This story is in regard to the October 2007 article “School of Business ranks 33 in social, environmental initiatives.” In 2007, our School of Business ranked in terms of social and environmental initiatives. At the time, the Wisconsin MBA ranked 33rd worldwide and 24th in the U.S., according to the Aspen Institute’s list of the top 100 business schools for environmental, social and ethical management education.

I think it is important to update students and let them know that on the Aspen Institute’s 2009-10 Beyond Grey Pinstripes list, the Wisconsin MBA skyrocketed in its rankings and is now 17th worldwide and 15th in the U.S. Many students don’t realize this realm of study is offered within the curriculum of Wisconsin’s School of Business. Instead, the focus remains on the school’s ranking as 5th among public business schools in the U.S. and second in the Big Ten, though a shift towards education on sustainability is becoming a vital part of understanding business practice.

The University of Wisconsin is unique as the concept of sustainability becomes a core concept in courses. Current courses range from Business and the Social Side of SustainabilityB to Systems Thinking and Sustainable Business to Triple Bottom Line Accounting.T These classes were first offered in the mid-1990s, and have only increased in popularity, enrollment and importance since then. As companies continue to face pressure from customers, investors and employees to be concerned about their environmental footprint, enrollment in such classes will only continue to swell.

Secondly, since the subject has created much student interest since it was first introduced, new courses and programs are being added annually. One of the most important recent additions to the Wisconsin School of Business is the Graduate Certificate in Business, Environment and Social Responsibility in conjunction with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. This graduate certificate is designed to provide knowledge and skills to strategically apply business principles to environmental and social challenges. Additionally, it prepares students to systematically integrate sustainability issues into day-to-day management decision-making.

The School of Business continues to realize that in order to create the high-achieving and responsible future leaders it strives to generate, students must understand how environmental and values-based leadership is integral to the long-term success of any business.

If interest in the field continues to expand, the UW will be obligated to expand its current Environmental Studies, Business, Environment and Social Responsibility certificate programs, and offer them as entire undergraduate majors to match both the interest and our business school’s nationwide ranking in terms of social and environmental initiatives. Such improvements could help boost publicity and student interest regarding the UW School of Business’ focus on sustainability, ultimately helping it maintain a top spot in national rankings.

Sarah Keller ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in International Studies, Environmental Studies and Business.