McDonough School of Business
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Inaugural Cohort of MBAs Receive Their Certificate in Sustainable Business

Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business is celebrating its inaugural cohort of MBAs who received their Certificate in Sustainable Business. The school launched this unique certificate program to prepare graduates to address urgent environmental and societal challenges that affect companies’ operations and business models. The MBA program developed this interdisciplinary certificate in collaboration with the school’s Business for Impact initiative and Vishal Agrawal, Provost’s Distinguished Lapeyre Family Associate Professor and academic director of the certificate.

Companies competing in the 21st century are taking charge of their impact on the world, ensuring a stable environment for the communities and economies where they operate. It has never been more crucial for businesses to embrace environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs, which can give MBA students a competitive edge as they hone their ability to lead organizations that are both profitable and sustainable through the lens of ESG.

“I chose to pursue this certificate in sustainable business because I want to live in a world where all businesses adopt strategies that protect the environment, promote social equity, and create positive impact,” said Estevan Astorga (MBA’20). “Leaders must serve as catalysts to change the status quo.”

MBA students who enrolled in the certificate program took a 10.5-credit sequence of integrated MBA core and elective courses to build an understanding of challenges and opportunities related to business sustainability and how to address them. 

Astorga believes every student should take at least one of the required classes in the certificate program to help differentiate students as stronger, more insightful, and ethical leaders. He will start his postgraduate journey in human capital consulting for Deloitte Government & Public Services here in Washington, D.C.

The school has two elective courses that are fundamental to the program:

  • Environmentally Sustainable Operations and Business Models, which take on a business-oriented perspective by focusing on voluntary or economically motivated sustainability considerations and initiatives.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility, which focuses on the relationship between business, society, and the environment, and its evolution to ESG.

Leigh Ann Osborne (MBA’20), who has a background in the nonprofit sector, said she knew this certificate could help her pivot to a career in sustainability. She believes this program provided her with the opportunity to make the strong case for sustainability in any business environment because in today’s world, it is an integral part of a successful business model. 

“I learned about sustainability best practices and how to carry them into my future roles,” said Osborne. “There is a crucial role for sustainability in every single sector.”

Through the certificate program, Osborne made an alumni connection and had the opportunity to intern in a sustainability-focused role, which only solidified her passion to focus on ESG strategies in the nonprofit sector.

“The certificate not only trains students to mitigate and manage risks from sustainability challenges, but also identifies and embraces innovative opportunities for value creation,” said Agrawal. 

As the certificate program continues to grow, Agrawal hopes to integrate even more experiential opportunities, covering both different business functions, but also different industries. 

“The certificate has given me exposure to real-world practitioners and world-class professors who have built careers as leaders in sustainability,” said Walker Zorensky (MBA’20). “I hope to leverage this certificate throughout my career to advocate for sustainability and demonstrate that firms should be focused on a broader set of stakeholders.”

Upon graduation from Georgetown’s MBA program, students received a notation on their official university transcript along with a certificate of completion. As the program continues to grow, the next class of 2021 enrolled in this certificate program will consist of 48 students.

Business for Impact