The Certificate in Sustainable Management provides an opportunity for working professionals to become familiar with the concepts and tools of sustainable management and systems thinking. It enables those who may be already educated in conventional business management, especially those who already have an MBA or equivalent graduate degree, to come up to speed quickly in sustainable management principles and practices.
The Certificate in Sustainable Management offers five distinct focus areas, enabling the student to learn the particular concepts and competencies of sustainable management that apply to his or her specific business function interest. These are:
Each focus area requires the student to take between three and four courses over a period of two to three semesters. Under each of the first three focus areas, the student engages as a member of a team to develop and apply sustainable management tools in a real company or nonprofit organization. In all cases the first course is Principles of Sustainable Management. This introduces the student to the sustainability frameworks and practices with which the pressing challenges business faces in becoming sustainable can be analyzed and understood.
Applied Sustainable Strategy requires two additional courses taken together in a second semester, Strategy and Managerial Finance. Strategy familiarizes the student with conceptual tools and practical methodologies for catalyzing organizational transformation toward sustainable operation. Managerial Finance, in addition to its coverage of the traditional tools of financial analysis and management, acquaints the student with socially responsible investment models and the relationship between human, natural and financial capital.
One distinctive feature of the Strategy/Managerial Finance requirement is that it provides the student with the opportunity to participate in a team of 3-5 students in an Experiential Learning project. In this project, students work within a company or nonprofit to develop a sustainable management strategy and financial plan for the organization.
Applied Sustainable Operations requires two additional courses taken together in a second semester, Operations and Production and Implementation of Sustainable Practices. Operations and Production explores the use of sustainability practices and analysis tools in optimizing the delivery of products and services, and demonstrates how principles of industrial ecology and life cycle assessment can be applied in the design of sustainable supply chains. Two particular areas of emphasis are networks of production and end of life remanufacturing. In this course, students engage in a team of 3-5 students in an Experiential Learning project in which they work within a company or nonprofit to develop a sustainable operations plan for the organization.
Implementation of Sustainable Practices complements the Operations course, providing an opportunity for students to apply some of the leading sustainability frameworks such as Natural Capitalism and the Natural Step to drive a commitment to sustainability into an organization’s DNA, from management and communications to production and operations to marketing and HR. Students work in teams in this course to develop a corporate sustainability plan.
Applied Sustainable Marketing & Product Development requires two additional courses taken together in a second semester, Managerial Marketing and Sustainable Products and Services. The marketing course introduces a framework for marketing within the context of sustainable management. Students engage in an exploration of the implications of sustainability for marketing and are challenged to critically analyze marketing strategies, plans, and decisions. Most importantly, students are taught the mindset of a marketer for sustainability — the ability to inquire into real needs of the individual and society, and to serve them. Students team up in this course to build a sustainable marketing plan for a company or nonprofit.
Sustainable Products and Services focuses on the entrepreneurial process of innovation, development and commercialization of new products that contribute to sustainable development. It examines how sustainable products contribute to the firm’s competitive advantage and generate entrepreneurial opportunities. It introduces sustainability frameworks to integrate environmental and societal externalities in the traditional product design process. Students work in teams to identify a market opportunity, develop a concept for a sustainable product in that market, and plan the full design, development, and commercialization of the product.
Sustainable Finance and Capital Management requires three additional courses. The first, Managerial Accounting, is taken concurrently with Principles of Sustainable Management. This course provides a comprehensive introduction to financial and managerial accounting but more importantly, teaches tools for addressing the environmental, social, and ethical dimensions of accounting. The remaining two courses, taken in sequence over the second and third semester are Managerial Finance and Capital Markets. Managerial Finance, in addition to its coverage of the traditional tools of financial analysis and management, acquaints the student with socially responsible investment models and the relationship between human, natural and financial capital.
Capital Markets provides the student with an understanding and appreciation of the institutions, flow of money, functions, laws, and language of the Capital Markets through the lens of sustainability. It explores how the capital markets can be accessed and used to achieve sustainability goals, and how the capital markets can impact us as we pursue sustainability goals. The course introduces the new field of impact investing, which differs from socially responsible investing in that it is investing in companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate substantial and measurable social and environmental impact simultaneously with a substantial financial return. The course utilizes examples in sustainable agriculture and food systems to demonstrate how capital markets can both support and hinder sustainability.
The Certificate in Applied Sustainable Leadership requires two additional courses: Effective Management, Communication & Action (EMCA) and Leadership for Sustainable Management. EMCA is taken concurrently with Principles of Sustainable Management. It provides a strengths-based approach to fostering the essential individual leadership and communication capabilities needed for managers in business and public administration. These capacities are necessary for collaborating, influencing and acting as an effective change agent for sustainability in any type of business, organization or community. Students develop communication approaches, reflective practices, and the essentials of team effectiveness. They practice communication skills and strengthen their personal effectiveness through self–assessment, feedback, and practice in a reflective, supportive environment. They work in teams to develop their abilities to observe and respond to team challenges.
The focus of the Leadership for Sustainable Management course is on further developing the student’s capacity to be an authentic leader and change agent. The course builds on the strengths-based approach introduced in the EMCA course. Students continue to build capacity in dealing with conflict, virtual leadership and complex change management challenges in a reflective, supportive environment. They identify roadblocks through individual assessment, team project feedback, and targeted development planning. They explore the meaning of leadership as it has changed over time and the new roles required to facilitate organizational and social transformation toward sustainability. Collaborative leadership processes are explored as a necessary complement to individual leadership capacity in the transformation to managing organizations sustainably.
Upon completion of all required certificate courses, the student will receive a certificate of completion issued by Presidio Graduate School and their certification will appear on their official transcript.
Presidio courses are delivered in a hybrid (online and in person) format. Each course meets in person five times per semester for all-day Residencies, with online, collaborative work in between the Residencies. For more information see the learning environment page and the Academic Calendar.
For more information, please see the How to Apply page.
If you are potentially interested in applying to PGS’s MBA program, note that credit earned in taking the first semester certificate courses count toward MBA degree credit.