In Bard’s experiential NYCLab course, all MBA students complete a yearlong professional consultancy engagement. 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 skill-sets 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.
Bard MBA opens the call for proposals for new clients each June and selects clients in September for NYCLab teams to work with throughout the corresponding academic year. Clients range from entrepreneurial start-ups to established organizations. In particular, we invite Black-owned businesses, as well as social justice-focused nonprofits and government agencies to apply.
Student teams work for 7-8 months on a substantial sustainability-related business challenge or opportunity in the corporate, government, or nonprofit space. Projects range from creating an overall sustainability strategy to increasing energy efficiency to optimizing supply chain management for human rights to launching new product offerings.
Stock exchanges in general—and Nasdaq in particular—have been engaged for several years on a collaborative project to determine the value, impact, and calculation of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) performance data. This data provides multiple stakeholders, mainly investors, with the necessary insight to evaluate the sustainability and long-term value of a publicly traded company. The Bard MBA student consulting team helped Nasdaq sort through market signals, regulatory drivers, and existing research to establish a better, more sustainable standard for U.S. corporate reporting.
Clif Bar produces energy bars and food that feeds and inspires the adventure in all of us. Clif Bar is working to run a different kind of company: "The kind of place we’d want to work, that makes the kind of food we’d like to eat, and that strives for a healthier, more sustainable world – the kind of world we’d like to pass on to our children." Clif is committed to making food with sustainable, organic ingredients; baked with clean, renewable energy; packed in environmentally friendly packaging; and delivered by transportation that doesn't pollute.
Brooklyn Boulders designs, builds and operates community spaces and hybrid rock climbing facilities anchored by the premise that physical movement stimulates innovation and creativity with facilities located in New York City, Boston, and Chicago.
Bard MBA NYCLab students worked with Clif Bar and Brooklyn Boulders to pilot programs to integrate environmental stewardship into its field marketing partnership to build a template that Clif Bar can replicate with other partners.
"NYCLab is producing planet-saving ideas that have the potential to re-shape
how major brands give back to their communities and the environment."
—Will Yandell, Regional Marketing Manager, Clif Bar
Medgar Evers College (MEC) is grateful for the assistance and consultation of Bard MBA students to craft two comprehensive business models: (1) a proposed MEC Center for Entrepreneurship Opportunity, and (2) a venture partnership/retail space share agreement for student-run day-by-day and pop up shop business.
"The Bard student team worked together as a high performance team. Like all great teams, they moved together in lockstep and their cohesiveness was such that there were no "I's" on that team. Their communication management was super stellar. They were unrelenting in accessing the right information to provide a meaningful product that would help us." —Micah E. S. Crump, Ph.D., Professor of Entrepreneurship in the School of Business at Medgar Evers College
Etsy operates marketplaces where millions of people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods. Etsy also offers a wide range of seller services and tools that help creative entrepreneurs start, grow and manage their businesses. The company's mission is to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.
Alongside the Etsy Sustainability Commission, Bard MBA students assessed advanced energy efficiency strategies for the company’s new, global headquarters based in Brooklyn. Students analyzed the impact of new energy efficiency measures as well as developed a strategy that leverages Etsy's unique internal culture to drive behavior change around energy use.
THINX is on a mission to create the most innovative period solutions that empower every body and sustain our planet while breaking taboos about menstruation and reproductive health everywhere. Bard MBA NYCLab students worked with THINX to create the most sustainable and comprehensive end-of-life plan for a pair of THINX period-proof underwear. Analyzing how the components can be recycled, repurposed, or disposed of and transported with the lowest environmental impact, the team also considered how THINX can facilitate a process that will be convenient and realistic for their global consumer base.
Moody’s believes that knowledge fuels opportunity. The core of our business is to provide transparent research, tools and analysis that help participants in the global financial markets better understand risks and move forward with critical insight. Moody's approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is rooted in that same belief—seeking to empower people with the knowledge, resources and confidence they need to create a better future — for themselves, their communities and the environment. At the core of Moody's global CSR focus is Reshape Tomorrow™, a financial empowerment initiative to help people succeed in growing a small business. In addition to empowering people with financial knowledge through Reshape Tomorrow™, Moody’s global CSR approach has two other focal points: Activating an environmentally sustainable future and Helping young people reach their potential. These three focus areas are supported by the company's employees who share their passion and purpose with the world through volunteer and giving programs. Learn more about how Moody's is opening the door to a better future at moodys.com/csr.
