Aspen Institute's MBA Ranking Includes Four Colorado Schools

September 21st marked a milestone for Colorado business schools who took home top spots in the Aspen Institute’s new MBA rankings. The ranking focused on schools that offer relevant courses centered on topics of sustainability via social, environmental and ethical practices and how businesses are impacted by these decisions. Over the course of seven months, the Aspen Institute analyzed course descriptions, course availability and faculty research data from 149 schools in 22 countries to determine this years top MBA schools. Participating schools were measured independently based on size, enrollment and resources to determine the strength of each score.

The University of Denver Daniels College of Business took the top spot at number 15, while the University of Colorado Boulder's Leeds School of Business finished number 21, Colorado State University number 37 and the University of Colorado Denver took home the number 53 spot on the Institute's list of top 100 MBA programs in the world.

The rankings were released on the heels of the fifth straight week of higher than average summer unemployment claims. Reminding businesses, schools and students why it is important to create a culture of sustainability. Now, more than ever, graduate programs are changing their teaching models to focus on how to better educate their students in an ever changing business environment.

And while some may contend that the touchy-feely trend of corporate social responsibility and the ethical analysis of business at the graduate level is an obligatory and forced curriculum that emphasizes too much on results that should be common sense; the reality of Wall Street-esque practices are still too close for comfort to some. “Long-term sustainability is here to stay. The recognition of the importance of ethical, sustainable business models will be taught and go beyond the business school and I think you’ll see it in public affairs and other areas of academic institutions focusing on responsible control mechanisms,” said Dr. Cliff Young from Colorado University, Denver.

As the effects from business decisions have become far more reaching, graduate classes focused on long-term sustainable growth and corporate social responsibility will continue to creep into college and university curriculum. “There is a greater recognition and attention in business to things like ethical conduct, being socially responsible in your community and operating in a sustainable manner; they  aren’t trade-offs to profit margins they are contributors to profit margins and long-term value,” said Dr. Bruce Hutton, Dean Emeritus, Daniels College of Business, University of Denver.

As a society we’ve witnessed the cost of doing business and the fragility associated with that cost. A company’s corporate mission statement, philosophies and public perception can be tarnished in the blink of an eye. It’s become more apparent that the ability to operate effectively is part and parcel to an organization’s efforts towards a responsible future for its sustainable growth and the leaders charged with doing so. Ethics may seem to be a common sense attribute but our communities have paid witness that it is not.

The Aspen Institutes new ranking, although based on a collection of willingly provided data from participating schools, showcased a group creating solid fundamental courses and programs to teach our future business leaders solutions to mitigate risk and how to create sustainable business models, in an effort to be a good corporate citizen while also turning a profit.