Carlson School lags behind in national report

Travis Reed

The Carlson School of Management might not deal effectively with social and environmental issues, according to a report released Thursday.
The report, “Grey Pinstripes with Green Ties,” was issued by the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C. The organization is a nonprofit, environmental think tank that works with businesses and governments worldwide on environmental and resource issues.
Compared to other schools in its percentile, the Carlson School competes in the area of faculty publications but trails significantly in areas of student opportunity and institutional support for environmental involvement.
The study surveyed 67 leading business schools about their environmental involvement, concluding that fewer than one in five of the accredited institutions integrate environmental issues into their graduate school curricula.
The survey grouped MBA programs into four groups according to scores in three categories: student course work and training; institutional support; and faculty publications and research. Overall, the Carlson School ranked at the bottom of the second percentile, measuring similarly to “schools with programs showing moderate activities.”
“We think that they are doing some things, but there are more things that they could be doing,” said Kavida Prakash-Mani, a World Resources Institute business analyst. “They do have some student initiatives and are looking at institutional support, but it’s not totally incorporated into what the school is offering.”
University officials, however, are not concerned about the report. Some were unaware of its release.
“Environmental and social issues are not necessarily the main areas that we focus on, but we do have some activities that involve these areas,” said Gary Lindblad, director of the Carlson School’s MBA program.
The Carlson School is one of few MBA programs nationally that requires a graded business ethics course.
“The course addresses a lot of ethical areas, but one of the things that’s always talked about is environmental ethics,” said Norman Bowie, professor of strategic management and organization.
Bowie also said that despite the institute’s findings, the Carlson School is doing a good job of including environmental issues in its students’ course work.
Additionally, Lindblad said that with only 250 students and 110 faculty members in the day MBA program, the Carlson School doesn’t have the resources available to support the curriculum and activities measured by the report.
“With reports like this, the larger you are, the better chance you have of being ranked toward the top,” Lindblad added.
According to the institute’s report, regardless of the Carlson school’s size, its integration of environmental issues into its curricula are not quite up to par.
“There are schools who are doing a lot of research on environmental issues,” Prakash-Mani said. “We wanted to give (the MBA programs) a feel for where each school stands.”
Programs listed as being “on the forefront of education in business and the environment” include schools like George Washington University in Washington, D.C., which is listed at the top of each category and is in the process of establishing an environmental MBA degree.
“If schools perceive a market for these skills, these topics become important,” Prakash-Mani said.

Travis Reed covers transportation and environment and can be reached at [email protected]