Moody's asked the Bard MBA NYCLab team to recommend programs, initiatives and grants to help ensure success implementing the company’s new approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR).
"The Bard program is a unique opportunity to gain a different perspective from smart young minds entering the sustainability field, while also offering our employees an avenue to mentor the next generation of business leaders." -Jennifer Rivera, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility
Elevate Energy designs and implements programs that reduce costs, protect people and the environment, and ensure the benefits of clean and efficient energy use reach those who need them most. Elevate Energy worked with Bard MBA NYCLab to develop a community solar model that provides opportunities for access to a large population of underserved communities including the elderly, veterans, differently-abled and children in single-family homes around the Midwest.
JetBlue is "New York's Hometown Airline™" which carries more than 35 million customers a year to 96 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America. JetBlue's mission is to inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground. The company is committed to giving back in meaningful ways in the communities it serves and to inspire others to do the same.
Bard MBA students helped JetBlue further develop findings from EcoEarnings: A Shore Thing, a study linking revenue to the health of Caribbean ecosystems, through data analysis and communications recommendations.
"Bard NYCLab had a clear process for students to engage with companies. Students minimized the time spent on logistics and maximized the time spent on consulting." - Jet Blue
Unilever produces consumer goods for more than 400 brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Lipton, Dove, and St. Ives. As part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the company asked the Bard MBA team to identify cost-effective and regional renewable energy storage solutions. Tasks included research and recommendations for sustainable energy technologies as part of the product mix, cost analysis, and the development of business and supply chain models.
The Kingston Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that protects environmentally and socially significant land for the common good. In addition to traditional land conservation, we work collaboratively to address inequities by making land accessible to the community through urban agriculture, commuter trails, recreation, heritage sites, and affordable homes. Our innovative and inclusive programming encourages our diverse community to live in a sustainable and healthy relationship to the land and other living beings. Land for all, all for land!
"Working with the Bard MBA team in Sustainability was one of the best consultant experiences our organization has ever had. The process wasn't rushed or complicated; they made it fun and comprehensive. Recognizing the journey, I'm so proud to see how clear, concise and professional the final product turned out. Overall, I think our team is a representation of the leadership in this department at Bard, and I would recommend their work to anyone!" - Shaniqua Bowden
"The Bard MBA team expertly navigated the complexity of the context and vision for our goals. Their work will make a lasting impact on our organization and we have concrete plans to incorporate their deliverable into our upcoming workplan." - Emma Jenkins
"We are grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with a Bard MBA student team. They added capacity to an initiative that we were seeking to develop, and served as thought partners on how to create the most useful resource for our community. We couldn't have asked for a more professional, cohesive or conscientious team. They were an absolute pleasure to work with and we would happily work with or recommend any one of them as a consultant on future projects." - Julia Farr
The National Wildlife Federation, America's oldest and largest conservation organization, works across the country to unite Americans from all walks of life in giving wildlife a voice. We've been on the front lines for wildlife since 1936, fighting for the conservation values that are woven into the fabric of our nation's collective heritage.
The Bard MBA NYCLab team worked with the National Wildlife Federation to develop a game plan to ensure that wildlife conservation is a part of every municipal sustainability plan by 2027.
Take Two is more than our name. It’s our purpose: to create second chances for our health and the planet. We give a second life to spent grain because people deserve delicious, nourishing food, and because the planet deserves better, too. Our mission is to help catalyze the shift to a sustainable, plant-rich food system and to create a better future.
New York City’s first M/WBE B Corp, Kinetic Communities, implements strategic energy equity solutions for diverse New York communities. We work with utility & government agencies to develop energy efficiency solutions that provide financial, environmental, housing, and health benefits to New Yorkers who need it the most. We use data to create strategic engagement strategies and tools to catalyze positive relationships with energy. KC³ works on projects throughout the State of New York. We work in the intersection of finance, engineering, planning, and organizing, a sweet spot that helps us understand how to systemically drive change for a just clean energy transition.
