“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance” – Ban Ki-moon
Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the concept of corporate success has been based on the amount of money a company makes, the output it produces and how much growth is achieved per year. Focussing on the end product, this game is an intricate balance between productivity and wealth.
But as society has progressed in the last 400 years, organisations have had to find their place in a wider social context. Improving living standards, greater choice and increased competition have contributed to the call for companies to wake up to the wider world they operate within.
There’s now more emphasis on the importance of businesses positively impacting society and the environment within their business practices, whether their final product seeks to create a better world or not.
A far cry from the unconscious polluting of the Industrial Revolution, the business leaders of tomorrow have the future in their hands, and a strong sense of responsibility is needed to guide economies and societies to a brighter path.
After all, these corporations are responsible for almost all the planet’s consumption. From the food we eat, to the cars we drive and the clothes we wear, society is both created and controlled by a web of global companies.
And as consumers become aware of the realities of sweatshop labour in developing countries, or the unsustainability of the meat industry pumping out more greenhouse gasses than all the planes, trains, boats, cars and busses in the world, businesses must act now and respond to these pressing needs.
In light of global changes in situation and outlook, Birmingham Business School at the UK’s University of Birmingham is committed to producing forward-thinking business leaders with a strong sense of corporate and global responsibility for the future and decisions made.
Providing an international business community with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation, this School gives students the analytical tools needed to drive the industry towards a sustainable, ethical future.
Over 6,500 international students study at this institution, coming from over 150 different countries. This allows students to learn from different perspectives and foster the globalised business outlook that is needed to make positive industry changes.
To hone this diverse community into responsible business citizens, students have the chance to work alongside the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business. The Centre, which is situated at the University’s campus, is committed to finding ways businesses can be ‘rewired responsibly’ through research and education, giving students real-world experiences in responsible business.
Combined with the University of Birmingham’s innovative business degree structures both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, students gain the skills that they need to hit the ground running upon graduation, enabling them to create a positive influence on the sector as they meet new challenges and overcome complex obstacles.
“We are committed to making a difference at all levels,” explains Professor Catherine Cassell, the Dean of Birmingham Business School. “We enable our graduates to add value throughout their careers, we provide superior business intelligence to our partners, and we focus our research on the key challenges that face our global economy and society.”
In line with the school’s industry focus, students have the opportunity to pursue unique career opportunities during their programme through support from the Careers in Business team, encouraging them to have maximum impact after graduation.
The initiative offers consultations and career advice to help students identify their prospects, fine-tune their job search and perfect their applications. Coupled with academically-rigorous, industry-focussed courses, students gain key skills in both academia and their professional lives to propel the industry towards a more sustainable future.
“The knowledge I gained [at the University] made me more prepared for my career,” said Mauricio, a Brazilian student who studied the MBA at Birmingham Business School.
“I had a strong background in engineering, but now I feel more comfortable discussing strategy, finance, and how a company works; I feel more comfortable and confident to manage my own company in aspects like marketing, strategy, and finance.”
The School has undertaken a full review of its taught programmes across all six departments – accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing and strategy and international business – to embed its commitment to responsible business. Each programme offered allows student to study concepts of responsibility and apply them to particular situations. Combined with the high-class education from industry leaders and expert career advisors prepares this students to make powerful contributions out in the field or in further study.
Students are empowered by an integrated educational experience that understands business leaders are not produced from academic rigour alone, but through a combination of international exposure, collaborative work and awareness of global trends.
“We know that diversity, innovation and globalisation will continue to reshape global business in the future. To this end, our goal is to provide an education that will inspire and equip our graduates to navigate the ever-changing and evolving landscape of global business,” says the Dean.