Business degrees play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our world by equipping future leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to address complex global challenges. These degrees empower individuals with a unique blend of strategic thinking, innovation, and ethical decision-making that can save the world.
Take Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, for an example. Armed with an MBA, Nadella transformed the tech giant into a sustainability leader. Under his leadership, Microsoft committed to becoming carbon-negative by 2030, not just reducing its carbon footprint but actively removing carbon from the environment. Meanwhile, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple with an MBA, revolutionised how we saw laptops and smartphones — but more importantly, how we connected with the rest of the world.
Yet, they are just two examples of business as a force for good. There are countless more business graduates promoting sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical practices within their organisations. They pioneer initiatives like circular economies, renewable energy adoption, and fair labour practices. These efforts ripple across industries, encouraging positive change on a global scale.
To get to that stage, the best business degrees can help. They provide all the crucial knowledge, skills, network and experience that can not just turn a profit but turn the world into a more sustainable place. The result? Graduates ready to drive impactful change — just like the above leaders.
Here are four leading business schools that offer degree programmes that are good for the people and the planet.
University of St.Gallen
The University of St.Gallen‘s Master in Strategy and International Management (SIM) has been leading the way in management education. It consistently secured the top spot in the Financial Times Global Masters in Management Ranking for an unparalleled 12 consecutive years from 2011 to 2022.
What sets SIM apart is its focus on nurturing a service-oriented culture and fostering collaborative values. Here, SIMmies are instilled with a service attitude that emphasises serving others and prioritising the greater good. This ethos is woven into the programme’s fabric, creating responsible global leaders who are exceptional managers and dedicated contributors to society.
Another standout feature of SIM is the SIMagination Challenge course, an integral part of the programme. This year-long course acts as a catalyst for developing essential leadership qualities by engaging students in social impact initiatives. Students expand and enhance existing projects initiated by previous SIM generations, encouraging long-term strategic thinking, effectiveness, and a profound commitment to creating lasting social impact.
This work is often done in diverse teams, with plenty of collaboration with experienced partner organisations. These partnerships allow students to transcend geographical and cultural borders as they seek innovative solutions to global social issues.
With such features, SIM strikes a harmonious balance between academic rigour and practicality, blending the depth of a Master of Arts with the real-world orientation of leading MBA programmes. Its comprehensive curriculum covers strategy, leadership, finance, marketing, organisational behaviour, and international management, equipping students to excel in an increasingly digitalised world.
The result? Graduates of the SIM programme emerge as respected and responsible leaders, equipped to navigate the complexities of the modern business landscape. Whether as managers, entrepreneurs, or business consultants, they carry with them the values of collaboration, service, and a commitment to making a meaningful impact on society.
Interested? Create your own purposeful learning journey at the University of St.Gallen. Learn more about the programme here.
Stockholm School of Economics
The birthplace of well-established international companies such as IKEA, Volvo, H&M, Spotify, Skype and more, Sweden is filled with inspiration and innovation. For further ingenuity and the know-how to develop a global business of your own, the Master’s and Executive MBA programmes from the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) fit the bill.
SSE offers five challenging master’s programmes, including MSc in International Business, MSc in Finance, MSc in Accounting, Valuation & Financial Management, MSc in Business & Management and MSc in Economics. Its programmes are developed in close cooperation with research and business communities and are delivered in English.
This EMBA programme was specifically designed for those passionate about business development and learning. Teachings in sustainability are integrated throughout the programme alongside electives in innovation, entrepreneurship and financial management. These subjects are facilitated through modules, courses, live streams and skill-building seminars, all of which have contributed to graduates receiving an average salary increase of 53%.
Further complementing this top-ranked academic experience at SSE is the student exchange programme. This initiative helps expand global perspectives and connects students to industry leaders and fellow business students from all over the world.
SSE students can also begin their entrepreneurial journey at the SSE Business Lab, an incubator that supports students in their business ventures.
ESCP Business School
Eighth in Europe and 27th worldwide; first worldwide for International Course Experience; third worldwide for being value for money; fourth worldwide for its carbon footprint and ESG teaching; first in Germany, second in Italy and third in UK, France and Spain. These are only a few laurels of honour ESCP Business School has achieved in the 2023 Financial Times MBA ranking.
ESCP’s MBA in International Management is making waves in the business industry. Designed for students with at least three years of work experience, this programme aims to help students achieve career goals and strengthen their entrepreneurial spirit.
The MBA is renowned for its diversity within the faculty and its cohorts. ESCP’s campuses are in Berlin, London, Madrid, Turin, and Paris. Students will have the opportunity to explore three different campuses during their programme. Flexibility is also a key feature, allowing students to learn on campus, online or hybrid between 10 to 34 months — making it compatible for anyone with a full-time job or family obligations.
The programme nurtures students into exceptional graduates through its five-week specialisation and two Company Consultancy Projects (CCP), where students consult for companies on real-life cases. Students not only expand their international work experience, but they also get to apply the concepts acquired in the classroom and get to know a specific sector (Banking, Tourism, Tech) or function (Marketing, HR, Operations).
London Business School
Located in Regent’s Park, London Business School (LBS) is in the very heart of the UK’s capital. Here, students can pursue a range of programmes relating to business, including MSc, MBA and EMBAs across accounting, economics, finance, management science and operations, marketing, organisational behaviour, strategy, and entrepreneurship.
Academic expertise is at the forefront of learning at LBS. In fact, it has an MBA and Master’s in Management programme that have both been ranked first by highly respected publications worldwide. They’re taught on campuses that place emphasis on diversity and inclusivity, making for an environment that encourages networking and connection as well as thinking for the greater good.
“Before LBS, a ‘network’ was just a buzzword — but I soon learned that the people you connect with are those who drive you forward,” says MIM graduate Claudia Broggi.
This is also a business school committed to driving the sustainable development agenda. A key way it does this is through preparing women for leadership roles. “I made the most of that diversity in terms of building my network and developing lifelong friendships – I’m still in touch with my whole class and we visit each other post-EMBA,” says Executive MBA Dubai graduate Alither Rutendo Mutsago-Makanya. “I also look beyond my immediate cohort’s alumni events here in Doha. I appreciate the power of building a solid, social capital – both in terms of career growth, and also on a very personal level.”
More than that, graduates from these programmes are proven to be consistently valued by employers worldwide. For example, 94% of LBS management graduates secured a job offer within three months of graduation, with an average starting salary of US$58,223. It’s truly a stepping stone to success — now and in the future.
*Some of the institutions featured on this article are commercial partners of Study International