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MBA in Sustainability


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Ranked #1 Green MBA

in 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 | #1 MBA

for Non-Profit Management |

# 4 Globally, Better World MBA

Top-Business-Schools 2021-1Bard’s MBA in Sustainability is a globally leading business program that fully integrates a sustainability vision, real world consulting engagements, organizational transformation and entrepreneurial training, equipping graduates who are changing the game.  Learn about our theory of change here. 

Sustainability Baked In, Not Bolted On

This is more than just an MBA with a sustainability concentration. Bard fully integrates a focus on sustainability and mission-driven business into a core MBA. In courses from Operations to Strategy to Finance, students learn to use business tools to build businesses that are in business to solve social and environmental challenges. The program offers optional concentrations including Circular Value Chain Management and Impact Finance 

Engaged, Practitioner Faculty

Bard's sustainability MBA features small classes and close connections with world-class faculty. All of our professors are practitioners, inventing sustainable business in their day jobs and bringing that experience into the classroom. 

Highly Experiential

The only MBA program that offers a year-long course in sustainability consulting for real-world clients. All students also complete an individually-mentored capstone project starting a company, driving change strategies in business as high-level consultants, or pursuing a career switch. These are just a few of the many reasons we're ranked among the best sustainability MBA programs.

Career Focused

At Bard, you'll never have to ask, "What can you do with an MBA in Sustainability?" Our master's in sustainability supports our graduates in finding jobs where they can make a difference at scale, soon, because time is short. In our Individual Career Planning process, each student meets with our career planning staff at least once every semester to develop and execute on their career plan. Students build their resumes through internships, consulting positions, certifications, case competitions, and the capstone process.

Learn more about our MBA career development program or review alumni career success here.


*International applicants: click here for important eligibility information.

Our MBA in Sustainability prepares students for leadership positions in a variety of business environments—from innovative start-ups to major corporations—with in-depth knowledge of core business skills through the lens of sustainability. The curriculum provides a grounding in management essentials, with a continual focus on the integrated bottom line: economic success, environmental integrity, and social equity. Future-thinking students who earn an MBA in Sustainability early in the development of the industry will position themselves to be the forefront of a massive shift in how we do business.

beatriceWith my background in human rights and law, I joined the Bard MBA program to expand my toolkit. The program continues Bard's tradition of egalitarian engagement with world issues while providing a concrete focus in sustainability management. This preparation deepens my understanding of local, regional, and global dynamics around sustainability and gives me ready and applicable skill sets for problem solving in the 21st century. — Beatrice Ajaero, MBA ’17
Read about Beatrice's work: NY Times | Thrillist | ABC News |NYC Hospitality Alliance


Hybrid Model: an In-Person and Online MBA in Sustainability

Bard's is a low-residency MBA, and our technology-enabled structure models the future of graduate business education. The program combines intensive face-to-face interaction, community building, and career networking through in-person weekend residencies with online evening classes.

We think of our sustainability MBA as a series of 3-4 day retreats, spread out over two or three years, and tied together by weekly online, live courses. Bard MBA's hybrid structure:

  • Accommodates working professionals
  • Allows students to manage family commitments
  • Enables students to attend the program from across the U.S.
  • Supports a world-class faculty of active practitioner-teachers

Full-Time and Part-Time Enrollment Options

Bard offers full-time and part-time enrollment options, both in the hybrid structure, to accommodate students' schedules. Please review both enrollment options to identify the best fit or schedule a call with an admissions counselor to discuss your circumstances.


Full-time MBA

The full-time enrollment option allows Bard MBA students to complete their 60-credit MBA degree in the shortest time possible. This two-year option is best suited for students who are employed part-time or less. While all Bard MBA enrollment is hybrid (online + in person coursework), students are encouraged to recognize that the full-time option is a full master’s level course load of 15 credits per semester, requiring adequate time and headspace to complete the homework, classwork, and group projects.

  • 2 year program with fall and spring semester enrollment
  • 15 credits per term
  • One 4-day Weekend Residency per month
  • 6 hours of online classes per week (2 nights per week, 3 hours per night)
  • 21 hours per week of online coursework and homework
  • Recommended for students employed no more than 30 hours per week

Course Work



  • Principles of Sustainable Management

  • Economics for Decision Making

  • Personal Leadership Development

  • Accounting and the Integrated Bottom Line

  • NYCLab

  • Globalization and Emerging Markets

  • Strategy for Sustainability

  • Data, Analytics, and Decisions

  • Finance for Sustainability

  • Customers and Marketing

  • Entrepreneurship

  • Leading Change in Organizations

  • Operations and Supply Chains

  • Sustaining a Mission-Driven Organization

  • Employees and Organizations

  • Business Pragmatics

  • ImpactLab: Defining the Future of Finance

  • Business and Sustainable Development

  • Capstone

Note: Yearly course offerings are subject to change.


Dropdown to Course Descriptions


Is a full-time MBA program right for me?

