Business degrees to save the world
Source: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

In a world on the precipice of environmental crises, social inequality, and various other complex global challenges, the conventional perception of what a business education can do is evolving. Gone are the years when a business degree was solely seen as means to corner offices and profit margins. Today, as the global community grapples with issues of sustainability, ethics, and humanitarianism, a new breed of business professionals is emerging — one armed not only with spreadsheets and profit-and-loss statements but also with a passionate determination to save the world.

There are MBAs that can help you achieve this goal. Universities that are closely linked to the industry have seen the returns and the necessity of incorporating sustainability into their curriculum. There are also online MBAs of this nature, allowing you to juggle your commitments whilst advancing your career and contributing to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Such programmes are growing in popularity, especially because there is a great need for business graduates who understand that profit and purpose can coexist and who are ready to rewrite the playbook on how business can make a difference. 

Here are four universities offering business degrees with immense potential to build a brighter future for the world:

The Online MBA at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater takes your interests into account, allowing you to choose between 13 unique emphases. Source: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater College of Business and Economics is the largest business school in Wisconsin, known for successfully preparing students for their first career positions, executive leadership or careers in academia. The school’s history dates back to 1913, when the university first offered business education classes, then known as commercial education. Continuing its innovative leadership in business education, UW-Whitewater began offering its online MBA program in 1998, one of the first universities in the world to do so. Using its rich history and expertise, the college today holds a reputation for excellence, founded on exceptional student experiences, relevant and rigorous curricula and innovative and effective teaching.

Most of these features were developed on the accreditation framework of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The college has earned AACSB accreditation for both business and accounting, a mark of quality acknowledged by employers and other higher education institutions. Less than 2% of business schools in the world hold this dual AACB accreditation.

This ongoing excellence can be seen in its Online Master of Business Administration. The programme is ranked the #1 Online MBA in Wisconsin among single-institution programmes and 27th in the nation by the US News & World Report. Designed for professionals with busy schedules, it is completely online, asynchronous and customisable to an individual’s interests and career goals. Courses are taught by experienced faculty, never a teaching assistant, and the University has been deemed the best value for tuition in the state.

Thirteen unique emphases and over 50 electives (covering a wide array of contemporary business issues) make this level of specialisation possible. Students can apply their elective toward a second emphasis, needing only two more unique courses to graduate with a dual focus. They may choose specializations in accounting, cybersecurity management, data analytics, environmental safety and health, finance, human resource management, information technology management, international business management, marketing, project management, and more.

Taking a hands-on approach with real-world examples, the programme enhances project management skills, helping students hone the art of negotiation and persuasion along the way too. They also get the chance to work in teams, exercising their ability to collaborate within a unit, lead fairly and effectively, as well as continuously improve through self-reflection. Indeed, the career outcomes for this degree are promising. As of 2021, roughly two-thirds of respondents agreed that their graduate management programme prepared them for their chosen career, offered opportunities for quicker advancement, and provided job security. To learn more about how this Online MBA can redefine your future, click here.

At the University of Oregon, MBA degrees include experiential opportunities such as internships and strategic planning projects. Source: University of Oregon

University of Oregon

University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business prioritises the “learning by doing” approach. Programmes like The Oregon MBA and the Oregon Executive MBA offer limitless experiential learning opportunities, including internships, strategic planning projects and portfolio management. Lundquist College of Business believes this creates a continuous loop in which real-world feedback drives constant improvement. 

Those enrolled in The Oregon MBA will go beyond business as usual. Students can choose from one of five select areas: Advanced Strategy and Leadership, Finance and Securities Analysis, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Sports Business, and Sustainable Business Practices. Whichever route you choose, you will have opportunities to advise companies on their business plans, formulate one for them, or leverage their industry contacts. These not only let you apply classroom learning to the real world, but also get you thinking outside conventional lines, and experiencing innovative business solutions and practices first-hand.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Executive MBA — ranked #31 in the US by CEO Magazine in 2020 — is designed for accomplished mid-to-senior managers, executives, entrepreneurs, and business leaders with demanding schedules. A transformational experience, this is where already accomplished professionals— in a cohort with an average size of 50 members — harness the confidence and skill to become successful leaders in today’s complex and global business world. They do this via global study trips, alumni presentations, immersions in Portland, and a capstone project. As graduates, they can benefit from connections to over 1,200 members in its alumni network. 

TJU’s Online MBA features the International Graduate Business Trip, where you will be able to explore corporations in other countries. Source: Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jefferson University

To step into a Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) School of Business classroom is to step into a dynamic learning lab. Students actively join forces with faculty members and their peers in a way that is immersive and engaging. They gain cutting-edge skills, collaborate across programs for an interdisciplinary, team-based and entrepreneurial environment, and get a feel of what their future workplaces will be like — graduates call this combination the “Jefferson advantage.”

TJU’s online programmes showcase this best. Students benefit from an integrated curriculum which impacts their careers in the long run, teaching imperative skills by exposing them to the development and execution of industry-disrupting and customer-centric business models. Part of Jefferson Online, a programme of note is the Online MBA.

In this business degree, students pick up intellectual tools that enhance their ability to tackle current issues for multinational firms, such as foreign exchange markets and associated risk, portfolio effects of capital markets, and more. Analysing venture opportunities and creating viable and practical business plans will become second nature to you in this programme. The Online MBA also includes industry exposure and experiences in the form of the International Graduate Business Trip, where you will be able to explore corporations in countries such as India, Spain, England, China, and Australia. 

At Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Management students get the support they need to get the job of their dreams. Source: Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Management is where you learn what you are capable of. The school ensures that you’re able to achieve the career of your dreams by giving you access to its broad alumni network, which can be found thriving in organisations in the business, public and private sectors. They are known as innovators who have a reputation for improving their workplaces, communities and industries.

What sets this faculty apart is how its programmes cover a wide scope of literacies that leaders, professionals and managers need: cultural, civic, data, digital, economic, emotional, environmental, ethical, financial, information, innovation, justice, numeric and scientific. By boldly bridging disciplines and sector, these programmes empower students to advance change and solve problems. 

If you’re looking for an option that takes into consideration your busy schedule and commitments, check out the Blended Online MBA. This programme includes extensive resources — such as readings, videos, discussion posts, blogs and audio files. Despite being online, there are real-time elements like Live Classroom, tutorials, Collaborate Ultra, Adobe Connect and Skype sessions. All of this ensures that students build real, personal connections with professors and other participants. 

Another real-time element is the face-to-face intensives. These happen at the end of each term, where participants meet for a three-to-five-day session (available in select cities across Canada). There is also a capstone course held during a five-day summer session on Dalhousie’s historic campus in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International