Today’s consumers are more ethically aware than ever before—a recent PwC survey found 77% of people are influenced by a company’s environmental record when making a purchase.
Paired with increasing regulatory changes, bringing business practices into alignment with global sustainable development goals (SDGs), companies today have no choice but to prioritize more purpose-driven business models.
“Sustainability topics, such as climate change or human rights, affect what kinds of risks firms are exposed to and the market opportunities they can exploit,” explains Andreas Rasche, professor of business in society at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and associate dean of the CBS Full-time MBA.
As companies look for sustainable solutions and transition opportunities, this ongoing shift is creating a new demand area for highly skilled professionals.
So how can you launch a career in sustainability?
Develop a holistic perspective of sustainable issues
Spend some time job hunting and you’ll quickly find opportunities for sustainability-driven careers across a whole host of different industries and functions. “The market for sustainability professionals has exploded in recent years, especially in Europe,” says Andreas (pictured).
“Consulting and auditing firms are hiring lots of people with strong sustainability profiles,” he adds. “We also see more demand for sustainability skills that supplement job skills in more traditional job profiles.”
Gaining a holistic perspective of key sustainable issues that combines technical, scientific knowledge with business expertise can have a large impact on your job prospects.
That was the motivation for Magda Michaliková to enroll in the CBS MBA.
With a passion for sustainability, a background in circular economy strategy, and a Master’s degree in environmental management, Magda felt a holistic MBA education could increase her ability to make an impact.
“I was particularly looking at schools that have a different approach and have sustainability more integrated in the course than your usual business school would have. So that was why I chose CBS,” she explains.
Alongside incorporating sustainable learnings within various core modules, the CBS MBA curriculum offers a course on sustainable management that operates throughout the year, teaching elements such as sustainable reporting, lifecycle assessments, and sustainable business models. Students also have the opportunity to specialize in a Governance and Sustainability Concentration.
“For anybody working in sustainability, it’s really important to understand this business perspective because it’s a holistic issue. To achieve change on a big scale, it’s important to find the connection between science and business,” Magda explains.
Gain career support tailored towards high impact jobs
A holistic understanding of sustainable issues can prepare you for success once you launch your post-MBA career, however securing a job in the rapidly developing sector can be challenging.
To give students the best chance of success, the careers team at CBS offers a range of careers support including CV workshops, mock interview sessions, and one-to-one career coaching.
During networking sessions, students also get the chance to connect with alumni from the program. The CBS MBA alumni network comprises more than 1900 people working in over 60 countries. Many of them hold sustainability-related roles.
Beginning at the very start of the MBA, this tailored careers program helped Magda define her purpose and guided her towards her future career path.
“It kind of makes you think: ‘Why am I doing this degree? What do I want to get out of it? And what kind of role would I like to have after I leave?’,” she explains.
Magda (pictured) decided that securing a sustainability-driven role was her priority, more important in her decision making than studying in any one particular location or industry.
After coming to this realization, she used LinkedIn and various job posting sites that were focused on sustainability careers to network with companies she felt were a good fit, both in Denmark and beyond.
“Companies that were in line with my values and that I thought were interesting and would be fun to work with,” she explains. “I was looking for maybe something a little bit more diverse than just working on one project in one company.”
Launch a career in sustainability
Today, Magda works as a policy expert at Interreg Europe, an administrative body that works to share innovative sustainability solutions among regional and local governments across Europe.
The role combines providing consulting and advisory services to cities on the topic of environment and circular economy, while also producing various informative content on the subject including peer reviews, webinars, and policy briefs.
“The job is about peer learning and facilitating connections across Europe—making sure that all of these good solutions are shared and people are inspiring each other,” she says.
Heavily utilizing the business and sustainability expertise she learned on the course—as well as her pre-MBA experience—Madga feels the program had a large impact in preparing her to launch a career in sustainability.
“Good management is needed everywhere. And sustainable management is also needed everywhere,” she explains. “The skills and things you learn are really applicable in a lot of roles.
“An MBA is a really great way to broaden your horizons and expand your knowledge.”
Copenhagen Business School (CBS)
CBS: efficient international network
CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.
Good academic career
I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.
CBS is one of the best!
All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.
The ideal business school
I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.
A Place of Personal Growth
In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.
The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.
Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!
Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.
A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment
I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.