Purpose and Scope
As the human demand for goods and services continues to grow, businesses face increasing risks to the resource systems on which they rely – from materials, to energy, water, food, climate and biodiversity. Many businesses also create pollution and waste, imposing costs and risks on the communities in which they operate.
Not only do these risks drive a search for greater productivity in resource use, they also create opportunities for entirely new businesses to develop – offering new materials and approaches to meeting human needs in ways that are supportive of resilient resource systems. As a result, increasing numbers of companies are seeking to hire graduates who bring both scientific and business knowledge to addressing these risks and opportunities. At the same time, as environmental organizations continue to grow, more and more of them are looking to business for examples of financial, organizational and operational models to improve their effectiveness.
The purpose of this specialization is to help F&ES students who are interested in working on environmental issues in for-profit organizations, or in NGOs and public agencies that partner with for-profit organizations, be well prepared to do so. This specialization will be particularly helpful for MEM students with an environmental science or policy background and less experience with business concepts.
The specialization starts with two core classes that lay out the principles around which businesses are organized and managed. From there, students tend to gravitate toward work that is focused on either (a) companies that make things or (b) businesses that finance such activities. Quantitative skills will be important to both areas of work. As such, students are required to take four electives from a designated set, including at least one from the quantitative group.
: Marian Chertow
, Brad Gentry