Tr a d i t i o n a l MBA needs to be changed to reflect the realities of the global challenges that businesses now face. Future business leaders need to be more planet-minded and trained in how to develop more sustainable strategies. Hence, in keeping with the times, University of Exeter Business School, UK, is going to offer the One Planet MBA programme instead of its traditional MBA course. Says Malcolm Kirkup, director of the One
Planet MBA, “We have replaced the traditional MBA with the One Planet MBA because we feel that business leaders need to face up to the new global challenges, take a longer term and more responsible view and go beyond shareholder value to focus on shared value.”
The full-time One Planet MBA starts at the end of September 2011 and is 12 months in duration. The cost of the tuition fees is £19,000 (Rs 1,371,828 approx), but a number of scholarships valued at £5000 are on offer from several major companies. Exeter is currently running a pilot course called the Innovation Cohort, where 40 students are from around 22 countries and the average age is 33.
A key strength of the One Planet MBA programme, feels Kirkup, is that sustainability is embedded throughout the programme, and is
not a ‘bolt-on.’ In accounting, for example, he explains, the focus initially is on training students to understand financial statements and accounts and how to evaluate the performance of companies in financial terms. “We then extend their knowledge and skills by exploring how environmental impact, social impact and governance can be incorporated into financial reporting.”
The programme will be offered in partnership with WWF, which will be contributing in terms of teaching a number of modules and bringing technical expertise on environmental management and sustainable solutions into the classroom. Secondly, Kirkup adds, “WWF has extensive contacts with some of the largest multinational companies around the world and will help students to find placements and projects with these companies.”
Applicants need to have a minimum of three years work experience (ideally in a managerial capacity). They need to have a good degree, with a minimum of 60% (first class) and a high proficiency in English (equivalent to IELTS 7.0).
For Indian students interested in pursuing the course, will they be able to apply the learning in a developing country like India where issues of sustainability concern a range of realistic issues? Yes, absolutely, says Kirkup, adding, “We understand the challenges of introducing sustainable approaches in developing countries where, for many, the first priority is to obtain work and ensure their families are provided for.”
However, all businesses in every part of the world must adapt and be more sustainable as soon as possible. “If we deplete the natural resources of the world too quickly then there will be no resources on which to base business. So it is everyone’s responsibility to find more sustainable ways of living and more sustainable ways of doing business,” says Kirkup.