University of Vermont

School of Business Administration

Characteristics of our Curriculum

The University of Vermont Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA (SEMBA) consists of a curriculum based on three pedagogical axes - knowing (classroom learning), doing (project-driven learning), and being (value alignment, self-knowledge, and reflection).

The program aims to graduate participants with stupendous leadership abilities, great communication skills, and a coherence of values that aligns creation of value with respect for a variety of constituencies across the economic, social, environment, and political spheres.

The new SEMBA curriculum offers a set of intense and rigorous courses and a series of other educational experiences.

Modules and Courses:

The program is structured in 4 modules of 8 weeks each. Each module is made of a series of short, intense courses. The number of courses per module varies. All participants take the same courses at the same time. The intensity and frequency of class meetings changes depending on the best pedagogical approach for the specific topic.

Every course addresses issues of sustainability. Business cases are shared across courses and these business cases focus on how certain corporations are building a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable economy. The curriculum will discuss in depth how the global challenges associated with sustainability, when viewed through a business lens, can help identify managerial strategies and practices to achieve sustainable economic growth while simultaneously driving shareholder value.

Integrative Activities:

An entrepreneur will come every week and spend Friday making presentations and discussing cases that will serve as an integration of the materials covered in class.

The Big Issues Speaker Series:

Once a month we will have a national expert(s) or leader(s) come and address the class for a whole day on a big issue. These individuals will be invited on the basis of their contributions to advancing sustainable business practices.

Examples of Big Issues include: Climate Change; The Future of Food (Security; GMO; etc.); Alternatives Sources of Energy; The Future of Water (Security; Access; etc.); Urbanization; The Growth of Consumption; "Dirty" industries; Health Care and Epidemiological Issues(e.g., pandemics).

Sustainable Entrepreneur in Residence:

Every 8 modules, we will have a successful entrepreneur in residence for a week. These entrepreneurs will help teach specific cases, serve as mentors, and help prepare students for pitch competitions.

They share their stories and professional wisdom with our students during intensives by giving guest lectures and participating in group learning sessions.

Engagement in Doing Good:

While in the program, every student will be matched to an NGO or other mission-based organization in the area to help out. Experience-based learning is a central component of our curriculum. Students are expected to deliver initiatives that strengthen these mission-based organizations. We see service as a part of training you to become an entrepreneurial impact-focused leader and accelerate social justice and innovation.

Spring Break Away:

If you wish you can spend the Spring Break studying sustainable business practices for a week at our partners' sites in Colombia, China, France, Germany, India, or Mexico.


Experience-based learning is a central component of the SEMBA curriculum. The summer practicum or externships are designed to bring real value to an organization. Students will work in teams of 6 individuals to bring real value to an existing firm or develop a business plan for a new venture focusing on sustainability. Student team will be working for firms recognized for their sustainable brands and practices. Projects will be available locally in Vermont and around the globe (e.g., Botswana, India, Peru).


We will offer an intensive one day workshop on mindfulness and then a two-hour course meeting every other week for the eight month period. Sustainable entrepreneurship is ethical entrepreneurship. Critical, reflective, and inquiring self-knowledge is a pre-requisite for behavior, choices, and presence that support sustainable outcomes. The mental disciplines of mindfulness meditation will help students fulfill the "being" aspect of the SEMBA curriculum. Sustainability recognizes that all things are in relationship and that there is no object without a relational context. Interdependence is at the core of this insight and commitment to entrepreneurship.


Course Number Working Title Themes Start Date (14-15) End Date (14-15)
Introduction MBA 300 Business Fundamentals Basics of Accounting and Finance 14-Jul 8-Aug
Module 1 MBA 301 Foundations of Management 25-Aug 17-Oct
  • Business Strategy for a Sustainable World
  • Finance for Innovators
  • sustainable Marketing
  • Managing and Leading for Sustainable Innovation
  • World Challenges: The Physical Environment
  • World Challenges: The Social Environment
Module 2 MBA 302 Building a Sustainable Enterprise 20-Oct 12-Dec
  • Business Sustainability and Public Policy
  • Crafting the Business Plan
  • Marketing Decision Making Under Uncertainty
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Performance
  • Ethics for Entrepreneurs
  • Measuring Triple Bottom Line and Impact
  • Mindfulness
Winter Session: Initial Framing of Practicum Project
Module 3 MBA 303 Managing Growth 29-Dec 27-Feb
  • Entrepreneurial Leadership and Mindset
  • Business, Communities and Sustainability
  • System Tools for Sustainability
  • Business Law for Entrepreneurs I
  • Negotiations
  • Financing an Innovative Entrepreneurial Venture
  • Sustainable Operations and Green Supply Chains
Module 4 MBA 304
MBA 395
Focusing on Sustainability 9-Mar 1-May
  • Business in a Finite World
  • Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization
  • Regulatory Issues for the Entrepreneur
  • Integrative Thinking and Competitive Imagination
  • Service Operations & Sustainability
  • Building Human Capital and Capability
  • Social Enterprise and Nonprofit Law
  • Sustainable Development Policy
  • Mindfulness
Module 5 MBA 305
MBA 395
Practicum Sustainable Entrepreneurship in Action, Pitch & Debriefing 18-May 7-Aug

Last modified July 01 2014 08:01 AM