The University of Wisconsin School of Business' MBA program was ranked No. 33 in the world last week for its social and environmental issues initiatives.
The ranking was developed by the Aspen Institute and graded UW in coursework, student opportunities and faculty research, according to School of Business Public Relations Director Tina Frailey.
"We are among the top 10 schools in the country, and the top 15 schools in the world for coursework in social and environmental responsibility," Frailey said.
UW Business Professor Tom Eggert started the School of Business's first environmental course, called Environmental Strategy and Sustainability, followed by several other sustainability courses. Two new courses, titled People, Plants and Profits and Business and Social Side of Sustainability, will be taught in the spring, Eggert said.
"Student interest has justified the continuance of these classes," Eggert said.
According to UW business professor Dan Anderson, sustainability is a relatively new field and growing in popularity.
"The issue has become very important in the business world," Anderson said. "I anticipate a substantial demand for students with experience in sustainability."
As for student opportunities, Frailey said, UW has two student organizations geared toward business sustainability — Business Action for Sustainable Enterprise, as well as a chapter of the international Net Impact organization.
BASE works to increase awareness of sustainable business by participating in academic programs and community service, while Net Impact tries to create social change and a better world through business.
"These organizations show that the school has a variety of resources and opportunities for students to get involved [in the field]," Frailey said.
Although UW maintains its spot among the top third of business schools and No. 2 in the Big Ten, the ranking given in 2005 of 33rd in the world and 24th in the United States fell to 28th in the world and 16th nationally.
Anderson attributed this drop in the rankings to growing competition in the field, and said he is not concerned.
"It is not so much that we went down [in the rankings], but that we are ranked," Anderson said. "We are excited that we're in the top third."
Frailey said this recognition of the School of Business helps the university as a whole.
"It contributes to the university's reputation by having such a high-ranking school," Frailey said.
The School of Business will soon expand its sustainability program by partnering with the Nelson Institute to open the Center for Business, the Environment, and Social Responsibility, Eggert said. The proposal was recently approved, and funds are currently being raised for the initiative.
The center will allow UW to offer two new certificate programs — a certificate of business for non-business environmental students, and an environmental certificate for business students.
Eggert said the new center, along with UW’s rankings, would make the School of Business very appealing to prospective students.
"We will be better able to attract both undergraduates and graduates interested in sustainability," Eggert said.