The Bard MBA full-time enrollment option is ideal for students who:

  • are working less than 30 hours a week

  • have minimal outside-of-school commitments

  • have a finite timeline in which they would like to earn their MBA

  • have a strong aptitude for time management and multi-tasking (if also working full-time or managing outside commitments)

Students pursing the full-time enrollment option may want to consider:

  • where they live (commuting to NYC from outside the region can incentivize some students to enroll full-time to minimize commuting time and others to enroll part-time to manage commuting and school requirements)

  • if they have the bandwidth to participate in non-required activities while enrolled full time including networking events, case/pitch competitions, consulting projects with faculty, internships etc.

  • their ideal work-life-school balance

**Every Bard MBA student has different financial, professional, and personal circumstances and chooses an enrollment option that works best for them. Please contact the Admissions Office for enrollment advice and to be connected with a current student with whom you can speak about their experience.**

Full-time students attend Residencies over a four-day weekend once a month. A illustrative sample schedule is below.

  9:00 am–12 noon 
12 noon–1:30 pm
Lunch &  Community Meeting
1:45-4:45 pm 
5:00–6:00 pm
Student Council
6:30–8:00 pm
Guest Speaker or 
Networking Event
  9:00 am–12 noon 
12 noon–1:00 pm
Lunch &  Advisor Meetings
1:00-3:45 pm 
3:45–4:15 pm 
Study Hall
4:15–7:15 pm 
  9:00 am–12 noon 
12 noon–1:00 pm
Lunch &  Advisor Meetings
1:00-3:45 pm 
3:45–4:15 pm 
Study Hall
4:15–7:15 pm 
  9:00 am–12 noon 
Sustainable Management
12 noon–1:00 pm
Lunch &  Advisor Meetings
1:00-4:00 pm 



Part-time MBA

​The part-time enrollment option enables Bard MBA students to complete their 60-credit MBA degree while meeting outside work, family, and/or travel requirements. This three-year option is best suited for students who are employed full time, who have family or other personal commitments, or who may be traveling from outside the New York area to complete their MBA degree. The part-time option takes three years to complete and includes one summer course.

  • 3-year program with fall, spring, and 1 summer semester enrollment
  • 9 credits per fall/spring term, 3 credits per summer term (1 summer)
  • One 3-day Weekend Residency per month*
  • 3 hours of nightly online classes per week (Tuesday and/or Thursday nights)
  • 15 hours per week of online coursework and homework
  • Recommended for students employed more than 30 hours per week, with outside home/family commitments, and/or those traveling from out-of-state
  • Students should note that the summer course requires in-person attendance for two weekend residencies in New York City

*Weekend Residencies are 3 days for part-time students; however part-time students are required to attend all 4 days of their first Residency for Orientation.

Course Work



  • Principles of Sustainable Management

  • Accounting and the Integrated Bottom Line

  • Personal Leadership Development

  • Data, Analytics, and Decisions

  • Finance for Sustainability

  • Globalization and Emerging Markets

First Summer

  • Economics for Decision Making

  • Entrepreneurship

  • Employees and Organizations

  • NYCLab

  • Operations and Supply Chains

  • Strategy for Sustainability

  • Customers and Marketing
  • Leading Change in Organizations
  • Sustaining a Mission-Driven Organization
  • Capstone

Note: Yearly course offerings are subject to change.

Dropdown to Course Descriptions

Is a part-time MBA program right for me?

The Bard MBA part-time enrollment option is ideal for students who:

  • are working more than 30 hours a week
  • have multiple outside-of-school commitments (family, volunteer, career, etc.)
  • have a flexible timeline in which they would like to earn their MBA
  • would like to take full advantage of the various opportunities for networking and career development that business school presents

Students pursing the part-time enrollment option may want to consider:

  • where they live (commuting to NYC from outside the region can incentivize some students to enroll full-time to minimize commuting time and others to enroll part-time to manage additional commuting time)
  • if they hope to participate in non-required program activities/opportunities while enrolled at Bard including networking events, case competitions, consulting projects with faculty, internships etc.
  • their ideal work-life-school balance

**Every Bard MBA student has different financial, professional, and personal circumstances and chooses an enrollment option that works best for them. Please contact the Admissions Office for enrollment advice and to be connected with a current student with whom you can speak about their preference.**

Part-time students attend Residencies over a three-day weekend once a month. A illustrative sample schedule is below.

Note that weekends are kept to three days, but may switch between a Friday-Sunday and Saturday-Monday schedule each semester.

9:00 am–12 noon 
Operations & 
Supply Chains
12 noon–1:00 pm
Lunch & Advisor Meetings
1:00–4:00 pm 
Operations & 
Supply Chains
4:00–5:00 pm 
Community Meeting
5:00–8:00 pm 
8:30–9:00 am
Community Circle
9:00 am–12 noon 
12 noon–1:00 pm
Lunch &  Advisor Meetings
1:00-4:00 pm 
Study Break
4:00–5:00 pm 
Dinner, Management Council
9:00 am–12 noon 
12 noon–1:30 pm
Lunch & Advisor Meetings
1:30-4:30 pm 


Download the
MBA of the Future

Consider the current state of sustainability efforts, the role of business in needed social change, and the importance of a new type of business education in our free, downloadable resource.


