How sustainability is embedded in the MBA

24 May 2024

Rohit Punia, Full-time MBA participant, shares his ethos on social and environmental sustainability and explains how it is embedded within the programme.

Why is learning about social and environmental sustainability important to you?

After working for both multinational corporates and government organisations, from metropolitan cities to remote villages of India, I can comprehend the social and environmental impact of businesses on different stratas of society. I can see the futility of the economic development if it doesn’t lead to a fulfilled, happy and healthy life for individuals.

For me, learning about social and environmental sustainability is crucial because it aligns deeply with my personal values and my vision for the future of business. Businesses have a profound impact on society and the environment, and as future leaders, we have a responsibility to ensure that this impact is positive. As mentioned by Peter Drucker - “The best way to predict the future is to create it”, and understanding social and environmental sustainability equips us with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions that balance economic success with social equity and environmental stewardship to create a better future.

How is social and environmental sustainability embedded within your MBA?

At Warwick Business School (WBS), social and environmental sustainability is an integral part of the MBA curriculum. Every core academic module is required to have approximately 20% of its course content covering the social and environmental sustainability aspect in line with their discipline. This provides us the opportunity to look at sustainable practices from multiple perspectives and to grasp in-depth understanding. Further, WBS provides the option to pursue the Social and Environmental Sustainability specialism, where students can choose specially curated electives in this field. Additionally, the MBA international elective module at Nova Business School is focussed on Conscious Capitalism. This comprehensive approach ensures that social and environmental sustainability is not just an add-on but a fundamental aspect of our learning experience.

What are your key social and environmental sustainability based takeaways so far?My key takeaways from social and environmental sustainability studies at WBS are multifaceted. Firstly, I have learned that sustainability is a strategic imperative, not just a compliance issue. Companies that proactively embrace sustainable practices often gain competitive advantages, such as enhanced brand reputation, customer loyalty, and operational efficiencies. Secondly, innovation is at the heart of sustainability. Sustainable solutions often require creative problem-solving and a willingness to challenge the status quo. The third key lesson is the importance of stakeholder engagement – understanding and balancing the needs and expectations of various stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and communities. Lastly, the interconnectedness of global challenges has become apparent; addressing issues like climate change, social inequality, and resource scarcity requires a holistic and collaborative approach.

How will your experience with social and environmental sustainability help you in your future career?

As I progress through the course, I am continually inspired by the potential of businesses to be a force for good. Whether I pursue a role in a multinational corporation, a start-up, or a non-profit organisation, the principles of social and environmental sustainability will guide my decision-making and leadership approach. I am now equipped to identify and mitigate risks related to sustainability, drive innovation for sustainable products and services, and build strategies that align with the triple bottom line of sustainability. Moreover, my ability to communicate the importance of social and environmental sustainability to diverse stakeholders will help foster a culture of sustainability within any organisation I join.

For prospective students considering an MBA at WBS, the focus on social and environmental sustainability is not just an academic exercise but a real-world necessity that prepares you to lead with purpose and responsibility.