SI-MBA Executive-In-Residence

After a long and distinguished business career that saw Bob Phillips lead some of the top global consumer and personal care products organizations, he knows a thing or two about how to develop brands and products.

With retirement looming several years ago however, as a leader with an insatiable business thirst, he rapidly became interested in the adoption of new sustainable and purpose-led business approaches. Organizations were trying to create more types of value for a broader range of stakeholders. Phillips quickly realized this was the future for successful businesses.

Instead of winding down, the more he explored this new disruptive “triple bottom line” approach — people, profits, and the planet — the more his intellectual curiosity kicked in. Then he discovered the award-winning Sustainable Innovation MBA (SI-MBA) at the UVM, Grossman School of Business.

Designed from the ground-up and built on the premise that business has to transform itself and work as a force for good, SI-MBA integrates environmental, social, and governance considerations into its curriculum, and focuses on the tools needed to manage business today. It has quickly established itself as one of the leading programs in the country, and among many accolades was the #1 ranked “Green MBA” per The Princeton Review from 2018-2020.

The innovative curriculum enables systems thinking; the role of finance, accounting, and quantitative skills for driving change. With triple bottom line thinking as standard, Phillips was intrigued, and wanted to get involved.

“As someone who has spent his career leading organizations and striving to make them the best they could be, I was excited to learn about this new MBA program. As a proud parent of 2 UVM alums, once I learned it was right here in my Vermont backyard, I wanted to become a part of it,” says Phillips. “After meeting with Dean Sharma and the program leadership, I’m pleased that we were quickly able figure out a way for me to be involved that uses my career experiences; especially around sustainable product development.”

Phillips is now integrated into the award-winning SI-MBA program as an Executive-in-Residence. Aside from mentoring, Phillips affords students interested in sustainable product development, a new course track that provides them with hands-on learning opportunities, workshops, site visits, industry connections, guest speakers and more.

Partnering with Grossman associate professor and Steven Grossman Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship Erik Monsen, the new product development track is an exciting new addition to SI-MBA.

“The SI-MBA program is always looking for ways to collaborate with experienced business leaders who can share their valuable knowledge with our students,” says SI-MBA program director Caroline Hauser. “Bob is an expert in sustainable product development, we are so honored to have him join our team at Grossman.