Business schools place a stronger focus on environmental, social and governance issues (ESG) in their MBA programs.

Courses in climate finance, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship are among the most popular choices for students in MBA programs today. The New York Times recently examined how and why ESG exploded in business schools across the country.

“Student interest has exploded,” Todd Cort, professor of sustainability at the Yale School of Management and co-director of the school’s environmental and business center, told the NY Times.

A CHANGE THAT’S HERE TO STAY

Experts say the rise of ESG in recent years signals a paradigm shift in the business world – one that is more focused on deciding who companies really serve.

“While the business school remains a bastion of free markets, it has also begun teaching its students about environmental, social and governance issues – including the importance of the ‘stakeholders’ like customers, employees and communities, and not just the ones To serve shareholders. ”Gillian Tett of the Financial Times writes.

In response to the rise of ESG, business schools are also changing the way they teach business in MBA programs. At Harvard Business School, Vikram Gandhi, a Wall Street veteran, helped develop the B-School’s first impact investing course in the MBA program.

“We wrote more than two dozen new case studies [for the course]“He tells the Financial Times. “We recognize, like others, that ESG is not a fad, but part of a long-term trend.”

A LONG WAY AHEAD

Although interest in ESG has increased in recent years, talent recruitment is still relatively low – especially when it comes to middle- and senior-level positions. This is in large part due to the novelty of the field.

In June, PwC announced that it would create 100,000 new jobs over the next five years, many with a focus on issues such as climate change and sustainability. But recruiting is a challenge.

The story goes on

“There aren’t enough people who know about ESG challenges today to meet demand,” Richard Oldfield, PwC global leader, told the NY Times.

Sources: New York Times, Financial Times

Next page: Generalist vs. specialized MBA

One of the main reasons people seek an MBA degree is to advance their careers. Experts from a wide variety of areas – from consulting to marketing – come to the B-School to learn new skills, build their network and advance in their industry. But what about the students who are not geared towards a particular industry?

A generalist MBA degree can be helpful here. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently discussed the pros and cons of a generalist MBA degree and why some students might consider a more specialized MBA degree.

GENERAL MBA DEGREE: ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

One of the greatest advantages of a generalist MBA degree, according to Blackman, is the extensive knowledge it offers.

“The degree provides a solid foundation for general business knowledge,” writes Blackman. “Here the students get a comprehensive understanding of how different departments work.”

A generalist MBA degree can be especially helpful for students considering changing careers and exploring other industries.

“MBA students tend to come to B-School after graduation with a clear career goal,” writes Blackman. “Still, business school is an excellent time to explore a wide variety of topics that can ultimately change your path. Today’s professionals want long-term flexibility in the global marketplace. For this, career changers need courses that prepare them for the managerial tasks that await them in every industry. “

On the flip side, a generalist degree may not be your best bet if you are aiming for a specific role after graduation.

“One potential disadvantage of a general MBA is that you may not get the depth of knowledge required for a particular position,” writes Blackman. “However, the diverse career opportunities that arise with an MBA in a top program are of inestimable value.”

SPECIALIZED MBA DEGREE: ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

If you know exactly what role you want to play in your career, a specialized MBA degree might be a better choice, says Blackman.

“Suppose you already know that you are interested in a field like digital marketing, real estate, business analytics, social innovation, healthcare, and so on,” she writes. “In this case, you can become even more marketable with an MBA with a focus. Recruiters like to see a strong focus on a certain area or functional area. “

At the end of the day, many experts say that whether you opt for a generalist or a specialized MBA degree, you are likely to receive adequate education that will meet your needs in both areas.

“The reality is that even the most general MBA programs – or at least the really good ones – have built-in flexibility that allows students to tailor their studies to suit their own needs and interests,” said Christo Nel, the MBA program director at Nyenrode Business Universiteit in the Netherlands, says Top MBA. “Even MBA programs that market themselves as specialized contain a number of compulsory core subjects that typically make up the bulk of the program.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, Top MBA

Next page: What Harvard MBAs Are Saying About Their New Dean.

Dean Srikant Datar of Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School students commend the new dean of the faculty for his efforts to improve diversity and inclusion. But many also say they are disappointed with his lackluster efforts to engage and bond with sophomores and student organizations, reports The Harvard Crimson.

LAWN SUITABILITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Srikant Datar was named 11th Dean of Harvard Business School in 2020. Since officially taking office in January 2021, Datar has made racial equity, diversity and inclusion one of the three main goals he wants to work towards during his tenure. Digital transformation and partnerships with other Harvard schools were two other main goals.

In September, Datar appointed Terrill L. Drake as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer of the B-School. Drake is responsible for improving and maintaining an inclusive and equitable campus climate that engages students, faculty, staff and the wider community, according to HBS.

“I think it’s really important to create an infrastructure that will really make the school successful for years to come and be able to progress and move forward,” Drake tells the Crimson.

And over the past year, HBS has put a lot of effort into building that infrastructure. According to Drake, the school has set up a diversity and inclusion bureau, recruited more diverse faculty – out of 13 people who took up offers, eight were women and seven were identified as black – and offered new courses focusing on race and identity … 2021.

Many HBS students have praised Drake for its accessibility and openness to working with students on ideas and initiatives.

“He was very easy to get to,” says sophomore MBA student Layeeka M. Ismail the Crimson. “We had to contact him for some discussion on behalf of the Islamic Society and he was just very receptive and open to meeting the students and hearing our feedback.”

SOME STUDENTS SAY THEY DO NOT FEEL CONNECTED BY DEAN DATAR

While many HBS students praised Dean Datar’s efforts to improve diversity and inclusion, some sophomore MBA students said they felt separated from the dean.

Keven D. Wang, a sophomore MBA student and co-president of the Asian American Business Association at HBS, said many students in the 2022 class still have the opportunity to connect with the dean, let alone meet him . Wang noted that while Datar gave a welcoming speech for the first-year aspiring MBAs, the sophomore years did not receive the same level of commitment when they returned to campus.

“So in a way, we were never officially introduced to Dean Datar in person,” Wang tells the Crimson.

Eduardo Ortiz Gross, another sophomore MBA student and co-president of the HBS LatAm club, made a similar statement.

“I was kind of shocked that we [the LatAm Club] I didn’t have any personal communication with him, ”Gross tells the Crimson. “I remember seeing at least Dean Nohria, maybe two or three Zoom calls with all students, or doing webinars for all students. And that didn’t happen with Dean Datar. “

Sources: Harvard Crimson, Harvard Business School, Harvard Business School

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