Up Next

Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Accelerating progress in social and environmental sustainability
News & Media

Celebrating 15 years of leadership in sustainable enterprise

UNC Kenan-Flagler is celebrating its 15th anniversary as a global leader in sustainable enterprise.

In 1999, the School started formal efforts to spread the knowledge of and use of a triple-bottom-line approach, which measure success in terms of financial profitability, ecological integrity and social equity.
Leading the School’s work is the Center for Sustainable Enterprise(CSE), founded in 2001. Through education, research and outreach, the CSE empowers business leaders to build shareholder value while exercising environmental stewardship and promoting societal well-being.

“Sustainable enterprise is a strategic strength of UNC Kenan-Flagler,” said Al Segars, CSE faculty director, the PNC Bank Distinguished Professor and chair of strategy and entrepreneurship.

One of the first business schools to offer a comprehensive curriculum, UNC Kenan-Flagler provides experiential learning, enrichment activities, and career development opportunities to students. Today over 550 MBA students have graduated with a concentration in sustainable enterprise, which is structured to complement the functional disciplines of marketing, operations, finance, entrepreneurship and consulting.
CSE initiatives include curricular innovation with global reach, said Carol Hee, CSE director and a strategy and entrepreneurship professor. “We have a rich tradition of outreach – including programs in consulting, business incubation, networking and mentoring. Our work has won awards for curricular innovation and case writing, and we host major events like the NC Clean Tech Summit, which draws thought leaders and students from around the world.”

Among those major initiatives is the Investing for Impact Competition (formerly the Sustainable Venture Capital Investment Competition). Founded in 2006, it is the first MBA competition where students apply venture capital skills to assess socially and environmentally sustainable firms.

Sustainability Leadership Capstone - UNC Kenan-FlaglerThe Sustainability Leadership Capstone is another innovation for which UNC Kenan-Flagler is recognized. The Academy of Management (AOM) awarded Lisa Jones Christensen, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, the 2014 Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy Award for the MBA course, which takes place mostly away from campus and enhances students’ leadership and entrepreneurial skills with a unique model of experiential learning in sustainability.

An important part of the student experience in sustainable enterprise is the chapter of Net Impact, the global organization of emerging business leaders committed to using the power of business to create a better world.

UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Net Impact chapter is one of the largest and most active among U.S. business schools and is one of the largest career clubs at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with over 30 percent of the MBA student body as members. The MBA and undergraduate Net Impact clubs both received the prestigious gold chapter standing this summer by developing and participating in outreach, programming and activities that provide students with education, inspiration and opportunities relating to sustainable business.

CSE collaborates with the Net Impact Chapters, Energy Club and the MBA Career Management Center to provide programs and resources for students to explore managerial and career opportunities focused on the triple bottom line.

Graduates pursue a wide range of careers, said Tracy Triggs-Matthews, CSE associate director. “One of our greatest strengths is our powerful alumni network, which includes leaders working at corporations like Bank of America and Deloitte, as well as at growing organizations like SJF Ventures and North Highlands along with those alumni creating their own ventures.”

“The commitment of UNC Kenan-Flagler to embedding business stewardship for the planet in the classroom experience is evident in their high performance on the Beyond Grey Pinstripes rankings of MBA programs,” Judith Samuelson, executive director of the Business and Society Program at The Aspen Institute. “Congratulations to UNC Kenan-Flagler on 15 years of demonstrating a commitment to excellence in business education in this important arena!”

UNC Kenan-Flagler ranked among the very best in the world in every Beyond Grey Pinstripes ranking. The Financial Times consistently ranks the MBA Program among the top 10 in corporate social responsibility, most recently No. 9 in 2014, and Bloomberg Businessweekranked the MBA Program No. 7 globally for sustainability.

“The commitment of UNC Kenan-Flagler to embedding business stewardship for the planet in the classroom experience is evident in their high performance on the Beyond Grey Pinstripes rankings of MBA programs.”

You may also be interested in: