Yale’s first-rate business curriculum and depth of knowledge in the field provide a foundation for your aspirations. You’ll also draw on the full power of Yale University and our network of business graduates in the field, as you gain an elevated perspective to see the big picture that enables you to be a leader.
Specializing in sustainability will elevate your career trajectory within the field. Courses and colloquium sessions from our sustainability area of focus also provide deep insights and illuminating perspectives for leaders in other fields.
With volatile commodity prices, resource scarcity, and growing public scrutiny of business operations throughout the entire value chain, achieving greater social and environmental sustainability has become a managerial imperative across industries. Forward-looking businesses are converting constraints traditionally viewed as challenges to growth into the inspiration and motivation for product, operational, and business model innovation. To lead in your organization and make sustainability not a question of corporate responsibility but one of corporate success, you need to combine in-depth understanding of markets and organizations with a grasp of major trends and a facility with frameworks for driving transformative innovation.
“Sustainability represents some of the most challenging risks facing businesses today, as well as some of the most exciting opportunities. From climate change to income inequality, the success of business in the future will depend on how companies address these challenges and align themselves with the needs of society and the environment.”
—Todd Cort, Faculty Director, Sustainability, Lecturer in Sustainability
Area of Focus Progression
Alongside the integrated core curriculum, in your first year, you will increase your grasp of big ideas and trends in the business of sustainability by participating in the Colloquium on Sustainability Leadership, a series of candid talks with innovators, CEOs of global corporations, policymakers, and other people shaping the field. In addition, you will build your network and benefit from the perspectives and experiences of classmates from all facets of the field.
In the second year, you deepen your expertise. You take a slate of advanced business and management courses, and a series of deep explorations of topics in sustainability. These courses are taught by experts from the School of Management and other parts of the university, including the Yale School of the Environment. The program builds on a long history of collaboration between SOM and YSE, exemplified in the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale.
“The agricultural industry is facing many challenges—climate change, labor shortages, and logistics delays, just to name a few. ... At Yale SOM, I’m learning how to proactively address these issues from experts at the forefront of climate change and sustainability research.”
Climate Change: Law, Policy, & Opportunity
This course will explore legal and policy developments pertaining to climate change. Approaches considered will range in jurisdictional scale, temporal scope, policy orientation, regulatory target, and regulatory objective. Although course readings and discussions will focus on existing and proposed responses to climate change, the overarching aim of the course will be to anticipate how the climate change problem will affect our laws, our organizations, and our lives in the long run.
Managing Sustainable Operations
In this course, we take a business-oriented perspective to explore the tradeoffs and synergies that exist between firms' ecological and financial performance. More specifically, we examine how firms' interaction with the environment should be incorporated into the management of their operations in conjunction with their short- and long-term objectives. We study how accounting for environmental footprints can foster incremental as well as radical improvements and innovations, ranging from cost reductions in processes and promoting entrepreneurial opportunities to drastic changes in strategies, business models, and industry partnerships.
Social Intra and Entrepreneurship
Social Intra- and Entrepreneurship explores the concepts, controversies, and heresies in this still-emerging field, including how to apply the underlying ideas to working within a more traditional corporate setting. Students will learn about the core ideas and current debates with the field.
This is a framing course for sustainability and business. Sustainability, as a topic area and discipline of study, is exceptionally broad, poorly defined, and overlapping with many other business disciplines. Therefore, this course is designed to establish a common understanding of sustainability and business for students as they enter their second year of study. It will also introduce a broad set of tools, frameworks, standards, and guidelines that are in practice today. Although this course explores details of sustainability strategy implementation, it is designed to link sustainability to the overall business drivers and is therefore relevant for any potential investor, corporate manager, entrepreneur, or consultant.
The Theory & Practice of Sustainable Investing
For a variety of reasons, today’s businesses and investors are dealing with the risks and opportunities of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Climate change, water scarcity, community conflicts, resource depletion, supply chain breakdowns, worker well-being, and economic inequality pose material challenges that make sustainability and ESG imperative for successful corporations and investors. This course couples established and emerging theory on how finance can be used to address sustainability challenges with the practice of Sustainable Finance. We will examine current ESG investment and corporate strategies and practices, industry trends, future scenarios, players, and frameworks and integrate that theory with practical investment performance analysis, metrics, and studies of data, screens, asset classes, and diversification. The course seeks to mix multiple formats of learning and interaction including lectures, class discussions, workshops, interactions with industry leaders, and student-led research.
Tools in Sustainable Finance
The topic of sustainable finance is an emerging area of practice. It encompasses a wide range of investment strategies from traditional portfolio management that integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects as risk indicators to more niche investment strategies such as impact investing and socially-responsible investing. Estimates of the percentage of global AUM that integrate some form of sustainable investing range as high as 35% and yet the emerging tools that investors are utilizing to drive sustainable finance can be difficult to access for practitioners and academics alike. Students will learn the tools that are being developed and applied today by practitioners in various aspects of sustainable investing.
This list represents current and planned program content. Exact course lineup and/or titles may change.