Courses and Focus Areas

The Curriculum Behind One of the Top Sustainability MBA Programs

If you're not sure how to choose an MBA program, a quick tour of the curriculum can help. Unlike other sustainability MBA programs, Bard's curriculum is built to simultaneously provide students with the core business competencies needed to pursue careers in sustainable business management while exploring new ways of managing organizations to pursue an integrated bottom-line strategy. The principles of sustainable development are embedded into our core business curriculum, and that's evidenced in everything from our classes to our top rank as the #1 Green MBA. The MBA in Sustainability gives students the skills to make the business case for sustainability and so much more—challenging them to examine not just the economic impacts of the decisions they make, but the social and environmental impacts as well.

Course Descriptions

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Focus Areas

In addition to the specialization in sustainable business earned by all of our graduates, the Bard MBA offers five optional Focus Areas. Each Focus Area is described below with required courses listed. Students who complete the requirements for a Focus Area will have it noted on their graduation transcript. Enrolled students should refer to the MBA Program Handbook for full Focus Area requirements. 


Impact Finance

Bard’s Focus on Impact Finance trains a new breed of investment professional to move dollars from negative investments that are undermining communities and the natural world into positive investments that are regenerating the future. The field of Impact Finance has evolved to include Sustainable and Responsible Investing; shareholder activism; environmental, social and governance risk evaluation; green capital budgeting decisions; “patient capital” impact investing, and much recent, evidence-based practice that finance for impact done right will generate market returns.  At the same time, a new generation of investors has arisen, seeking positive social and environmental outcomes from their investments. Bard's Focus prepares students for careers leading the transformation of conventional finance into impact finance. 

To earn the Focus Area, students must complete the following courses:

  • Principles of Sustainable Management (3 Credits)
  • Accounting and the Integrated Bottom Line (3 Credits)
  • Finance for Sustainability (3 Credits)
  • ImpactLab  (3 Credits)

Students must also complete a nine-credit Capstone project that engages substantially with impact finance. 

Circular Value Chain small sq

Circular Value Chain Management

Bard’s Focus on Circular Value Chain Management trains students for a role that they will create:  the “Chief Circularity Officer” or CCO.  For true circular economy business models to succeed, CCO’s or their equivalent will be needed to drive the far-reaching operational and cultural changes required. Bard's Focus supports students to execute on these circular economy business models by integrating successful supply chain management with a deep understanding of circular economy strategy.

To earn the Focus Area, students must complete the following courses:

  • Principles of Sustainable Management (3 Credits)
  • Operations and Supply Chains (3 Credits)
  • Data and Decisions (3 Credits)
  • Circular Value Chain Management (3 Credits)
Students must also complete a nine-credit Capstone project that engages substantially with  circular value chain management.
consulting-icon sm sq

Sustainability Consulting

Since it's inception, Bard's MBA has required all students to take our signature year-long sustainability consulting course, NYCLab. The reason? All Bard graduates will be "consultants"-- either internal or external as people who drive change within organizations. The consulting toolkit is critical for sustainable business leaders.  That said, many of our graduates are pursuing explicit careers in sustainability consulting, and the Sustainability Consulting concentration supports them with advanced classes in data analysis and management, as well as the year-long capstone in which they hone the consulting skills gained through NYCLab.

The destinations for our graduates range from KPMG to BSR  to ERM to Freeman Consulting. Some of our alums have even started their own consulting firms, including  Just Capital Quotient,  Art to Zero, and Population.

To earn the Focus Area, students must complete the following courses:

  • Principles of Sustainable Management (3 credits)
  • NYCLab I & II (6 credits)
  • Data, Analytics and Decision Making (3 credits)
  • Data II (3 credits)

Students must also complete a nine-credit Capstone project that engages substantially with sustainability consulting.


Non-Profit Management

The Bard MBA teaches students to manage for mission, and in that sense, is agnostic to organizational form: for-profit, non-profit, cooperative, worker owned.  Our success was recently acknowledged with a ranking among the Top 10 MBA's for Non-Profit Management.  This puts the under-twenty year old Bard MBA in the company with long-established programs at Stanford, Columbia, Harvard and Berkeley. How did we get there so fast?  Alumni success is the answer. Many of our graduates have left Bard to pursue leadership roles in the non-profit sector, including: IMPACCT Brooklyn, National Young Farmer's Coalition, and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Recognizing this career interest among our students,  the MBA has layered a dedicated elective in Non-Profit Management onto our core managing-for-mission curriculum.

To earn the Focus Area, students must complete the following courses:

  • Principles of Sustainable Management (3 credits)
  • Becoming a Sustainable Organization (3 credits)
  • Data, Analytics and Decision Making (3 credits)
  • Non-Profit Management (3 credits)

Students must also concentrate their capstone projects on building a portfolio for career success in the non-profit sector. 



The Bard MBA requires all students to imagine and develop two entrepreneurial team ventures and pitch their ideas in our annual competition, Disrupt to Sustain. The initial effort happens in the first semester, as part of the Principles of Sustainable Management and the Accounting class, and the second  is in year two, through the Entrepreneurship course. Although most of our students will never start a business, the critical entrepreneurial mindset -- envisioning a venture through every phase from ideation, to prototyping, to market testing and sizing, to telling the story effectively -- is another foundational toolkit that our change agents must master. 

