Sustainability is a core aspect of an education at the University at Buffalo’s School of Management. Here’s how.
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The future of business is sustainable — and it starts at the University at Buffalo

“Sustainability is no longer optional.” That’s what Stephanie Tisdale, senior vice president and strategic initiatives expert at M&T Bank, sees reflected in business today. What was previously a move by a few eco-conscious firms is now a necessity — one that demands every business take action against the rising threat of climate change, or risk falling behind.

As board president of the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable, Tisdale works to benefit the triple bottom line — people, planet and profit. “By choosing a more sustainable option, your employees will be happier, it benefits your customers, and therefore you bring in more business — how can you say no to that?” she asks.

Tisdale is one of many graduates from the University at Buffalo’s (UB) School of Management who are taking actionable steps towards real change. They were part of a school that holds the prestigious AACSB accreditation (the hallmark of management education) and places in the top 10% of all major rankings.

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At the University at Buffalo, sustainability in business is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity. Source: University at Buffalo

The Business of Climate Change is a central focus here. Practices that support ecological, human, and economic health and vitality are deeply embedded into every programme’s curriculum, ensuring everyone does their part to positively impact their community and planet. UB School of Management goes beyond just sparking a sense of responsibility, however — it shows entrepreneurs exactly why finite resources should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences.

“We’re seeing a radical market shift from what consumers are demanding, led by Gen Z,” says Ryan McPherson, chief sustainability officer at UB. “If today’s companies aren’t paying attention to climate change and sustainability, they’re doing so at their own peril.”

A climate change-focused curriculum

McPherson co-teaches the “Sustainability as a Business Strategy” course — the first of its kind offered at UB School of Management. It focuses on why sustainability makes smart business sense, challenging students in the Professional MBA (PMBA) programme to come up with an idea or company to advance a UN sustainable development goal.

PMBA student Skyler Hein and her fellow coursemates got to work. Through research, they found that daily coffee consumption plays a significant role in advancing global warming; its waste contributes to producing a greenhouse gas that’s 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Hein and her team found a way to leverage this waste — by recycling them into skincare products.

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Students at UB School of Management learn through real-world experiences. Source: University at Buffalo

It’s a discovery that’s completely changed the way she views business. “I’ve been talking with my company about how we can create a more sustainable environment and have a positive impact on our community,” she shares. “Shifting the conversation and framing sustainability as a business strategy has been vital in opening discussions and advocating for change.”

PMBA graduate Andrea Doyle agrees. “Before this course, I rarely considered sustainable alternatives for businesses as potential cost savers or opportunities for revenue growth,” the now senior financial analyst at M&T Bank says. “Now I see the pure market opportunity and consumer demand for sustainable products and practices. Any business that isn’t focusing on sustainable measures is going to be caught flat-footed.”

Learn from experts in sustainability and climate change

Faculty at the UB School of Management are not just educators — they are active researchers, studying climate change through the lens of business. They’re leading groundbreaking discoveries, from unearthing a strategy to reduce energy consumption by 10% to 30% in data centres to contributing more knowledge to environmental, social and governance criteria (ESG).

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Learn from experts in a variety of fields and enrich your understanding of sustainability and business. Source: University at Buffalo

All the while, they work with other thought leaders in a variety of sectors to inform and enrich their programmes. A multitude of partnerships means that the UB School of Management works collaboratively with organisations around the world to generate sustainable solutions to global challenges. A “speaker series” brings US thought leaders to campus, where they speak to students about the business of climate change.

Then there’s the change being set in motion within the UB network as well. The MS in Sustainable Transportation and Logistics, for example, collaborates alongside the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. It blends analytical and engineering problem-solving skills with management principles, preparing graduates to tackle the world’s most critical transportation and logistics questions.

Similarly, the Schools of Management and Social Work have launched an initiative to bring entrepreneurial and socially-minded students together. They learn from one another, broaden their skill sets and perspectives, and aid mission-driven organisations.

“Social innovation is driving change across the globe, as companies, nonprofits, governments and individuals work together to find ways to address poverty, health and wellness, climate change, food scarcity and other critical issues we face,” says Paul Tesluk, former dean of the School of Management. “Each stakeholder brings critical resources and experiences to the table, and it’s at this intersection where organizations can provide the most social benefit.”

The result? Ambitious, responsible and creative thinkers who are armed with the right knowledge to make a real impact on the world. It starts at the University of Buffalo — prompting a journey that contributes to the betterment of our society in the long run. Learn more about the University at Buffalo School of Management’s graduate degree programs and make a life changing move today!

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