Through a global survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group, we sought to determine where exactly sustainability sits on the management agendas of the more than 2,800 companies. It turns out that it’s prominent: more than two-thirds of companies have placed sustainability permanently on their management agenda.
Our study also found that two-thirds of companies see sustainability as necessary to being competitive in today’s marketplace, up from 55% a year earlier. In addition, two thirds of respondents said management attention to, and investment in, sustainability has increased in the last year.
There’s this notion that business school students tend to do a lot of talking, yet very little walking. But when I look back on my year as the Chief Marketing Officer of SloanGear – the only student-owned campus store in the country – I can honestly say that I applied what I learned in the classroom every day. SloanGear is a real company; this was not just a mathematical exercise, or Excel model or a case study. When we were buying the business, for instance, we had to come up with an enterprise valuation, which we figured out using a discounted cash flow model and other approaches we learned in finance and investment management classes. And in one of our marketing classes, we learned about how to use conjoint analysis to drive product innovation and as a company we implemented those methods.
Our global economy calls for managers with a global business education. A solid foundation in management theory must be accompanied not only by practical applications of that knowledge, but also by a deep understanding of the cultures and economies in other regions, exposure to students, faculty and experts from around the world, and opportunities to learn first-hand about business issues in other countries.
MIT Sloan has been a pioneer in this area, recognizing the need early on to prepare MBA students for global careers. For nearly 30 years, our MBA student body has reflected this commitment with approximately 40% of students coming from outside the U.S. And as a global institution, we’ve been able to attract and retain top faculty from around the world. Students benefit not only from professors’ cutting-edge research on international business issues, but also from their diverse perspectives on business.