Sustainability matters: Why study sustainability at EDHEC Business School?

Want to make a sustainable impact in your life and career? Study sustainability at EDHEC Business School, with its unique master’s programs in sustainable business and sustainable finance. We spoke to Bastiaan van der Linden and Gianfranco Gianfrate from EDHEC to learn more about how students can make an impact post-graduation and the role of businesses in sustainability.

In short

Why sustainability matters at EDHEC Business School

One of the main strategic priorities at EDHEC Business School is putting sustainability at the center of its educational efforts.

As Bastiaan, Associate Professor & Director of the MSc in Global and Sustainable Business, puts it, “We train the future leaders of industry and our biggest impact sustainability-wise is preparing these leaders for a future in which we have sustainable companies. That’s the predominant impact EDHEC can make – first and foremost is really training the students in such a way that they will be the sustainability leaders of the future.” (01:17)

Businesses today cannot afford to ignore sustainability. “There is a growing scarcity of resources, there is a planet that is warming up very quickly, and there are also conflicts around us that are jeopardizing the very foundations of the economies we have built over the last century,” Gianfranco, Professor of Finance & Director of the MSc in Climate Change & Sustainable Finance, explains. “There is a degree of challenge and complexity that is unprecedented. The way students and businesses were treating the environment just 20 or 30 years ago is pretty much outdated.” (01:51)

“In this context, where resources are scarce, where there are tensions and conflicts, managers of businesses need to be a little bit more aggressive in how they conduct businesses and operations,” he adds. (02:39)

So how is EDHEC tackling sustainability head-on?

Study sustainability in the MSc in Climate Change & Sustainable Finance

EDHEC’s MSc in Climate Change & Sustainable Finance is an 18-month program that combines expertise in climate change and natural sciences with financial knowledge and innovation. The program is jointly run by EDHEC Business School and MINES ParisTech, a leading engineering institution in France.

Program Director Gianfranco adds, “Once the students have a foundation about what can be done about climate [change] and what technologies can be used and what are the costs associated [with] switching to cleaner technologies, then we build the financial skills…and we teach students how it’s possible to channel private and public financial resources to these unprecedented financial efforts that our society is going to cope with in the next few years – that is, the transition to a low carbon economy.” (04:17)

Students typically enter the MSc in Climate Change & Sustainable Finance with a background in engineering, economics, and/or finance.

Study sustainability in the MSc in Global & Sustainable Business

The MSc in Global & Sustainable Business at EDHEC is an 18-month program that explores the link between sustainability and business and how to find sustainability opportunities that can be leveraged in global business.

“These companies are the drivers of globalization…and that drives enormously the growth of our economies and also the wellbeing of most people in the world,” Program Director Bastiaan says. “Now, we see [in the] last decade that there’s a very serious criticism of this globalization, which is everybody gets better but it’s so unequal, so we have growth for everybody but it’s too unequally distributed. The second [issue] is our society simply runs into the limitations set by our planet.” (05:22)

He continues, “[Whether] we like it or not, if we want to make global business and globalization a success for our world, we must make sure that these businesses start finding ways to grow that also contribute to a more equal distribution of our growth – and doing this within the limitations of our planet.” (06:30)

A majority of students in the MSc in Global & Sustainable Business have academic experience in business management. Others have backgrounds in economics and finance.

Making an impact post-graduation

After you study sustainability, what kind of career can you pursue post-graduation?

Graduates of the MSc in Climate Change & Sustainable Finance move into focus areas such as:

  • ESG analyst
  • Financial analyst
  • Energy policy manager
  • Legal and compliance officer
  • Sustainability business consultant
  • Risk manager
  • Sustainability expert

Students typically join commercial or investment banks or investment funds that are targeting the transition to a low carbon economy.

Meanwhile, graduates of the MSc in Global & Sustainable Business primarily take on functions in business development, marketing, IT, or consulting. Key recruiters in the program include Accenture, EY, Bloomberg, Nike, Unilever, and KPMG.

Both programs at EDHEC partner with leading companies to expose their students to real-world sustainability projects. “Generally, EDHEC is quite good at creating relations with corporations [and] recruiters, so students can always enter into these relations that EDHEC already has,” Bastiaan tells us. “We make sure [that] students meet plenty of companies, so they can see what kind of companies are interesting to work with.” (16:55) In the MSc in Global & Sustainable Business, students will interact with companies like Danone, Michelin, and Engie.

In the MSc in Climate Change & Sustainable Finance, EDHEC has partnered with Crédit Agricole and Amundi Asset Management. Towards the end of the program, students complete a group thesis, working with a coach from Crédit Agricole or Amundi.

“The idea is to really be the least possible academic ‘ivory tower’ and to be very, very practical,” Gianfranco says. “So, the process starts with a need or an idea that our partners have developed [around] sustainable finance and the students work with them and with the supervision of the faculty on these projects.” (16:22)

The crucial role of businesses in accelerating sustainability

With rising temperatures, increased drought, and loss of species on land and in the ocean, the next generation of leaders has a huge weight on its shoulders to champion sustainability and save the planet!

While some might question the role that businesses play in building a sustainable future, EDHEC Business School believes that businesses are crucial to accelerating sustainability.

“The businesses that will be out-competing their competitors in the future will be the businesses that can deliver the great products and services that we need, while also being sustainable,” Bastiaan states. “This is really a challenge of being innovative [and] finding new business models, but also leveraging new technologies…There are plenty of reasons to look at sustainability as a competitive opportunity. Businesses that do that will be ready for the future.” (12:06)

“The mission of EDHEC is [to] train students and ask students to make an impact in their job and in the societies they are going to be citizens of,” Gianfranco concludes. “We believe – and it’s very clear – that sustainability from the environmental point of view [and] from the social point of view is going to be the defining challenge of our time.” (08:32)

If you’re looking to make an impact in your life and career, why not study sustainability at the very school that lives and breathes impact through its students?

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