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5 Skills You Will Gain From A Specialized Masters To Prepare You For Driving Positive Change

How emlyon business school’s new specialized Master will develop skills to help you excel in sustainable leadership roles


Wed Apr 3 2024

More than ever before, business Master’s candidates are demanding that business schools incorporate sustainability into their programs. This year, 68% of respondents to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) Prospective Students Survey agreed that sustainability was important or very important to their academic experience. 

This isn’t just about personal ethics. Managers with knowledge of sustainability and business ethics are increasingly in demand. 

The number of job postings for ‘green’ roles—whether a dedicated sustainability role or a job requiring green skills—grew by almost 25% between 2022 and 2023. Additionally, Sustainability Manager roles are now among the fastest-growing jobs in the US and Europe.   

Evidently, companies recognize the need to recruit leaders who can make decisions on sustainability issues. To gain those relevant skills, it may be worth considering a degree other than a traditional Master of Management. 

At emlyon business school, a new MSc in Leading Sustainable Transformations prepares students for future leadership roles—ones where sustainability takes center stage. 

The 18-month program gives students experience designing sustainable transformations through practical projects, including a semester exchange at the London Interdisciplinary School. 

Featuring insights from Vincent Giolito, program director and professor of Strategy, here are five skills students gain on the MSc in Leading Sustainable Transformations.

1. Learning to balance hard and soft leadership

As the course title denotes, leadership is at the core of the MSc in Leading Sustainable Transformations. “If there’s something really special about this program, it's the emphasis on leadership,” Vincent (pictured) claims. 


Students spend several days on professional and leadership development, participating in workshops and coaching sessions to discover their leadership potential.

These workshops on soft leadership skills, including communication and problem-solving, complement the hard skills of managing for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, such as CSR, finance, strategy and marketing. Through these workshops, the program claims to give students a fundamental and transformative approach to change management.

“Leadership is really about developing influence not only within processes and objectives—the classic stuff of management—but also the informal influence: relationships and communication,” explains Vincent. 

2. How to approach digital transformation  

The MSc in Leading Sustainable Transformations is naturally focused on sustainable transformations. However, the program also acknowledges the power of digital transformations to enable sustainable change. 

“The first term is dedicated to evaluating transformations and a firm's readiness to cope with them,” explains Vincent. “The first and most obvious is technological transformations.” 

emlyon ranks highly in ecological transition. It came first in the Le Point 2024 ranking and fourth in the Les Echos START/ChangeNOW 2023 ranking for schools most committed to ecological transition in France.

In these first modules, students will explore transformations in governance and strategy and also how innovations like AI fit into change management. The holistic approach to transformation means students develop technical skills in technology and recognize when developments like AI can be applied practically to further an organization’s sustainability goals.   

3. How to lead with societal impact in mind

After technological transformations, another critical skill for students on the MSc is societal transformation. This topic incorporates factors such as inclusion, diversity, and minority rights. 

Students will develop this societal knowledge during a year-long ‘Red Thread’ project. Outside of modules, students explore a real-world case study on a specific theme, for example, travel. 

As part of the project, they will develop specific research on the theme, connecting transformation and the societal and economic impacts. Students can choose a format for their research: a website, podcast, book, video, or another creative outlet. 

This project is developed in addition to a professional Master’s thesis. In this way, students explore the socio-economic impacts of transformation and academic themes. 

4. Collaboration and developing strong relationships 

Creating impactful change in organizations is more than just the job of one person. It takes many stakeholders to make a difference, and this understanding forms a core element of the leadership strand of the Master’s program. 

In addition to their individual projects, students must work in diverse teams to create a sustainable transformation plan. By nature, work groups are international: at the Paris campus, where the MSc is taught, 75 nationalities are typically represented. 

Working in multicultural teams naturally builds each student’s relationship skills, but the professional development strand of the course also focuses on skills like influence. At the end of the 18 months, students will understand where change must happen in organizations and how to develop teams that can enable change. 

5. How to build self-awareness

Making an impact in the world requires a strong belief in yourself and the change you want to make. This soft skill is integrated into the entirety of the MSc in Leading Sustainable Transformations, and guides students towards their future careers.

During the program, students participate in leadership development and career evaluation exercises to help them understand how they want to make a difference within organizations.  

“Many students in Master's programs arrive with little idea of what they want to do,” Vincent notes. “And in many programs, they end up with still little idea of what they want to accomplish in life or in their careers.” 

“Our aim here is to equip them with a much better knowledge of what they want to achieve in terms of transformations and how to make it happen,” he concludes.

Student Reviews

emlyon business school




On Campus

Intense courses, helpful professors

I am an international student in my 3rd year and I love going to this school and do not regret chosing it for my BBA. The classes are helpful, professors are always there to help as well and we have a very understanding administration.




On Campus

Leadership in an amazing city

I decided to do my exchange in Emlyon because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and I found a space with very capable People.. participatory, empathetic and full of leadership. I will never forget Lyon, apart from giving me an unforgettable experience, he gave me great friends




On Campus

A lot of opportunities professionally and socially. A unique program in France.

You can choose your courses and do your internship, exchange whenever you want. It's flexible and adapted to the needs of each student. A great program and a great city! Professionally, it opens a lot of doors for you to find internships or jobs in France or abroad thanks to the network and career events.




MSc in Digital Marketing

Combining both worlds into one, this course gave me all the on-demand technical skills in data science while maintaining a business-oriented approach. Thanks to the strong academic profile of this university I was able to secure an internship and full-time job at Amazon.




Top Business School fostering innovative entrepreneurs

EMLyon is one of the best business schools. The campuses, associations and courses offered provide the students with the best options to build the future they have chosen. The various opportunities to study and work abroad also offer a deeper understanding of the world, not only economy-wise but social, which helps the student become as well a better individual and not only a pre-formated business school student.




Emlyon campus in Paris

It has a great international community and you have access to many international tools, courses and professors. I had many networking events and workshops for students. Campus and some details of the program could have been improved or need to be bigger in order to have a better student life.




On Campus


Overall good content and good activities. Lack of administration but still ok. Good flexibility and liberty offered to the students. Finally, the amount of internship is also a good way to improve qualifications.




Good Reputation and International Business School

The course was not well adapted but it was up to the mark. The professors are very well experienced and their experience comes in handy while working on assignments. The facilities on the campus are top class. Truly professional. I really like spending time in the learning hub and using all the available resources. Lyon is an amazing city. You will never get bored.




On Campus

MSc International Hospitality Management

The best educational experience of my life so far! It’s been full of exposure and great connections. From Lyon to London, Paris, Los Angeles and Las Vegas! Truly an exceptional way to discover the world of hospitality.




On Campus

Real networking opportunities

- meeting new people, specially professionals during seminars or evening meeting at school. - going abroad to study luxury - being involved as an ambassador to promote the school and the program I was into (MSc LMM) - having such a great professional core




On Campus

white baccalaureate in the world of work

I really appreciated the MS SDAI as a whole. The teaching staff, the different subjects, the university exchange, TEM... I started my internship in a consulting firm having acquired a solid foundation. Downside for CentraleSupélec, which I found far too academic for a program such as this.