McDonough School of Business
McDonough School of Business

Certificate in Sustainable Business

solar panels on georgetown campus

Georgetown McDonough MBA students have a unique opportunity to earn a Certificate in Sustainable Business. The purpose of the certificate is to equip students with knowledge and practical experience to lead and manage successful businesses with a deep understanding of the complex social, economic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century. 

Companies competing in today’s socio-economic context increasingly face new and urgent environmental and societal challenges and opportunities that materially affect their operations and business models. For instance, the global nature of supply chains, including presence in some countries with weak regulation and institutions, requires firms to undertake new approaches to supplier management in order to protect worker safety and rights, as well as safeguard their reputations. Geographical disparities in water, climate, and energy risks are inducing firms to redesign their supply chains and operations. Also, employees are engaged in the social and environmental policies and practices of their firms, as are community members and other stakeholders with vested interests in business operations.

For companies to thrive in the current socio-economic context, executives are aware of the need to anticipate and respond to environmental and social sustainability concerns, while more proactive leaders will incorporate sustainability approaches into their competitive strategies to create value.

Previously, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns were largely relegated to the spheres of corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility and were viewed as part of compliance or community relations concerns, peripheral to the core business. Today, companies understand the need to incorporate sustainability approaches into all business activities and functions, including supply chains, product design and innovation, strategy, finance, and investor relations, operations, and human resources. Accordingly, companies are developing integrated ESG approaches in response to changing consumer demand, shifting employee interests, increased volatility in supply chains, and greater exposure to public scrutiny in an age of greater transparency facilitated by digital networks and other factors.

Whether students go on to lead a Fortune 500 company, launch a startup, or pursue careers that span all the three sectors — nonprofit, public, and private — students who earn the MBA Certificate in Sustainable Business will be prepared to address these challenges and identify opportunities to create value by making their businesses and industries more sustainable. 

Questions about the certificate? Contact Vishal Agrawal, academic director, at For questions related to applications and admissions, contact Christine Kidwell, associate director of Business for Impact, at


The Certificate in Sustainable Business is designed for, and limited to enrolled McDonough MBA students. Enrollment is open now for Full-time ’23, Flex ’23, and Flex ’24 students. 

Eligible students can apply using the newly created common application, which will be due February 5, 2022.


Students who elect to enroll in the certificate program will take a 10.5-credit sequence (7.5 overlapping MBA elective credits and 3 overlapping MBA core credits) of integrated MBA core and elective courses to build understanding of challenges and opportunities related to sustainable business and how to address them. Upon graduation from the MBA Program, students will receive a notation on their official university transcript along with a certificate of completion.

Certificate Core Requirements: 3 overlapping core credits 

The core discipline and intellectual framework for the course is international economics enriched by global strategy. Ethical considerations are introduced formally and experientially. Team work and presentation skills are learned in the context of the projects.

Certificate Elective Requirements: 3 elective credits 

Certificate Electives: Must complete 4.5 elective credits from the following list

*Off-list courses including non-MBA courses with approval of the certificate academic director.

**This list of MBA electives serves as a guide. It is subject to change and does not represent a guarantee that specific courses will be offered in specific academic years.


Vishal Agrawal

Lapeyre Family Professor and Academic Director, Sustainable Business Initiative

Bill Novelli

Executive Director of the Georgetown Business for Impact Initiative


BFI Executive Director & New Strategies Managing Director

Melissa Bradley