The University of Michigan's Ross School of Business is the best business school in the United States for integrating environmental, social, and ethical issues into its MBA program, according to the Aspen Institute's 2009-10 Beyond Grey Pinstripes Report.
The biennial survey and ranking of business schools placed the Ross School at No. 2 overall. The Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto is ranked No. 1 in this year's survey. Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, which was ranked No. 1 in 2007, is ranked No. 4 this year.
"Beyond Grey Pinstripes schools are thoughtfully pursuing new approaches," says Rich Leimsider, director of the Aspen Institute's Center for Business Education. "They are preparing students who take a more holistic view of business success, one that measures financial results as well as social and environmental impacts."
Ross School Dean Robert Dolan says social and environmental responsibility is a cornerstone of the school's broad-based management education led by world-class faculty.
"We don't view social and environmental responsibility as a realm separate from that of everyday business," Dolan says. "As part of their natural life, businesses address issues of social impact, environmental sustainability and their place in civil society.
"We make a point of integrating these concerns into our curriculum and our teaching in a manner that is both innovative and relevant. It's gratifying to see our faculty recognized for their commitment to incorporating the fundamentals of citizenship into the fundamentals of business."
Beyond Grey Pinstripes ranked Ross No. 1 in course content and No. 2 in research relevant to social and environmental responsibility.
"We have faculty who are committed to the notion that business doesn't exist in a vacuum," says Kathleen Sutcliffe, associate dean for faculty development and research. "They think hard and long about these issues, and they bring their thinking into the classroom in both the core curriculum and elective courses."
According to Leimsider, while the average school in the survey offers 18 electives with relevant content, Ross offers 72.
Another reason the Ross School continues to be a leader in integrating environmental issues into the MBA program is the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. A partnership between Ross and the U-M's School of Natural Resources and Environment, the Erb Institute fosters global sustainable enterprise through interdisciplinary research and education initiatives, including its acclaimed MBA/MS program.
"For 15 years, our faculty and programs have challenged students to put sustainability to work in the real world," says Rick Bunch, managing director of the Erb Institute. "As a result, our alumni our among the most influential thought leaders on sustainable enterprise policy and practice in the world. This report underscores our commitment to bringing sustainability from the periphery to the core of global business strategy."
The Ross School benefits from partnerships with other U-M schools and institutes. The Nonprofit and Public Management Center, a partnership with the schools of public policy and social work, is dedicated to providing managerial expertise to the dynamic intersection among public, private, and nonprofit institutions. In addition, the Ross School shares many resources with the William Davidson Institute, which has a mission to improve social welfare and facilitate economic transition in developing countries.
The academic environment at the Ross School attracts and nurtures a highly engaged student body. The school has a broad and deep array of student clubs, speaker series, seminars, and conferences dedicated to issues of social and environmental responsibility.
Such activities are an integral part of a learning community dedicated to training leaders who have a global, socially responsible view of how their organizations fit into an interconnected world. Among the many student clubs that address social and environmental responsibility is the Ross Net Impact club, which has been named National Chapter of the Year for three consecutive years.
The survey collected data from 149 full-time MBA programs in 24 countries.The complete ranking of the Beyond Grey Pinstripes 2009-10 "Global 100" business schools can be found at www.beyondgreypinstripes.org