To earn the Focus Area, students must complete the following courses:

  • Principles of Sustainable Management (3 credits)
  • NYCLab I & II (6 credits)
  • Data, Analytics and Decision Making (3 credits)
  • Stakeholders and Marketing (3 credits)

With a strong coursework foundation, the Focus Area in Entrepreneurship is awarded to students who utilize their capstone to actually develop a new venture.

Course Descriptions

The Bard MBA Curriculum features required core courses, as well as electives. Students must take at least two of the elective courses, whichc an be applied to the MBA concentrations.


Principles of Sustainable Management (POSM)

The world faces mounting crises, from a disastrously warming climate to loss of biodiversity to structural inequality. This course enables managers to implement a business case for behaving in more regenerative ways, shifting business from a driver of disaster to a solutions provider. Students gain core environmental, social and business literacy, the scientific foundations and economic principles needed to achieve natural competitive advantage.

After taking this course a student will be able to:

  •  Gain facility with various sustainability strategies and tools appropriate for different circumstances

  • Approach the complexity of the world with a whole systems perspective

  • Apply the business case for more sustainable practices in companies and communities

  • Implement scenario planning, the best tool for managing in uncertain times

  • Prepare and deliver business briefings on the business case for sustainability

Economics for Sustainable Business

Economics for Sustainable Business is designed to give you a non-mathematical overview of microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics, community economics, and ecological economics, all wtih an application to sustainable business. The course has three main goals:

  • You should be able to apply economic logic and thinking to the requirements of any business you start, lead or work for, whether they are for-profit, nonprofit, cooperative, or government agencies.  That means fully exploiting the power of economic arguments, and also appreciating the limits of many of the underlying assumptions.
  • You should be able to understand and engage critically with most articles in the mainstream business press, such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Guardian, Business Week, and the Economist.  Engaging critically means knowing the strengths and weaknesses of various kinds of economic analysis and arguments.
  • With your sharpened economic tools, you should be able to contribute constructively—as businesspeople and as citizens—to the resolution of the toughest problems facing the planet, including climate disruption, inequality, and racism. 

Personal Leadership Development

Sustainability leadership begins with understanding your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. This class develops competency as a leader utilizing a personal mastery approach. Each student creates and executes a personal leadership development plan focused around a subset emotional intelligence leadership competencies, such as initiative, self-control, catalyzing change, influence, teamwork and collaboration. Students also use the course to develop and present a CRED Talk, focusing on thier own sustainability mission and vision.

After completing the course, students will be better able to:

  • Lead themselves and others through values first, words and actions second
  • Master four concrete leadership competencies of their own choosing
  • Identify and share current best practices in leadership development
  • Articulate their own sustainability vision

Accounting and the Integrated Bottom Line

The course lays the groundwork for the sophisticated understanding of capital markets necessary to play a leadership role in driving sustainability. Students examine the relationship between financial statements and the value of the underlying business entity, discuss how to integrate sustainability advantages into accounting decisions, explore ESG accounting systems, and develop a conceptual framework for how to make rational investment decisions.

After completing the course, students will be better able to:

  • Find, interpret and use financial and ESG information as managers and as investors
  • Understand income statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets, as well as the principal ESG data reporting systems
  • Analyze an investment decision using discounted cash flow analysis
  • Apply combined ESG and financial analysis to support managerial decision-making
  •  Integrate the competitive advantages of sustainability into an accounting framework

NYCLab (Two semester course)

NYCLab is a key component of the Bard MBA in Sustainability curriculum. Working in teams, students engage as sustainability consultants for businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits. Past clients have included McDonald's, Target, NASDAQ,  NYC Fleet, Mational Wildlife Federation, as well as smaller companies and start-ups.  Over two semesters,  students  gain confidence in their ability to identify sustainability solutions for companies, manage projects, solve related business problems, communicate effectively, make the business case for sustainability initiatives. and work in teams. Projects range from operations to finance, marketing and strategy. Students are matched up with a project based on a number of factors, including student preference, skills and team size.

This course provides an opportunity to pull together business, leadership and sustainability learnings from other courses in a real-world project setting,  identifying and advancing sustainability solutions to business challenges. Additionally, the 10 key Bard MBA Toolkit concepts taught in this course are:  

  • Project management
  • Research design
  • Interviewing skills
  • Benchmarking and Gap Analysis
  • Client management and communication (including acknowledging potential biases, esp. with clients who are BIPOC)
  • Presentation design/storyboarding
  • Formal Verbal Presentations
  • Pyramid principle
  • Team dynamics and leadership (including acknowledging race and identity during peer feedback process)
  • Business Development

Operations and Supply Chains

This course explores the emergence of modern operations theory and practice, and the ways in which lean methods have been adapted into environmental and social governance systems. A key focus is cost reduction through lean management and green operational innovation. The course reviews the lean revolution, optimization models, and statistical quality control methods, and then focuses on supply chain management for sustainability. The focus here is on control systems and standards designed to insure ecological integrity and social justice. The coursealso  provides background on the major codes of conduct, standards, and guidelines for companies in the area of human rights, environment, governance and integrity for sustianable supply chains.

