New program helps SF State go green
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SF State's College of Business is working to satisfy recent environmentally conscious demands by adding courses dedicated to ethical and sustainable business education within its Executive Master of Business Administration program.

The EMBA program, located at the downtown campus, will help produce future employees with a strong business background in sustainability at a time when the green industry is booming.

EMBA Director Aaron Anderson said that the new emphasis is rare and hopes that it will continue to expand and eventually influence other schools to do the same.

"We are looking to lead in this area," Anderson said. "My dream is to have Harvard call us up and ask 'How did you do this?'"

The 16-month program is based on a cohort, a group of students, all following the same track of courses together. It is much different then the traditional EMBA program because students are required to do the same coursework, as well as the additional sustainability courses, in a shorter span of time.

Although four courses define the emphasis, sustainable business curricula will be woven throughout other courses as well. As an accelerated program, its goal is to make students well rounded in three aspects -being profitable, being environmentally friendly and being socially responsible.

"This program will appeal to a broad spectrum of individuals," Anderson said. "It's for people interested in a career shift and interested in new business skills."

Eddie Deleon, 23, is currently a senior at SF State majoring in business management. As the president of the Management Organization for Business Students, he has brought in guest speakers to discuss the role the environment has in business decision making.

"Sustainability is here to stay," Deleon said. "Businesses will be following this new model from now on because it affects everything and everybody."

Deleon has been told by business professionals, advisors and professors about the importance sustainability will be playing in the future, influencing his interest in possibly pursuing the new emphasis.

"I looked at (the program) when we had the graduate fair," Deleon said. "I think it would be nice because that's the new wave we will be seeing everywhere."

Anderson attributes the faculty, which he said is ranked high in sustainability programming, as the driving forces behind the new emphasis.

One of those faculty members, professor of management Murray Silverman, sees the addition of the program as an opportunity to take advantage of consumers' growing interest in environmentally conscious products.

"I don't like to think of it as a trend," Silverman said. "A trend can go away, but this is a shift in the world."

The sustainability emphasis will not begin until January 2011, but it is already being recognized as a great addition to the Master of Business Administration program.
"This was a niche that needed to be filled," Eddie Cox, a 48-year-old recent graduate of the MBA program, said. "SF State can build a brand in sustainability and draw some of the best people in the world to go there."

Although Cox graduated in May 2009, he remains connected to the College of Business through his alumni. With tools like Facebook and various networking events, Cox hopes to inform potential students about the benefits of the program and the new emphasis as well.

"Those of us involved in the association got a lot out of the program and want to give something back," Cox said.

Applications for the sustainable business emphasis will be accepted beginning in August of 2010. Although there is a fair amount of interest in the program, the economy has led to overall poor enrolment rates. The target of 120 students is not expected to be met in 2010, and instead Anderson anticipates 30 or so qualified students to be enrolled.







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