Sustainability-Focused Classes Give Career-Seeking Grads a Leg Up
News Leaders in higher education agree on the importance of integrating sustainability into lesson plans.
Why is sustainability a focus for your program?
Dean McFarlin: Sustainability is intrinsic to Duquesne University. Introduced in 2007, our MBA Sustainable Business Practices program consistently ranks as one of the best in the world. We prepare students to see the world differently by challenging conventional thinking. Our students measure outcomes beyond the dollar and look at business practices from an integrated bottom line when solving environmental and social challenges.
Blake E. Wentz: Most projects today have sustainable, or green, components, which is why we focus many of our classroom and laboratory activities on sustainability at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). We believe it is beneficial for our students to make sure they are ready to handle these types of issues once they begin their careers. Employers come to us seeking graduates with this type of education and experience.
How can a career in sustainability help prospective students?
DM: At Duquesne, we believe that responsible, ethical leadership in business creates a better society for all. Our students learn and understand the importance of integrating sustainability in all areas of business. Organizations hire Duquesne graduates because they've learned to identify opportunities that create value through cross-functional, sustainable business practices.
BW: The career opportunities are endless. At MSOE, you can get a degree in construction management, civil or mechanical engineering, or other types of engineering that can lead to a career in the sustainability field. Demand is high from construction and design firms for good, young talent, and 100 percent of the students graduating from my department have gotten high-paying jobs, and many received several offers.
What is one of the trends in sustainable careers that you’re most excited about?
DM: Multinational companies are looking for a different type of MBA student. Those who understand sustainability are better able to solve complex problems. Within these companies, sustainability is no longer an isolated functional area; it is everyone’s responsibility.
BW: I am impressed by the amount of technology utilized in buildings today. For decades our industry had been pretty stagnant, and to see the amount of new technologies being invented is really exciting. Young engineers have the chance to invent some really groundbreaking things to help buildings be more efficient.
How can sustainable professionals change our world?
DM: The next generation of leaders want to work for successful companies that are finding creative solutions to the world’s environmental and social problems. Duquesne graduates are well prepared to develop innovative solutions for companies through hands-on consulting projects, global study trips, leadership development and capstone practicums.
BW: Sustainable professionals can change the way we live and work in buildings. Making a more sustainable building not only can help the environment by making the building more energy efficient, but these designs can make the people who use these buildings more productive. All of this will help take us to new levels in the future.