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Penn State Smeal MBA Program ranks 32nd in Corporate Knights’ 2020 Better World MBA Ranking

November 10, 2020

By MELISSA MANNO

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —The Penn State Smeal College of Business MBA Program has been ranked No. 32 in the Corporate Knights’ 2020 Better World MBA Ranking, which was released this morning. The ranking identifies the world’s top 40 MBA programs in sustainability performance.

To determine the ranking, Corporate Knights evaluated 151 MBA programs around the world based on their integration of sustainable development into business education.

Michael Waldhier, managing director for the Smeal residential MBA Program, said Smeal’s ranking is a result of the college’s drive to integrate sustainability across the business curriculum.

“For the past decade, we’ve been expanding our sustainability-focused elective offerings and integrating social responsibility topics into the MBA curriculum, but it has been a very gradual process,” Waldhier said. “The recent launch of the Smeal Center for the Business of Sustainability is a giant leap forward and represents the college’s strategic commitment to make sustainability an integral part of business education and research.”

The Center for the Business of Sustainability (CBoS), which launched in 2019, has a mission to accelerate the integration of sustainability in business. The Center promotes research, education and industry engagement focused on business and market solutions for social justice and environmental conservation.

“Sustainability isn’t a separate office that exists outside of traditional functions like operations, marketing, or finance — it’s an integral component that crosses disciplines,” Waldhier said. “For our students to become great leaders, they need to understand and appreciate how interwoven these areas really are.”

Waldhier emphasized that all of Smeal’s MBA students are confronted with various social and environmental challenges of modern business from labor rights in the supply chain to closing the material loops on products. However, there are also opportunities for students to continue this curriculum at a higher level.

“While sustainability is integrated throughout the MBA curriculum, students who wish to go further have the option of adding elective courses in sustainability strategy development, sustainable supply chain management, and leading organizational change,” Waldhier said. “Taken together, these courses allow students to obtain a graduate certificate in business sustainability strategy to enhance their MBA degree.”

Smeal’s Director of the Center for the Business of Sustainability, Erik Foley, said the ranking demonstrates Smeal’s continued efforts to be a frontrunner in business education and research.

“We aim to not just have the best business school in the world, but the best business school for the world,” Foley said. “To this end, we are grateful to receive this acknowledgement from Corporate Knights which recognizes the work of our faculty and demand for a new kind of business education from our students.”

The ranking also gives significant weight to research productivity in sustainability. “Our world-class faculty research gave a big boost to our ranking,” explains Foley,”across every department, their scholarship is aimed at understanding the social and ecological dimensions of business and financial markets.”

The ranking will be published in the Corporate Knights’ annual education and youth print issue on Nov. 10 and can be accessed here.

To learn more about Smeal’s MBA program and other professional graduate programs, visit the Smeal MBA website. To learn more about the Center for the Business of Sustainability, access the CBoS website.

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