By April LaCroix, Erb MBA/MS student, class of 2012.
As a student in the Erb Institute, I have the privilege of experiencing first-hand how my fellow students and professors are at the cutting-edge of sustainability; lunch time conversations frequently circulate around topics such as the latest in financing carbon offset projects or a new social enterprise opportunity. Recently, it has been rewarding to see the accomplishments of our “Erbers” and the communities we are involved in recognized outside of Ann Arbor.
The Stephen M. Ross School of Business has received two significant accolades in as many weeks: Leadership Excellence magazine has chosen the school as its top pick for 2009 Best in Leadership Development and the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey ranks the Ross MBA program no. 2 in the world (no. 1 in the US) for integrating environmental, ethical and social issues. (See http://www.bus.umich.edu/ for more information.)
Beyond Grey Pinstripes
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.”
Beyond Grey Pinstripes ranked Ross No. 1 in course content and No. 2 in research relevant to social and environmental responsibility. “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.”
In addition, Leadership Excellence magazine has chosen the Ross School of Business as its top pick for 2009 Best in Leadership Development among business schools and leadership programs at other institutions of higher education. Dean Dolan says the No. 1 ranking is a testament to the Ross School’s excellence in leadership education across its BBA, Full-time MBA, Part-time MBA, Executive MBA, and Executive Education programs.
“Our whole approach to business education, from undergraduate education through our MBA programs and executive programs, is based on the conviction that great quantitative skills are necessary but not sufficient,” he says. “We believe it is part of the responsibility of a great business school to ask students to confront difficult questions of leadership.
“We’re often asked whether leadership can be taught. The answer is yes. It means creating activities that require students to understand their own individual working styles and to understand the complex web of stakeholder relationships in which any organization operates.”
Even though I’m only in my first semester of school, I’ve experienced that both of these awards are well deserved. For instance, I’m currently working on a project to help an organization measure the social impact of its investments in developing countries. This has enabled me to jump in – head first! – and lead other students based on my own strengths to contribute to highly relevant issues in sustainability. I look forward to more opportunities such as these in the next three years to enable me to become a more effective change agent once I graduate.