As more and more companies are impacted by climate change, knowing how to lead your company into a greener future will be integral to any career in business.
Not least, sustainability is good for business. In 2021, US companies with high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores outperformed the wider US market, according to a Morningstar report.
Business schools are also increasingly keen to share their sustainability credentials, but how can you be sure you’re attending a school that’s committed to the cause?
We caught up with EAE Business School—a school in Barcelona that’s just increased its score in the Positive Impact Rating (PIR) for Business Schools 2023 Report*—to ask: what does it mean to be a sustainability centered business school, and how can attending one help boost your career?
Learning from a sustainability-driven curriculum
As knowledge about sustainability is vital to all business areas, it makes sense that the business school curriculum should reflect this.
In recent years, many business schools have diverted from the approach of offering a few sustainability-focused courses and are, instead, weaving sustainability teaching into traditional business courses.
These are: commitment to employability and entrepreneurship, making a positive impact on the community, and strengthening research and innovation.
Overall, these actions embrace the fourth SDG goal: quality education.
“We have audited each of our programs to identify those subjects with a positive impact, helping us to adapt the syllabus to include corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ESG topics—from both a theoretical and practical perspective,” says María Ávila, rankings and international accreditation manager at EAE Business School Barcelona.
For instance, in the Master in Human Resources Management program, students can learn about how social impact shapes the HR field, in courses such as Professional ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Embracing sustainability in action
Everyone knows practice makes perfect, but this is no truer than in the business sphere. How can employers get a good idea of your ability to get the job done if you have no practical experience under your belt?
To support students to get real-life experience, EAE Barcelona organizes different campaigns around the social impact space—yet the skills they learn across these projects can be useful for any business field.
Some of these campaigns include food collection campaigns and work with AIDA—a Spanish NGO that works on development cooperation and humanitarian aid projects in developing countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
If you opt to study at EAE Barcelona, some of the skills you might hone in these projects include communication, leadership, and teamwork—these are among the most in-demand skills of 2023, according to a LinkedIn study.
EAE’s commitment to sustainability is demonstrated by its recent increase in ranking in the PIR 2023 Report, which surveyed students from 71 participating business schools.
The report is the only rating in which students grade business schools on their positive impact.
EAE has risen from level three in 2022, to level four (‘Transforming Schools’) in the 2023 edition, with the highest level being five (‘Pioneering Schools’).
The benefits of networking at a sustainable business school
Networking is a central part of the business school experience—it could lead to your first job after business school, or even to meeting your future business partner.
EAE Barcelona is in various ways linking its commitment to social impact with the networking needs of business school students.
The school has signed a collaboration agreement with AIESEC—the world’s largest youth-led global organization, which helps young people find leadership development opportunities across the world.
For women in business, EAE Barcelona also hosts the Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs of Catalunya initiative, which recognizes women and their projects and facilitates networking between members, stakeholders from the local industry, public and private entities, and more.
The school’s commitment to gender equality aligns with SDG 5: gender equality.
Accessing sustainable employment and top careers
Most business school students want to land not just a successful career, but a purposeful career too.
Around 79% of business school candidates are motivated to join business school programs to develop their potential, according to the 2023 Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) Prospective Students Survey.
The EAE Barcelona Talent for Impact Center has a dedicated Professional Impact Unit, which works with students on developing their profile and finding their path.
“We have a responsibility as a business school to improve students’ profile–it’s not only about hard skills, it’s also about gaining those all-important soft skills,” says María.
The school collaborates with socially responsible companies and companies that are aiming to improve their sustainability. EAE Barcelona also facilitates internships with NGOs.
Some of the most recognizable companies that EAE Business School Barcelona grads have landed jobs at include LVMH, Disney, and Coca-Cola, all of which are well aware of the importance of managing their global impact. The skills that the grads have acquired during their time at EAE Barcelona help them to bring an additional dimension to such companies.
“Today, companies demand a profile with a responsible vision and as a business school, our responsibility is to promote positive impact and show the path to these future leaders,” concludes María.
*Details on the methodology of the Positive Impact Rating 2023 Report can be found here.