Friday, July 23, 2010

Another perspective on Green MBA's

I wrote an editorial this week for on Green MBA's entitled "Will Green MBA's save the planet"? The key point here is that it is not enough for millions of eager students to rush to study about green, clean and sustainable business - there has to be a strong recognition within corporates that these greenies are what they need to help their business become green, clean and sustainable. This requires two things: First, that Green MBA curricula are developed with the practical needs of future business sustainability in mind and two, that businesses give preference to Greenies. Who drives this? The Human Resources function, of course! And how much do HR people know about  Green MBA's and their value? I would be interested to hear from any HR Manager who has made a concerted effort to review Green MBA options and give preference to these within their recruiting process. Hmm. Any takers?

At this point, it makes sense to refer to a wonderful series of interviews conducted by Aman Singh who writes the In Good Company blog for An interesting conclusion made in the summary article, which aligns with the point I make,  is:

" [Geetanjali] Singh also realizes that she is stuck amidst a key disconnect in the job market: While some companies are reactively ramping up their CSR initiatives, they are tending to hire externally only for senior level positions. The mid- and entry-level positions in these new CSR-focused teams, however, are being filled internally. This has created a framework that is restricting business school graduates who may be equipped with a deeper understanding of the issues than the internal employee base, but lack the "industry experience" to apply for the few available senior-level jobs. "

Another insight from Ashley Jablow is quoted:

"For Jablow, who is very active in social media and regularly blogs on CSR on The Changebase, this is déjà vu. "I did numerous informational interviews over the last couple of years with CSR leaders at different companies, and their advice was always to go get functional business experience. Go work in marketing, finance, or strategy, and from there, after two or five or 10 years, create internal change and move into a CSR role internally within the company," she said. Today, she continues to run into the same advice."

So there we have it. Green MBA's are not getting the kind of reception that we would expect from sustainability minded companies. Either they are "too inexperienced", or they compete against the majority group of non-greenies for entry roles which do not require greeny stuff in the short term.

This is  short-sighted on the part of  HR leadership who need to be hiring talent for long term business sustainability. I repeat, it is time for HR to WAKE-UP to CSR.  

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional. Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website

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