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Ross School Among the Best in Environmental and Social Responsibility

9/21/2011 --

The Aspen Institute's Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey ranks the Ross MBA program in the Top 10 in the world for integrating environmental, ethical and social issues.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Once again, the Michigan Ross School of Business is among the best business schools in the world for integrating environmental, social and ethical issues into its MBA program, according to the Aspen Institute's 2011-12 Beyond Grey Pinstripes report.

The biennial survey and ranking of business schools placed the Ross School at No. 7 overall. Ross is the only U.S. school to make the Top 10 in every ranking since Beyond Grey Pinstripes began in 2001. Ross also was once again ranked highly in the relevance and business impact of course content and in peer-reviewed faculty research related to social and environmental responsibility.

Alison Davis-Blake, the Edward J. Frey Dean of the Ross School, says environmental and social responsibility is a cornerstone of the school's action-based learning approach to management education.

"The Ross School has long been among the world leaders in research and academic programming devoted to sustainable enterprise," she says. "At Ross, we don't view social and environmental responsibility as a realm separate from that of everyday business.

"In the course of doing business, companies address issues of social impact, environmental sustainability and their place in civil society. We make a point of integrating these concerns into our curriculum and our teaching in a manner that is both innovative and relevant."

Beyond Grey Pinstripes, which collected data from 149 full-time MBA programs in 22 countries, evaluates business school programs on the following metrics: 1) Required and elective courses with content addressing social, ethical and environmental issues in mainstream, for-profit business; and 2) Faculty research on social, ethical and environmental topics published in peer-reviewed business journals.

"In all scoring categories used to determine the rankings, business schools have raised the bar," said Judith Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program. "There are more courses with content on social, ethical and environmental issues, more courses about the role of business as a positive agent for change, more exposure of students to this content, and more research published by faculty on relevant topics."

A key driver behind the Ross School's success in integrating environmental issues into the MBA program is the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, founded in 1996. A partnership between Ross and the U-M's School of Natural Resources and Environment, the Erb Institute fosters global sustainable enterprise through interdisciplinary research and education initiatives, including its acclaimed MBA/MS program. The three-year degree program, which has more than doubled its class size in the past two years, includes course offerings that fuse business with environment, including Sustainable Development, Competitive Environmental Strategy and Sustainable Manufacturing.

"Erb faculty and programs have challenged students to put sustainability to work in the real world for the last 15 years," says Andrew Hoffman, director of the Erb Institute and the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise. "As a result, our alumni are among the most influential thought leaders on sustainable enterprise policy and practice in the world.

"We are gratified that the state of sustainability education in business schools worldwide appears to be on the upswing since only through broad-scale changes in business education can sustainability fully enter the business world. We do not plan to rest on our laurels and will continue to push to take sustainable business education to the next level."

The academic environment at the Ross School attracts and nurtures a highly engaged student body. The school offers more than 80 courses and a vast array of student clubs, speaker series, seminars, conferences, institutes and centers, and career development opportunities that integrate environmental and social perspectives.

Such activities are an integral part of a learning community dedicated to training leaders who have a global, socially responsible view of how their organizations fit into an interconnected world. Among the many student clubs that address social and environmental responsibility is the Ross Net Impact club, the largest club of its kind in the country and winner of the National Chapter of the Year honors for four consecutive years.

In addition to Erb, the Ross School also benefits from partnerships with other U-M schools and institutes. The Nonprofit and Public Management Center, a partnership with the schools of public policy and social work, is dedicated to providing managerial expertise to the dynamic intersection among public, private and nonprofit institutions. In addition, the Ross School shares many resources with the William Davidson Institute, which has a mission to improve social welfare and facilitate economic transition in developing countries.

The complete ranking of the 2011-12 Beyond Grey Pinstripes "Global 100" business schools can be found at

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 647-1847,