The Lang MBA at the University of Guelph has been named No. 1 among Canadian business schools for its focus on sustainability, according to a new ranking by Corporate Knights, a sustainable business magazine.
It’s the second time in three years that the MBA program offered by the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics was ranked first in Canada for integrating sustainability in its teaching and research. For the second year in a row, the program was also named among the top five programs worldwide. The Lang MBA has ranked in the global top 20 for the past five years.
Marking its twentieth year, the Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking assessed 160 business schools/MBAs worldwide for sustainability measures, including core courses, faculty research articles and citations, dedicated research centres and institutes, and faculty gender and racial diversity.
Ranking reflects U of G commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goals
“We are incredibly proud to be among the world’s best in developing holistic and purpose-driven business leaders,” said dean Dr. Sara Mann. “This important ranking reinforces our commitment to embed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in our research and course content, in pursuit of developing leaders to use business as a force for good.”
More than 140 students are enrolled in the Lang MBA program.
“This ranking highlights and validates the fact that Lang is among the top schools worldwide offering this program,” said Dr. Rumina Dhalla, a professor in the Department of Management and inaugural director of Lang’s Institute for Sustainable Commerce at Guelph.
Explaining U of G’s top ranking, Dhalla pointed to cross-disciplinary, global sustainability content in the MBA program, the prevalence of U of G-led research papers published in top journals, the growing presence of sustainability-related institutes and centres at Lang and on campus, and the sustainability interests of incoming students to the program.
“We’ve seen a rise in the number of sustainability-focused articles in journals by Lang researchers,” said Dhalla, who developed the MBA in sustainable commerce. Referring to peer-reviewed papers, she said those researchers have written on issues ranging from supply chain and consumption topics to responsible management to energy policy and emerging economies.
“That highlights the fact that so many faculty members are engaged in these issues.”
Referring to a new Lang initiative that integrates curricular and non-curricular professional development opportunities, Dhalla said, “The new Future You Advantage will provide students with career-ready skills and supports while instilling ethical business practices to develop responsible, globally-conscious business leaders.”
Other prominent business schools in the 2022 global rankings include the Schulich School of Business and the University of California Berkeley. Corporate Knights assessed about 150 MBA programs worldwide.
Sustainable commerce at Lang connects to global initiatives
In 2021, Lang launched its Institute for Sustainable Commerce, which serves as a hub for business sustainability research and teaching at U of G. The institute provides funding for sustainability research projects, whose topics have included gender equality, sustainable food service and standard setting.
Beyond campus, the school has been recognized by the United Nations as a PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) Champion for integrating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into its teaching, research and community partnerships.
Lang belongs to the UN Global Compact Canada, for which Dhalla is board chair, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada.
U of G also belongs to the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative, an international group of schools and organizations.
The Lang MBA program is designed for managers and executives in finance, management, government, hospitality, and agriculture and related fields.
Dhalla said many grads find employment in health care, education, agriculture and regulatory organizations. “Employers are looking for students with sustainability-related education and expertise,” she said.
A “focus on doing what’s right” is what Joshua Montgomery took away from his Lang MBA in sustainable commerce, completed in 2020.
“I consider the Earth as an organism and we have to live at one with it and not be pilfering it, said Montgomery. He’s the CEO of Barrie, Ont.-based Venture Academy, which runs treatment programs for struggling teens.
“We need to have a shift in business, a more ethical way of doing business that protects the planet while we still make a profit.”
Also on Nov. 10, U of G will host the third annual Lang Sustainability Conference for undergraduate students. During the three-day event, about 80 delegates from U of G and other school will take part in workshops, talks, a networking fair and a case competition.
Dr. Rumina Dhalla