After completing the course, students will be better able to:

  • Assess operations against the core principles of lean management systems, and opportunities for green innovation
  • Understand statistical frameworks used for quality control
  • Apply the key codes of conduct and standards in the field of human rights and the environment, governance and integrity

Finance for Sustainability

This course explores two questions: how can firms gain access to finance for sustainability, and how can the global financial system be made more sustainable? The focus is on the financial environment of the firm, both internal and external. ESG topics include the information landscape for investors and various ESG investment strategies. Corporate finance topics include corporate governance and capital budgeting; project and firm level valuation; stock and option valuation including portfolio theory; debt and equity; and sources of financing. The course explores the broader financial landscape, with a focus on financial markets, market players, risk management and systemic risk.

After completing the course, students will be better able to:

  • Describe how forecasted future cash flows inform both capital-budgeting and asset valuation
  • Evalaute ESG investment theses, including accessing ESG  data through various channels
  • Understand how risk and variance factor into the cost of capital and asset valuation, and implement simple hedging strategies
  • Assess the risks and benefits of debt financing
  • Characterize major financial markets
  • Explain the recurring nature of financial crisis, major strategies for reform, and business level strategies for mitigating risk

Stakeholders and Marketing

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a solid understanding of marketing fundamentals and applied stakeholder theory. We study how technology and the internet has accelerated the way marketers connect with consumers and address sustainability across the brand value chain. At the intersection of Marketing, Technology and Sustainability are a range of business, social and environmental issues raised by multiple stakeholders – customers, employees, investors, shareholders, communities, activists and policymakers – each with varying levels of interest and influence on a company’s operations and its brand reputation. Whether you are an intrapreneur, social entrepreneur or a change agent leading change within the private or nonprofit sector, marketing and communication skills are in demand. This course will give you the vocabulary to speak the language of marketing, improve your strategic thinking through effective storytelling and help you navigate the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing and new media.

The learning objectives for this course include, and are not limited, to the following instruction methods:

  • Introduce Marketing frameworks, techniques and workshop activities that enhance strategic marketing decision-making using readings, case study assignments, guest lectures, and the course term projects.
  • Understand the critical role of authentic commitment to mission as a foundation for stakeholder engagement.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of Marketing fundamentals in order to build more sustainable and equitable brands that address multi-stakeholder interests.
  • Use stakeholder engagement theory to evaluate how to affect the behavior change required to influence and lead organizations more equitably.
  • Apply critical thinking to readings, case studies and secondary research that leads to rich insights and discovery.
  • Synthesize course learning through the art and science of Strategic Marketing Planning.

Data, Analytics, and Decisions

This course teaches hands-on analysis skills, and how to lead analytics projects and manage data teams to make better business decisions for sustainability. Successful data projects are largely about perspective in framing and questioning business problems and opportunities. Topics explored include the role of data in business and sustainability; applying a systems thinking approach; drawing boundaries and making assumptions; recognizing biases in data and technology; tying sustainability metrics to high-level business objectives, and using data to make a compelling case for sustainable business initiatives.

After taking this course students will be better able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of statistics in business, the language of data, and how to manage internal and external data resources
  • Plan outcomes-focused analytics projects based on real-world scenarios to inform sustainable business decision-making
  • Perform data science techniques including data wrangling, data modeling, data visualization, and insights discovery
  • Choose appropriate analytic methodologies, algorithm types, and tools 
  • Understand the positive and negative implications of data and A.I., including around diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility


This course explores the business model as a foundation of entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial activities in support of sustainability initiatives. Topics include diffusion of innovation, invention, the importance of diversity of creative styles, creative destruction in the economy, the role of the innovator, the principle of the displacement of concepts, including biomimicry, user-led innovation and crowdsourcing as well as innovation adoption strategies.

After completing the course, students will be better able to:

  • Build business models for successful sustainability initiatives
  • Understand and apply the principles of the successful practice of innovation
  • Assess their personal innovation style
  • Evaluate and improve the innovation culture in their own organization

Leading Change in Organizations

Leading change is the primary work of sustainability professionals in business. This course uses the lens of sustainability thinking to pursue change management topics including: organizational change management, interpersonal and group relations, and negotiation and conflict resolution, all in the service of sustainable business strategy. This is a hands-on course designed for you to learn and apply frameworks and skills in real-world settings in order to successfully facilitate sustainable change processes in organizations.

After completing the course, students will be better able to:

  • Understand why most change efforts fail; be able to design for successful change
  • Recognize and understand a range of leadership theories, styles, and practice
  • Master practical skills including systems-thinking; story-telling; negotiation, conflict management; the ability to be cognizant of your own strengths, gaps, and readiness for leading organizational change; and criteria for strategic decision-making in competitive environments
  • Motivate teams through engagement with the business case for sustainability

Strategy for Sustainability

This course helps students analyze and develop strategies for any size or structure of organization,  including both overall corporate strategy and sustainability strategy. The course introduces a variety of frameworks for analyzing, developing and implementing effective strategies.  Sustainability strategy in particular arises from challenges that are material to the core business vision. Core readings and frameworks will be illustrated by a variety of case studies to demonstrate how such theories are applied in different industries, markets and organizations.

