These are the 20 most interesting business courses in the world today
Be inspired at these business schools. Source: Rawpixel on Unsplash

How do you choose which business school is right for you? As an international student, you might start with filtering a few select countries – preferably those with good job prospects and even better industry connections.

Or you might look into rankings – there are many, from Forbes‘ Best Business Schools to the Financial Times‘ MBA Rankings. They have many indicators and figures, from global surveys of employer engagement to the number of research citations and academic reputation.

Still, these can fail to really give you the deep insight you need for one of the biggest decisions of your life. Ideally, you want to get a sense of the nitty-gritty, as if you are sitting in a class at the very business school you’re considering. The stakes are high and after all, fail to prepare and you could be stuck with a course or school that not only drains your finances but wastes a few good years of your life.

If that’s the case, try looking into the Ideas Worth Teaching Awards instead. The awards list the most “exceptional courses” that prepare business students for tackling “society’s largest challenges”, striving to create a “more inclusive, just, and sustainable version of capitalism”.

According to Quartzthis year’s edition “focused on critical social issues ripped from the headlines —populism, water scarcity and artificial intelligence among them — and illuminate how and why these issues are business issues.”

Most importantly, it honours “curricula that bring to life the promise of meaningful work in business”. This is the crucial bit for prospective students. Nothing tells you what an actual class will be like than the syllabus it entails. Aspen Institute’s award makes things even better by ranking the world’s most ground-breaking 20 into a neat little list just for you.

For example, the College of Business’s Business Ethics: Critical Thinking Through Film  class at Stony Brook University uses films as a clever simulator for the decision-making process within business, just as pilots and astronauts use flight simulators before launching into space.

Meanwhile, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the Fault Lines & Foresight (A Primer for Future Worlds) class tackles the issue of the commodification of water, challenging students to use foresight tools to solve other global “fault lines”.

If all these are up your alley, here are the awards’ top 20 most exceptional business courses in the world today for your consideration, in no particular order. (Click through on the course name to get to the syllabus):

Corporate Purpose & Leadership

Course Lecturer University
Business Ethics: Critical Thinking Through Film Jadranka Skorin-Kapov Stony Brook University
Issues in CSR Talia Aharoni Tel-Aviv University
Prospering Over the Long-Term Tima Bansal Western University
Reimagining Capitalism: Business and the Big Problems Rebecca Henderson & George Serafeim Harvard University
The End of Globalization? David Bach Yale University
Why Business? Matthew T. Phillips, James Otteson & Adam S. Hyde Wake Forest University


Course Lecturer University
Alternative Economic Models Sandrine Stervinou Audencia Business School
Economic Growth, Technology, and Structural Change Peter Kriesler University of New South Wales
Economic Inequality and Social Mobility James R Freeland & R Edward Freeman University of Virginia
Impact Investing and Social Finance C Sara L Minard, Northeastern University
Peer to Peer Economies Melissa L Bradley Georgetown University
Urban and Regional Economics Jaime Luque University of Wisconsin-Madison

Employment & Social Sustainability

Course Lecturer University
Human Capital Sustainability Patrick P McHugh George Washington University
Intrapreneurship: Leading Social Innovation in Organizations Gerald F Davis & Chris White University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Management of Services: Concepts, Design, and Delivery Zeynep Ton Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Technological Change at Work Adam Seth Litwin Cornell University

Environmental Sustainability

Course Lecturer University
Fault Lines and Foresight Regina M Abrami University of Pennsylvania
Sustainability & Environmental Accounting Dror Etzion McGill University
Sustainability Tools & Processes for New Initiatives Robert Sroufe Duquesne University
Sustainable Business In Iceland Andrew J Hoffman University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

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