"The Bard team provided us with invaluable insight and high-quality deliverables that will ensure our program is a success - we're so grateful for their work with us!" - Nikki Joseph, NYC Mayor's Office of Climate & Sustainability (Kinetic Project)
"The BardMBA program is great, they students were very well engaged, provided excellent consulting advice. They were so great, we hired one!" - Daphany Rose Sanchez
Optoro is a reverse logistics technology company that helps brands and retailers eliminate supply chain waste by optimizing product returns processing. The Bard students conducted a materiality assessment of Optoro's business, reviewed applicable supply chain sustainability goals in the retail space, and used findings to propose an updated sustainability marketing strategy.
“The Bard MBA team delivered high caliber research and recommendations that we look forward to using in a number of projects.” -Optoro
Just Salad is a chain of 34 fast-casual restaurants focused on making healthy meals accessible to everyone. The brand's reusable bowl program--the largest restaurant reusable program in the world--saves over 75,000 pounds of plastic every year. Just Salad customers can buy a signature blue bowl for $1 and receive free salad toppings with every use.
As Just Salad looks to expand its sustainability efforts even further, they dedicated their Bard NYCLab Project to discovering new sustainability opportunities across all aspects of the business.
Siemens Wind Power is a wind turbine manufacturer based in Hamburg, Germany. The company has manufactured nearly 13,000 wind turbines around the globe with a total capacity of 21 GW help to provide the world with clean, renewable energy.
Bard MBA NYCLab students developed internal and external communications recommendations and strategies for the results and implications of recently completed product life cycle assessments (LCAs).
"Working with the Bard MBA students in the NYCLab course was a great experience. The students were deeply engaged and provided a useful 1-year implementation plan with KPIs for clear project follow-up. We would highly recommend this and consider it a second time around!"—Siemens Wind Power
Two Days Off is a carbon neutral clothing and lifestyle brand on a mission to promote ethical and easy living in every aspect of your life.
"Working with Bard NYCLab has been invaluable to Two Days Off reinforcing our sustainability practices and reaching circularity. The student team was professional, creative, and provided a broad range of ideas and options to the table we would have otherwise overlooked. It was a great privilege and pleasure working with them." - Gina Stovall
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $18.0 billion in 2019, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of nearly 93,000 as of June 30, 2020. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated.
The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis promotes the global transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy. IEEFA’s project with Bard MBA NYCLab helped establish clear and verifiable data about the local economic impacts of wind and solar energy installations in the U.S., including jobs created, taxes paid, and community economic benefits conferred and assessed the methodologies of various overview studies which have been conducted by other researchers.
HSBC, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, has a global commitment to renewable energy. The project team was asked to evaluate renewable energy options for critical US HSBC markets based on availability, cost effectiveness, reliability and climate impact. The team’s work laid the foundation to develop the bank’s US-based State Specific Renewable Energy Strategy.
“What I liked about the Bard MBA NYCLab team is their passion for sustainability and making a difference which you can see in their behavior and hear in their voices. My team’s drive to lead sustainable change and make a difference was matched by the students in the Bard MBA in Sustainability program and that is the kind of school we want to work with.”
—Bill Thomas, Global Head HTS Sustainability, HSBC Bank
New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets (NYSDAM) is the department of the New York state government that enforces laws relating to agriculture; horticulture; farm, fruit and dairy products; aquaculture; the production, processing, transportation, storage, marketing and distributing of food; and weights and measures.
Bard MBA students helped NYSDAM develop a strategy and metrics framework for business facilitation activities for growers and food processors through operational assessments and stakeholder engagement.
TransitCenter is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting the use of public transportation and other sustainable transportation alternatives in an effort to reduce traffic congestion, preserve the environment, and promote more livable communities. The Bard MBA team researched the sustainable transportation landscape and proposed strategies for TransitCenter to maximize its outreach efforts.
Queens Community House is a multi-site, multi-service settlement house that serves the diverse neighborhoods of Queens, New York. It serves residents of all ages, races, faiths, and ethnicities while supporting the viability of the borough as a whole. Each year, its programs help thousands of its neighbors to thrive in school, make healthy life choices, succeed in educating themselves, become engaged citizens, stabilize their housing situations, and make the most of their senior years.
Queens Community House worked with Bard MBA NYCLab to identify green building and community development opportunities and strategies for low-income housing organizations.
