more than a mere buzzword or one elective specialization among many in the brand new Bard MBA curriculum, launched this past fall—it provides the grounding for an integrated core of economic, environmental and social education. In this way, Bard offers an innovative approach to business, drawing on multidisciplinary perspectives and ecological thinking to prove that profitability can be compatible with a sustainable and socially responsible mission. Another rather unique feature of the Bard MBA is its low-residency structure, entailing monthly “weekend residencies” that focus on various learning “modules,” in addition to online instruction. Because of the program’s proximity to New York City, this structure allows students to participate in NYCLab, a program in which students work in small teams to gain hands-on experience consulting for businesses, government agencies and nonprofits. Students have the opportunity to work with such firms as Terrapin Bright Green, Unilever (as part of its Sustainable Living Plan) and TransitCenter, Inc.

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