The key learning objectives for this course are:

  • Strategic Analysis: Learn how to apply strategy frameworks to assess strategic positioning of a company or organization including concepts of industry analysis and competitive advantage.
  • Strategy Development: Learn key elements of formulating a compelling and effective strategy, including what makes a set of choices a “strategy”.
  • Strategy Implementation: Learn key success criteria for successful implementation of a strategy as well as concept of balanced scorecard to monitor long term performance.
  • Materiality and Sustainability Strategy: Apply the concepts of materiality as the foundation for sustainability strategy and integrate the strategy frameworks towards development of a sustainability strategy

Becoming a Sustainable Organization

This course focuses on people management, the impact of organizational dynamics, and the role of human capital management (HCM) in an organization’s journey to becoming more just and equitable. The course consists of 5 modules: organizational dynamics, HCM effectiveness; diversity, equity and belonging; HCM role in promoting social and environmental justice, and the future of the workforce.

After completing the course, students will be better able to:

  • Integrate environmental and social justice into people management systems
  • Understand best practices for human capital management and people leadership
  • Manage effectively across a diverse set of goals

Sustaining Mission

“Sustaining Mission” aims to help you integrate everything you’ve learned in the Bard MBA Program and solidify your ability to do good while doing well. How can you successfully manage an enterprise (private, public, coop, or nonprofit) and positively affect the world? What are the right choices to make when you set up a business? How can you resist ethical short-cuts and short-term thinking as you operate the business? How can your business career positively impact your community and the world?

The course will highlight ten strategies for helping you sustain your mission, hopefully for the duration of your lifetime. Specifically:

  1. Political Economy
  2. Governance
  3. Ethical Reasoning
  4. Ownership
  5. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  6. Scale
  7. Environment
  8. Workers
  9. Localization
  10. Measurement

Capstone (Two semester course)

This course supports students in a mentored, two semester independent masters project. Students may initiate or drive a start-up business; pursue an intraprenuerial change project; develop a business model; complete a practicum in an area of interest; begin a book; or write an academic thesis or a major piece of business journalism. All projects include a portfolio of deliverables that are negotiated with the advisor, and conclude with an oral defense. After completing the course, students will have achieved mastery in a chosen subfield of sustainable business.


MBA Students are required to take at least 2 of the electives below, several of which are required to complete the MBA Concentratiosn.

Circular Value Chain Management

Climate change, rampant inequality and a rapidly growing global population is causing many to consider the limitations of the current take-make-waste economic model and examine the transition to a circular economy as a potential antidote for a more sustainable and inclusive economic platform. Concurrently the private sector, the catalyst for circularity, is undergoing a rapid transformation of its own, navigating new definitions of shareholder value, answering to a much broader and diverse set of stakeholders, and reconciling a perceived duty to prioritize social issues and the environment while still being profitable.

The private sector’s ability to successfully enable a circular economy transition is contingent on rethinking the idea of how value is created and distributed, fostering a systems-approach mindset that enables the navigation of diverse stakeholders, geographies and sectors, and identifying areas to seize competitive advantage. By applying systems-thinking, leveraging business model transformation frameworks, exploring best practices, and learning from leading circular practitioners, students will be able to appreciate and articulate an improved business case for circular economy initiatives, effectively understanding the internal and external barriers to circular value creation. By the end of the semester, students will be able to identify industry-specific emerging global trends in circularity, identify opportunities and risks in the enabling environment, and develop strategic and inclusive cross-sector interventions for the circular economy.

After taking this course a student will be able to:

  • Recognize how the circular economy fits into the current corporate sustainability ecosystem and the pivotal roles that the public and social sector play in the company’s circular transformation
  • Dig deep into how companies employ circular economy interventions from an industry perspective and utilize the circular economy transition as a competitive differentiator
  • Gain knowledge and vocabulary required to understand, assess, and discuss circular value creation
  • Explore and contrast value creation and value-proposition in traditional vs. circular, sustainable business models, and identify the key changes that are needed to support the transition from linear to circular economies.
  • Capture key insights from leading circular economy practitioners in the public, private, and social sectors on the barriers and opportunities in a circular economy transition
  • Understand and contrast circular economy private sector measurement frameworks and the role that ESG plays in the circular economy
  • Explore and design “Green Swan” interventions, such as circular cities and zero waste communities, that can potentially ignite a more rapid and inclusive circular economy transition

Sustainable Supply Webs

  • This course explores the complexities of global supply chains with a keen focus on sustainability. It examines the drivers behind their impacts and emphasizes transparency, equity, decarbonization, and regenerative models. Students will gain practical insights and tools to apply sustainable supply chain concepts and best practices, addressing critical issues such as climate change, biodiversity preservation, human rights, modern slavery, and Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI).

    Upon completing this course, students will:

    • Appreciate the pivotal role of supply chains in shaping an organization’s social and environmental footprint, and leverage strategies to enhance positive outcomes.
    • Understand global supply chain trends, regulatory requirements, international frameworks, and best practices essential for developing sustainable supply chain strategies.
    • Master strategies, tools, and leading practices to enhance supply chain visibility, engage stakeholders across the global supply chain, and drive meaningful social and environmental impacts.

