B-School Courses in Sustainable Finance

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business now offers a new type of finance course on investing for social, environmental and financial returns, which Sarah Murray describes in today’s Financial Times.

The course, offered by the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, teaches students how to structure and value renewable energy and energy-efficient projects, clean tech venture capital and microfinance projects.

Students work in teams and individually during this seven-week program, where groups create private equity funds or debt instruments that would both fit in institutional investors’ portfolios and also deliver social and environmental gains.

Which other MBA programs are addressing sustainability issues within more technical areas, such as accounting or finance?

  • Babson College offers an elective on financing and valuing sustainability.
  • Columbia Business School has a finance and sustainability elective, with cases covering areas such as socially responsible investing, renewable energy, microfinance and development banks.
  • Kenan-Flagler Business School offers seminar courses in investment strategy for sustainability that look at how managers can integrate environmental, social and corporate governance factors into portfolio strategies and investment analysis.

These new courses are promising, but as Murray reports, the problem is that the current course options in this area have remained electives, with few of the topics they cover finding their way into the core finance courses of MBA programs.

For more on why so few business schools are offering this kind of financial education, follow the link to Murray’s original article.

(image courtesy of Flickr user Sarah McD’3, CC 2.0)

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