Once again, the University of Vermont Grossman School of Business’ Sustainable Innovation MBA program has been named the No. 1 “Best Green MBA” program by the Princeton Review. This 2019 Princeton ranking marks the second consecutive year that the program has topped the list.
“We're thrilled, of course, but not too terribly surprised,” says program director Joe Fusco about the second consecutive first-place ranking. “We're very fortunate to have passionate students, alumni, faculty and staff involved in this program who are committed to the transformation of business and business education. They're making this program the place to be if you want to change the world.”
The ranking comes shortly after the release of the landmark United Nations’ report on climate change that warned of worldwide poverty and natural disaster if significant actions are not taken by businesses and governments to combat global warming in the next dozen years. At the core of its curriculum, the Sustainable Innovation MBA at the Grossman School of Business seeks to aid in those issues through environmental, ethics, poverty and inequality-centered global entrepreneurship and enterprise.
“We train and launch the next generation of leaders who will create and reinvent profitable business models to address 21st century challenges pertaining to climate change, social inequities, and widening income inequality, to name a few,” says David Jones, academic director of the program. “Where others see daunting challenges on a massive scale, we see opportunities — opportunities to create innovative for-profit business models that provide scalable solutions that are sustained by the profits they generate for owners, and the social and environmental value they create for society.”
Unique in its mission, the program ultimately replaced the school’s traditional MBA program, which UVM offered for 38 years, upon its creation in 2014. Today’s iteration of the program retains the foundational business school toolkit required for graduates to succeed in business; however, its focus on inclusivity and sustainability prepares graduates to transform today’s businesses and establish new ones that improve environmental strategies and corporate sustainability.
The Sustainable Innovation MBA is a one-year, AACSB-accredited program that boasts small cohorts of students who collaborate and move through the program together. During their short, yet rigorous, time in the program, students learn from Vermont-based companies that have excelled in social and sustainable enterprise, such as Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation and Keurig Green Mountain, and gain real-world experience through a required practicum. Previous practica have immersed students in topics from reusable feminine hygiene products to fighting poverty in Indonesia and Bangladesh through enterprise investment opportunities.
With its first-place ranking on the 2019 “Best Green MBA” list, the UVM program led Ivy League schools including Cornell University and Yale University, which ranked second and third on Princeton’s list, respectively.
“When you are already number one, the pressure is intense to continue to build excellence in the curriculum and the ecosystem of innovators, entrepreneurs, faculty and staff that deliver such a high-quality program. You know that excellent schools such as Cornell and Yale are breathing down your neck for the coveted number one spot. Kudos to the entire team for maintaining this focus on excellence and quality,” says Sanjay Sharma, dean of the Grossman School of Business.
The Princeton Review ranking adds momentum to growing international recognition of the program, which was ranked the No. 5 “Better World MBA” program worldwide in 2018 by Corporate Knights, based in Toronto, and was named a top tier MBA program in North America earlier this year by London-based CEO Magazine. In addition to being ranked No. 1 on the 2019 “Best Green MBA” programs list, the Grossman School of Business at UVM was also named to The Princeton Review’s “Best Business Schools for 2019” list, a merit shared with 252 other elite business schools across the nation.
The “Best Green MBA” rankings are based on students’ assessments of how well their school is preparing them in environmental/sustainability and social responsibility issues, and for a career in a green job market. The “Best Business Schools for 2019” list was based on data from surveys of 23,000 students attending the schools and of administrators at the graduate schools.