ImpactLab: Public Capital Markets

The field of sustainable finance has evolved to include Sustainable and Responsible Investing; shareholder activism; environmental, social and governance risk evaluation; green capital budgeting decisions; “patient capital” impact investing; and recently, evidence-based practice that finance for impact done right can in fact generate market returns. Investor due diligence around ESG metrics is now so routine that some estimates put total capital under some form of impact management as high as one-third of all investments.  In this course, students master the fundamentals of impact investing in public amarkets, focusing on defining and evaluating impact, and insuring financial return.

After completing this course, student will be better able to:

  • Apply finance theory fundamentals to an impact investment strategy
  • Assemble and defend an impact public portfolio
  • Understand how to build a private impact portfolio
  • Assess green capital budgeting proposals
  • Raise capital for an impact portfolio

Impact Lab: Private and Alternative Markets

    • Impact Lab: Private and Alternative Capital Markets: 

    This course explores sustainable investing in private markets, balancing financial returns with environmental and social impacts. The course consists of five modules: introduction to sustainable investing, venture capital & impact investing, private equity, impact measurement & evaluation, and market trends and innovations. Students will engage with current market trends, industry-leading practices, and investor decision-making processes, enhancing their ability to develop market-based solutions for better impact performance and financial returns.

    After completing the course, students will be better able to:

    • Analyze sustainable investment strategies across various asset classes.
    • Utilize different investment instruments and understand their benefits and challenges.
    • Propose innovative solutions to improve sustainable investment practices.
    • Perform due diligence and evaluate investment opportunities with a focus on sustainability and impact.
    • Present comprehensive analyses and finance structures to fund sustainability initiatives.

Business and Sustainable Development

In this class, students travel to Oaxaca, Mexico for a ten-day immersion in policy formation and sustainable business opportunities in a developing country context.  Hos do sustainabile business and community strategies emerge from the ground up? Students explore mission-based business strategies and policy constraints in food, energy, water and other sectors, for both export-oriented and locally-focused companies. Students work through a series of readings and discussions in advance, and complete a project on their return. Lab fee of $1200 includes lodging, meals, ground transportation, and $400 towards airfare.

After completing this course, student will be better able to:

  • Appreciate the complexity of operating a business in a different cultural setting
  • Understand the social and economic challenges and opportunities of globalization
  • Discuss how inidigenous governance and land management practices have evolved to form the basis for modern enterprises and communities. 
  • Assess how gender dynamics impact business models in a different culture
  • Discuss how business adapts to a developing country policy regime
  • Develop a business model tailored to bottom-of-the-pyramid and local markets

Non-Profit Management

This course provides a comprehensive exploration of essential aspects of nonprofit management with an emphasis on sustainability. Students will delve into governance, fundraising, financial management, and strategic planning tailored to the unique challenges and opportunities faced by nonprofit entities committed to sustainability. The course covers introductory topics in nonprofit management, emphasizing effective board governance, innovative fundraising strategies aligned with sustainable practices, responsible financial stewardship to ensure transparency and long-term viability, and strategic planning methodologies that integrate sustainability goals.


After completing the course, students will be better able to:


  • Gain a deep understanding of governance structures and best practices essential for ensuring effective oversight and sustainability in nonprofit organizations.
  • Develop and implement innovative fundraising strategies that support nonprofit missions while promoting environmental and social sustainability.
  • Master financial management techniques that emphasize transparency, accountability, and long-term sustainability within nonprofit financial practices.
  • Create and execute strategic plans that integrate sustainability principles, ensuring alignment with organizational missions and measurable impact.
  • Identify and address unique challenges faced by nonprofit organizations in achieving operational efficiency and maximizing sustainable impact.

Business Pragmatics

This is a variable credit course (1-3) consisting of three modules over the course of the spring semester. Recent modules have included: 

  • Sustainable Business and Public Policy (1 Credit)
  • Emerging ESG Regulation (1 Credit)
  • Life Cycle Analysis (1 Credit)
Sustainable Business and Public Policy (1 Credit)

Public Policy Pragmatics offers a comprehensive understanding of public policy through a business lens,  integrating sustainability considerations. The course delves into foundational questions, examining the intersection of public policy with business interests. Drawing insights from Benjamin Waterhouse’s 'Lobbying America' and Jane Mayer’s 'Dark Money', it critically analyzes historical and contemporary policy landscapes, including the implications of initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act. Students will develop skills to apply theoretical frameworks in proposing effective policy strategies within organizational contexts, fostering sustainability and resilience.

Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Navigate diverse regulatory environments with a sustainability lens.
  • Strategize to align business objectives with evolving policy frameworks promoting sustainability.
  • Address challenges and seize opportunities arising from shifts in public policy.
  • Employ critical thinking to evaluate how policy decisions impact business sustainability and foster growth.
  • Effectively communicate with stakeholders about the business implications of policy changes, advocating for sustainable practices.
Emerging ESG Regulation (1 Credit)


This course explores the evolving landscape of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) reporting, focusing on both voluntary and mandatory disclosures. The course consists of 5 modules: introduction to ESG reporting, IFRS S1 and S2 standards, US SEC climate rules, European regulations, and practical applications in business contexts. Students will gain insights into regulatory frameworks and develop skills to implement effective ESG reporting within their organizations.