"Queens Community House, Inc. provides individuals and families with the tools to enrich their lives and build healthy, inclusive communities. We envision the borough as an empowered community that values diversity, respect, and mutual responsibility where all people are actively engaged, feel supported, have a voice, and experience equal access to opportunities. In part, our programs are designed to assist individuals in achieving not only better success in the classroom but also in the workforce. We promote scholarly research as well as informed and creative teaching. In pursuit of these goals, QCH values intellectual freedom that supports open inquiry, equality, compassion, and excellence in all endeavors. Taken together, pairing with the Bard MBA program, one that mirrors these core goals has been a highly rewarding experience.
QCH asked the Bard Scholars to address an evolving project as this Agency has the opportunity to purchase and renovate its historic home, a building that has been owned and operated by the City of New York for the last 44 years and is in no way energy efficient or sustainable. Given our propensity for social services, the Scholars were able to focus on areas outside of our normal business purview and be a leader in the quest for new knowledge through scholarship, outreach, and creative experimentation of ideas and concepts." -Kurt Fakira, Chief Operating Officer
UBS is a global firm providing financial services to private, corporate, and institutional clients, operating in more than 50 countries. The Bard MBA team (1) assessed investment banking (IB) engagement strategies among financial institutions, (2) explored rationales for an environmental and social risk engagement strategy in an IB context, and (3) developed criteria and success factors for effective client engagement.
“From a project manager perspective of the NCYLab at UBS I can only recommend embarking on a joint sustainability project. The project is an extremely interesting two-way learning experience: the students learn to understand the company's sustainability efforts and the company can learn new perspectives on their programs. The students UBS worked with were highly motivated, curious and well-prepared individuals who asked the right questions! The outcome of their research and interview project is considered very helpful.”
—Nina Roth, Environmental and Social Risk Manager, UBS
Fisher Found is EILEEN FISHER’s clothing take back program. EILEEN FISHER is committed to becoming 100% sustainable, and part of that commitment is taking our clothes back when customers are through with them. Fisher Found receives all customer donations and sorts them as ‘sellable’ and ‘unsellable’. The sellable items are resold through our Green Eileen boutiques and EILEEN FISHER Company Stores. The unsellable items are remade into new textiles for garments and home goods.
Bard MBA students created a triple bottom-line business model for EILEEN FISHER's Fisher Found program with a focus on developing profitability for remaking unsellable goods into new products.
Lockheed Martin is a research, design, development, manufacturing, and integration of advance technology systems company in the aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology sectors. The Bard MBA team analyzed the challenges and opportunities in the Socially Responsible Investing space, including insights into stakeholders as well as the criteria for, and impacts of, including or excluding important companies from the sustainability conversation. By focusing on Lockheed Martin’s sustainability assets, products, and services, the team helped to define the sustainability value proposition for stakeholders.
Pharmavite is a global leader and manufacturer of dietary supplements. Pharmavite produces and distributes more than 120 dietary supplement products in the U.S. and more than 100 internationally throughout Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, S. Korea and Iran. Pharmavite is pleased to offer quality products that deliver on their promises. The Bard NYCLab team delivered decision-making tools in order to build a more sustainable supply chain.
Hudson Solar is a New York–based business that designs and installs solar energy systems for residential, commercial, agriculture, and municipal nonprofit organizations. The Bard MBA team conducted market research to identify and analyze potential market segments for new photovoltaic technology solutions. Students identified key customer motivators as well as the needs and requirements for each segment, compared the economics, benefits, and capabilities of innovative new technologies, and made recommendations for marketing strategy.
FoodScraps360 is a minority, female-owned residential and commercial compost collection company providing food scrap recycling services for homes or businesses in New York's Capital Region.
Through the NYCLab client engagement, Bard MBA students developed a 3-5 year growth plan for FoodScraps360 with a goal of improving the business model to ensure the company’s sustainability while meeting growth targets.
"Our Bard MBA team was filled with intelligent, capable, and strong leaders. They helped us define our company to the public, as well as introduced new ideas that we incorporated to improve our business process. We are grateful to have participated in the program!" -Sonia Sandoval, Co-Founder
Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA) brings business and civic groups together to help transform New York and New Jersey’s waterways into accessible spaces for the public to enjoy, transportation, commerce, and environmental protection. The Bard MBA team worked with MWA to develop sustainable policy platforms, waterfront sustainability benchmarking reports, and sustainability financing strategies for the organization.
New York City operates the largest municipal fleet in the United States, over 29,000 vehicles including NYPD, FDNY and Sanitation. Led by the City's first Chief Fleet Officer, NYC Fleet directs efforts to improve fleet management citywide in areas of safety, sustainability, preparedness, and shared services.
