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Beyond Grey Pinstripes 2001

Preparing MBAs For Social And Environmental Stewardship

Identifies the pioneering U.S. business schools and faculty dedicated to training future managers to handle complex social issues and provide stewardship of fragile environmental resources.

Executive Summary

Do tomorrow 's business leaders have yesterday's skills?

That question kept recurring as we tracked business education programs for our Beyond grey pinstripes surveys. Since the first Pinstripes survey in 1998, comments from our contacts and findings from our research point to a genuine disconnect between the skills businesses say they need and the skills business schools are teaching.

In view of this disconnect, we feel it is important to question and challenge what graduate business education is doing to train the business leaders of tomorrow.

Business education is big business. Every year, the industry dispatches thousands of MBA graduates to take management positions in companies around the world. And every year, the status and reputation of the industry's institutions are greatly influenced by rankings published in the media.

Yet business school rankings, with their narrow emphasis on incoming achievement scores and outgoing starting salaries, only tell a small part of the story. They certainly do not tell us if graduates are being trained to manage the increasingly complex, increasingly interdependent social and environmental challenges present in a global economy.

Beyond grey pinstripes 2001 is our attempt to fill the gap left by rankings and to bridge the disconnect between the skills businesses need and the training business schools provide.

The report spotlights schools and faculty at the forefront of incorporating social and environmental stewardship issues into the fabric of their MBA programs.

At the time we were conducting this survey, there was some concern that social and environmental stewardship issues would slip down the list of priorities in times of economic downturn.

However, the business leaders that participated in our roundtable discussion, "Beyond rankings: A vision for MBA education", are convinced that stewardship issues are so integral to long-term viability that corporations cannot ignore them and expect to remain competitive.

We share that conviction, along with a firm belief that the prospects for achieving long- term viability are directly linked to the training future business leaders receive in MBA programs.

Jonathan Lash
President, World Resources Institute

Judith Samuelson
Executive Director, Aspen ISIB

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