After completing the course, students will be better able to:

  • Navigate and understand ESG reporting regimes to ensure compliance and transparency.
  • Create frameworks to align and incentivize internal stakeholders for accurate ESG reporting.
  • Manage risks associated with ESG reporting to ensure data integrity and transparency.
  • Identify and pursue revenue opportunities linked to ESG disclosures to enhance business value.
  • Implement best practices to produce high-quality ESG reports that meet regulatory and stakeholder expectations.
Life Cycle Analysis (1 Credit)


This course introduces life cycle analysis (LCA), a methodology to quantify the sustainability of products and processes. The course consists of 5 modules: introduction to LCA, life cycle inventory (LCI) and databases, impact assessment, footprint calculation lab, and interpretation & advanced topics. Students will learn to define LCA goals, scope, and system boundaries, and to access and critically evaluate LCA data sources and results.

After completing the course, students will be better able to:

  • Apply life cycle thinking to product and process decisions to enhance sustainability.
  • Understand and communicate LCA terminology and results to stakeholders.
  • Define goals, scope, and system boundaries for LCAs to ensure accurate assessments.
  • Create system diagrams that effectively evaluate environmental impacts across the lifecycle.
  • Access and assess various LCA data sources and inventories to gather necessary information.
  • Review and interpret LCA results critically to make informed decisions.


Advanced Data Analytics

In this tutorial class, students work in a small group with an instructor on topics of thier choice. Students learn data analytics tools to support thier  anaysis of sustainable business challenges. 


In Bard’s experiential NYCLab course, MBA students complete a yearlong professional consultancy. Over two semesters, MBA students work with corporate, governmental, and nonprofit organizations to solve sustainability-related business problems. Student teams are assigned clients based on the team members’ interests and skillsets and are mentored by Laura Gitman, Chief Operating Officer at BSR, a leading global organization that develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research and cross-sector collaboration. Learn more about the key role experience plays in preparing for a career in sustainability.

View Past Clients and Learn How to Become a Client


Career Focus

Individualized Career Support

Students attend the Bard MBA to transition to meaningful work in sustainable business, helping lead the change towards social and environmental justice. Our program is uniquely focused on supporting graduates to build powerful careers in this new world of mission-driven companies.  Bard's process is based in Individual Career Planning, in which every student meets every semester, one-on-one, with our career counselors to map out their transition strategy.

While in the program, students have the opportunity to build their professional network and resume through: 

Students are also assigned professional mentors each year they're in the MBA career development program and take advantage of monthly career-development workshops.

Finally, in Bard's unique, individually mentored MBA capstone, students work one-on-one with a faculty advisor to develop future careers as purpose-driven entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs or sustainability consultants.  Bard MBA graduates join more than 400 alumni/ae working in the sustainable business and environmental policy field. View our Alumni Profiles Book below to explore career opportunities.

Bard MBA Careers
Many of our graduates are bringing their MBA skills to their existing positions. Others transition to new work. Recent career changes by Bard MBA students and graduates include moves to:

  • Management Consulting at BSR, SustainAbility, KPMG
  • Sustainability Director at Etsy
  • Design Manager at EILEEN FISHER
  • Executive Director at IMPACCT Brooklyn
  • Asia Regional Coordinator at Waterkeeper
  • Director, Global Sustainable Agriculture at PepsiCo
  • Sustainability Coordinator at American Express
  • Sustainability Director at Pratt & Whitney
  • Sales at Tesla Motors
  • Sustainability Manager at Eversource Energy
  • VP of Operational Excellence at ING Financial
  • CEO for startups in sustainable fashion, restaurants, green tourism, affordable housing

2024-2025 In-Person Calendar*

Residency 1: NYC August 23–26**

Residency 2: Bard Campus September 20-23 

Residency 3: NYC October 18-21

Residency 4: NYC November 15-18

Residency 5: NYC December 13-16 

Oaxaca J-Term Course: January 6-17 )optional)

Residency 6: NYC January 24–27

Residency 7: NYC February 21-24

Residency 8: NYC March 21-24

Residency 9: location TBD April 25-28

Residency 10: NYC May 16-19

Commencement, Bard College May 24, 2025

Summer Economics Course (P/T Y1 students): Dates TBD - one weekend each in June and July 2024
Summer Economics online sessions: Dates TBD - early June to late July 2024

Fall 2024 Semester: August 23 - December 16
Spring 2025 Semester: January 24 - May 19

*Dates subject to change.
**Incoming first-year students should plan to be in person on August 22nd for the final session of the JEDI + Anti-Racism Workshop.


Sample Monthly Schedule

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


In person in NYC or at Bard College
In person in NYC or at Bard College
In person in NYC or at Bard College
In person in NYC or at Bard College


Want to learn more?
Let's chat!

We love to chat one-on-one with aspiring change agents. Our team is happy to schedule a call to discuss your sustainability career goals and tell you more about our various programs. We can also get you connected with an alum, professor, or student doing work you are interested in learning more about.