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Education & Training


Making Everyone a “Sustainability Generalist”

At the Center for Sustainable Business, our approach to training and education begins with the assumption that everyone—regardless of their official title or organizational function—can help make choices that contribute to the well-being of the community. Whether these choices are made in the office or carry on outside of it, we want to equip a new generation of business leaders with the skills needed to better recognize and act on opportunities to live and work more sustainably.

Investing in the future of sustainability leadership means investing in education and training designed to make every employee a “sustainability generalist.” Regardless of their primary field of expertise (e.g. marketing, investor relations, procurement, etc.), new business school graduates and senior managers alike benefit from exposure to the principle of sustainability ownership. Our educational programs are designed to foster the skills needed to recognize how processes across all functions and departments within the corporate organization could benefit from adopting more sustainable practices.

Our teaching focus encompasses executive education as well as graduate and undergraduate education as we work to deliver on our commitment to sustainability. While student focused, our understanding of what education entails extends beyond the classroom setting. We embrace the triple-bottom-line approach to managing people, planet, and profit so that all stakeholders may benefit from a long-term approach to the relationship between business, society, and the environment:

Sustainability at Katz guides students to act as ethically responsible leaders. Students learn how companies manage their social (people), environmental (planet), and financial (profits) risks, obligations, and opportunities to positively impact both stakeholders and financial wellbeing.

To deliver on this commitment, we continuously seek to develop innovative programs, course offerings, speaker series, and other opportunities that enrich the quality of education and expertise our students develop in their time at the University. We do much of this work in partnership with other departments and programs at the University of Pittsburgh, capitalizing on our shared strength as a world-renowned hub for research and learning.

Our sponsor companies benefit from our teaching and education initiatives in a number of ways, including:

  • Priority access to internship-seeking students with training in “making the business case” for more sustainable corporate models.
  • Invitation-only access to speaker series and lectures from leading experts in the field.
  • Opportunities to engage in executive education on sustainable business strategy.
  • Customized on-site arrangements where we provide training and expertise to help companies build a culture of sustainability throughout all functions and levels of the organization.
  • Access to information about how investment in sustainability impacts corporate recruitment and retention of new graduates.
  • Chances to participate in case competitions where students work on problem-solving around real-world challenges companies face.

PhD Coursework in Sustainability

For doctoral students interested in studying corporate sustainability, corporate social responsibility, for-benefit and other alternative business models, or related fields, we offer a graduate level, Ph.D. course: Research in Sustainability – Managing the Triple Bottom Line (BUSADM 3030).

We welcome inquiries from graduate students outside of the business school in related fields.

Guest Speakers and Lectures

The Center frequently sponsors or co-sponsors guest speakers to present on issues relevant to the field of sustainable business strategy. To date, we have hosted individuals from a variety of backgrounds, including: Prof. Ed Freeman (Darden School of Business, University of Virginia), Wayne Balta (Vice President of Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety, IBM Corporation), Jeffrey Sachs (Director, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network), and Andrew McElwaine (Vice President of Sustainability, The Heinz Endowments).

Read more about some of the distinguished speakers we have hosted at Pitt and check out the news of our upcoming public events.

Katz Sustainability Certificate

To guide MBA students in acquiring the skills needed to become a “sustainability generalist,” we offer an internal Sustainability Certificate. Any Katz MBA student is eligible to pursue the certificate in addition to their declared degree program. This 10.5 credit certificate guides students to act as ethically responsible leaders. Students learn how companies manage their social (people), environmental (planet), and financial (profits) risks, obligations, and opportunities to positively impact both stakeholders and financial well-being.

CSB Podcast Sustaining Sustainability

In April 2020, the Center launched a new podcast series exploring sustainability lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Through short (15-minute) interviews with industry managers, academic experts, government officials, and civil society leaders, we explore various societal challenges magnified by the COVID-19 crisis. Each episode focuses on a specific topic and builds toward a call to action.

With an international reach and a global perspective, our series draws on the expertise of individuals based around the world. We'll learn from each other as we share perspectives and gain insights into how this crisis is unfolding in different settings. Join us to learn more about what you can do to make our world more equitable and sustainable in this unprecedented time.