In December 2015, Mayor de Blasio announced NYC Clean Fleet, a commitment to cut emissions from the City fleet in half by 2025 including establishing over 2,000 electric vehicles and transitioning away from the use of traditional diesel fuel. The student project supported the achievement of this commitment.
COOKFOX Architects and Terrapin Bright Green are architectural and environmental consulting firms, respectively, based in New York City. The Bard MBA team helped the companies evaluate their own sustainability. Activities included cost-benefit analysis, developing a timeline and strategy for improving sustainability, and creating a system to track and report internal progress.
Inward Point is a startup leveraging social and environmental sustainability to revolutionize the event industry. The project team developed a business plan to enable Inward Point to grow and scale their business. The team learned about entrepreneurship and small business development, while supporting a new business model focused on smart, sustainable outcomes.
"The Bard team started as a small group of bright students but became an integral part of how we grew our startup quickly and successfully. We're big fans of the Bard MBA program."
—Brendan Doherty, Founder, Inward Point
The NYC Climate Action Alliance seeks to accelerate NYC's equitable transition to a zero-carbon future. By building a cross-sector network of New York’s businesses, institutions, NGOs, and individuals who are committed to achieving New York City’s ambitious climate goals, we aim to spur climate action and tackle seemingly intractable climate challenges.
Bard MBA students will conduct market research to support decarbonization efforts in the multifamily sector and position condos and coops to comply with the recently enacted Local Law 97.
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $24 billion to build or rehab more than 436,320 affordable homes and apartments and develop 74.4 million square feet of retail, community and educational space.
LISC asked the Bard MBA NYCLab to assist in measuring, reducing and offsetting our organization's operational GHG footprint as a first step in achieving carbon neutrality.
“UPM is a Finland-based frontrunner in the forest industry, providing renewable solutions for various end uses all the way from wood products, pulp and paper to renewable biodiesel and advanced biochemicals. The company’s mission is to invest in sustainable growth and innovate for a future beyond fossils. UPM Timber produces responsibly produced, high quality lumber. In their project, the Bard MBA students will conduct research to assist UPM Timber in refining their value proposition in order to better stand out from other companies particularly in sustainability.”
"Vibrant Seeds' is an urban agricultural brand with a mission to provide year-round access to healthy, nutritious, and affordable food in underserved communities starting with the Bronx. Vibrnt Seeds envisions a solution to food deserts and poor nutrition in urban cities with an enriched community farm kitchen center to demonstrate the value at healthy choices. Vibrnt Seeds asked Bard MBA Lab Students to develop a concrete business and production plan along with financial forecasts to startup the company's community farm kitchen."
Become an NYCLab Client
2021-2022 Proposals Due July 19, 2021
If your company or organization is interested in working with a talented team of MBA students, we invite you to review the FAQs below and consider submitting a project proposal for consideration. The application to become a 2021-2022 NYCLab client can be completed and submitted via an online form which accessed below.
NYCLab Frequently Asked Questions:
What Types of Projects Are You Looking For?
We are looking for substantive projects that will engage a student team for 7-8 months on a sustainability-related business problem in the corporate, government, or nonprofit space. Clients range from entrepreneurial start-ups to established organizations. In particular, we invite Black-owned businesses, as well as social justice-focused nonprofits and government agencies to apply. Sample projects could include creating an overall sustainability strategy, increasing energy efficiency, or supply chain management.
As a Client, What is Expected of Me?
Clients need to designate a primary project contact to act as the liaison for the student consulting team. The primary project contact will provide students with the information and guidance needed to effectively complete the project. The time commitment required will depend on the mutually agreed upon project scope as outlined in the Project Agreement. Through regular delivery of components of the larger project, and frequent verification and validation by the client, the deliverables will evolve organically over the course of the year as the student teams and clients together come to understand what’s most valuable.
What is the Timeline for Deliverables?
- Clients should receive useful results by January and thereafter, with the final deliverables and presentation due by the end of May.
- Clients should plan to spend 30-60 minutes twice a month with their student team reviewing early deliverables and taking the opportunity to modify the project as needed.
Is My Project Confidential?
Clients whose NYCLab projects require confidentiality may request a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) when the terms of the project are agreed upon. The NDA will specify which members of the Bard MBA community may be present when project details are being discussed.