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Latest Net Impact Guide Finds Sustainability a Must for Students Shopping MBA Programs

Net Impact, a nonprofit inspiring a new generation of students to work for a sustainable future, has released its 2013 edition of Business as UNusual: The Student Guide to Graduate Programs. Key findings suggest that social and environmental issues have become a mainstream necessity in MBA programs, driven in part by overwhelming student demand.

First published in 2006, Business as UNusual highlights student perspectives on over 100 business schools at the forefront of social and environmental innovation. The guide provides student ratings of their program’s integration of social and environmental themes into curricula, career services and student activities.

“More than 3,300 graduate students shared their perspectives on their schools in this year’s Business as UNusual Guide, and it’s clear that addressing social and environmental themes have become student ‘must-haves’ in competitive MBA curricula,“ says Liz Maw, CEO of Net Impact.

Findings from Business as Unusual 2013 include:

  • Social and environmental themes are core priorities. With 85% of polled students reporting they care about addressing these themes while in graduate school, sustainability is now a “must-have.” Respondents overwhelmingly support integrating sustainability into their careers with 85% reporting they would take a 15% pay cut to work for an organization whose values match their own. Job seekers are also optimistic that this is possible, with 88% expressing that companies are better at integrating sustainability into their business compared to five years ago.
  • MBA programs are aiming to meet student demand. According to the survey, students are driving change at a rapid rate. Over the past year alone, 50 of the schools in the guide reported adding and adjusting curriculum to incorporate social and environmental issues in courses, certificates, experiential learning opportunities, and collaborations across graduate programs in their universities in response to student demands.
  • There is desire for more impact career and experiential learning support. So what can MBA programs do better? When asked what schools could do to improve, nearly one-third of students asked for better impact career support and more experiential learning opportunities.

“We’re proud to be part of this movement of emerging leaders,” says Maw. “Students who are passionate about making an impact are demanding a new kind of education, one that allows them to use their career within and beyond business to tackle the toughest social and environmental problems of our time.”

The 2013 Net Impact Conference takes place October 24-26 in San Jose, CA.