Empowering sustainable business leaders with the Global Online MBA
27 July 2023

Julia Gallois, Global Online MBA participant, discusses the importance of social and environmental sustainability for future business leaders and how the programme has helped her expand her knowledge on the topic.

Social and environmental sustainability (SES) is now essential for business. We bear an ethical and moral responsibility to minimise our negative impact on society and the environment. As part of a community, businesses have the opportunity to positively contribute to collective well-being, safeguard natural resources, and mitigate social and environmental risks.

Cultivating mindsets that embrace responsible practices

Having worked in the education field for over a decade, I am passionate about leveraging curriculum design that integrates sustainability across various subjects. By infusing sustainability principles into diverse disciplines, students embrace the interconnectedness between the environment, economy, and our social world. Teaching about sustainability goes beyond instilling knowledge; it cultivates a mindset that embraces responsible practices and encourages critical thinking. Developing the mindset that the world is ever evolving and to keep up in business, we need to continually re-educate ourselves on current best-practice. It is vital that now more than ever, business leaders take on the role of life-long learners and students to ensure future success.

Future business leaders and their impact on society

The life-long learner mindset for our future business leaders in every generation is necessary to address both today’s needs around sustainability and those of the future. Neglecting SES considerations has not only adverse effects on society but also comes with financial consequences. With growing consumer awareness of sustainability, purchasing decisions are increasingly aligned with eco-friendly values. Moreover, sustainable practices often yield enhanced operational efficiency and cost reductions, leading investors, shareholders, and financial institutions to actively seek companies with robust SES practices.

Addressing SES risks not only improves a business's financial standing but also bolsters its resilience and long-term viability, as governments and regulatory bodies implement stricter environmental and social regulations. Furthermore, proactively managing SES risks can uncover new market opportunities and foster innovation. Therefore, learning about SES and actively sharing knowledge about it is crucial. The bridge between education and sustainable business practices lies in empowering future leaders who are not only well-versed in sustainability but also possess the necessary skills to drive change within organisations.

Sustainability lessons embedded in the Global Online MBA

These are all lessons that are deeply embedded throughout Warwick Business School’s (WBS) Global Online MBA programme and, after completing some of my core learning, they steered me towards electives that specialise in sustainability. Even though I thought I had a grasp on sustainability, my awareness of the complexity around integrating SES in business needed to develop. Leveraging my hands-on experience in innovative education systems and EdTech, I have obtained new views on my role and how to successfully incorporate sustainable business practices. While sustainability is a complex issue and strategies around SES are often combined with tension between short-term and long-term gains, it is apparent that businesses that do not prioritise SES will not survive in the long term.

Studying a Global Online MBA at WBS has helped me deeply understand not only the importance of taking the time to learn about SES, but my studies have also helped me to think of creative solutions to incorporate SES strategies into business and education that I am able to implement in my current role and in the future. I am grateful that the Global Online MBA at WBS has acknowledged the critical importance of SES literacy for future business success and supports the opportunity for students to apply this to their respective fields.