A career linking purpose and profit

Changemakers are not produced by accident. Colorado State University’s College of Business Impact MBA has helped transformative leaders develop more than just the business skills needed to address global social, environmental, and economic challenges. Our hands-on approach to sustainability education prepares graduates to become innovators, whether they’re driving change as an entrepreneur at the helm of a company or guiding sustainability efforts within a company. an existing organization.

Global vision, global reach

CSU Alumni Award-winning Impact MBA are uniquely positioned to lead and create the next generation of socially responsible businesses. The top-ranked MBA stands out for its approach with strong experiential components in both of its tracks – it’s not just about the theory of doing good, but about practical experiences in learning how to make it happen. the Social Entrepreneurship course offers a 60-day practical internship for those looking to start a new business, while the Corporate sustainability Track includes a summer fellowship with an established organization focused on environmental, social, or governance needs. These broad, real-world experiences provide Impact MBA graduates with the business acumen, practical skills, and strategic approaches needed to lead change and create purpose-driven organizations.

Students join a network of program alumni from over 70 countries who are driving lasting change in sectors as diverse as tourism and hospitality, retail, software and non-governmental organizations tackling issues ranging from women’s health to carbon accounting to education, to name a few. some. We are proud of alumni who drive measurable change that embraces sustainability and even prouder of being the launchpad for changemakers across the world.

Driving change in the market

Meta Bergwall, alumnus of the MBA Impact 2021, is one of these agents of change. As East Region Sustainability Manager for Vail Resorts, she leads efforts at 26 ski resorts to help the company achieve its goal of net zero emissions, zero waste to landfill and zero impact. net on forests and habitat by 2030. Its all-encompassing approach. from infrastructure upgrades such as installing high-efficiency LED lighting and replacing snow cannons with energy-efficient models to systemic changes to increase resort waste diversion practices.

Understanding the business case for net zero upgrades while evaluating the nuanced choices behind zero impact strategies requires a diverse skill set and a broader perspective than the boardroom. This is precisely the foundation that the Impact MBA imparts, with a multidisciplinary curriculum that covers financial management and global leadership as well as the analysis of sustainable energy sources and the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity. Our students are immersed in business sustainability from their first day on campus and graduate ready to lead change in the marketplace.

“I never thought I would go back to school for a business degree, but this program encompasses so much more than your traditional MBA program,” Bergwall said. “The Impact MBA prepared me for this role by challenging me to think critically and come up with creative and collaborative solutions. The program prepared me for success by developing my interpersonal skills and technical acumen.

The startup mindset

The Corporate Sustainability program prepares students to lead sustainability efforts within an existing organization, but they can also choose to develop the entrepreneurial spirit to lead a startup down the path of social entrepreneurship . Zubaida Bai, a 2010 graduate, traveled to India during her fieldwork. There she learned that midwives in developing countries were not equipped with sterile delivery kits and that some were even forced to use agricultural tools to cut newborn babies’ umbilical cords. Applying her engineering background to the business foundations gained through the program, she launched azyh, a company that provides clean children to mothers in developing and frontier economies.

Bai’s approach and belief that businesses have the power to drive positive change encompasses much of what helped Impact MBA earn #5 status nationally as a “Better World MBA” and the No. 20 globally in Corporate Knights. These values ​​are woven into the Social Entrepreneurship program, which combines courses in new business development and sustainable business financing with a summer internship. The 60-day internship provides students with hands-on experience in researching and building a business that meets a social or environmental need, ultimately pitching the business as they compete for funding. You will have prepared your own startup and be ready to start marketing it when you graduate.

“I wanted to understand how to sustainably bring appropriate technology to market for meaningful and scalable impact,” Bai said. “I realized that too many great innovations never made it out of prototyping into the hands of those who needed them most. I knew then that I wanted to fend for myself and close that last mile gap.

Bai and azyh have proven to be remarkably effective in their mission. To date, the company has sold more than 400,000 birth kits, helping to fight maternal and child mortality, while providing local economic opportunities for workers in India who manufacture the lifesaving products.

Results in government and not-for-profit sectors

Our Impact MBA staff and faculty believe that businesses can drive positive change, but we also recognize that nonprofits and government organizations rely on traditional business capabilities to accomplish their mission. Students on our social entrepreneurship track are just as well suited to the government and non-profit sectors as they are ready to start their own business. Mike Callahan, a 2009 Impact MBA graduate, now serves as the head of the applied engineering group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, developing distributed energy sources that can withstand natural disasters or cyberattacks.

Like Bai, he relied on his engineering background. Callahan recognized the value that a foundation in corporate sustainability combined with the opportunity to work with a diverse cohort could bring to his degree and career choices.

“A cornerstone of business school is teamwork: how you manage to achieve a real goal, how you start a business,” he said. “It’s a bit difficult to do it alone if you’re just one person working in your garage, but the Impact MBA brings together an international cohort to work on a common cause: to make a positive difference in the world.”

Advancing corporate sustainability

The business world is only beginning to recognize the importance of the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit, but the Impact MBA has been rooted in sustainable policies for over 15 years. As our faculty pushes the boundaries of sustainable business with research that helps redefine their disciplines, as companies embrace zero-emissions policies and green financing, and as consumers demand more responsible businesses, alumni of the ‘Impact MBA will continue to drive reforms within boards, startups and nonprofits.

An amazing MBA can help you advance your career. The Impact MBA will also help you change the world.

Learn more

Kathryn Ernst is the Director of the Impact MBA and has been with the program since 2010. A graduate of the program in 2009, Kat’s experience as a Peace Corps volunteer has developed an organic coffee cooperative and co-founded a aquaponics company that has served as base- pyramid families in Peru, guides its commitment to developing the next generation of sustainable businesses. Kat is a connector who believes we can only solve the world’s problems by bringing many voices to the conversation.

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