Where Business and Sustainability Meet

As climate change, social and environmental injustice, and environmental degradation threaten the foundations of economies around the world, sustainability literacy is fast becoming a must-have skill from the C-suite to the factory floor.

The sustainable global enterprise immersion, part of the two-year MBA program at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, offers a unique opportunity to gain an understanding of sustainability in the context of business—and how it can be a driver of growth and innovation. 

If you’re looking for an MBA with a sustainability focus that results in real social impact, this immersion is ideal for you.


SGE Overview: About the Sustainable Global Enterprise Immersion

The SGE immersion is a semester-long experience for master’s students built around addressing the social and environmental issues impacting all sectors, industries, and business functions today. Through a mix of coursework and practical learning experiences, you’ll develop valuable management and leadership skills. 

You’ll be guided by industry-leading experts and learn alongside MBA classmates, as well as students from graduate programs across Cornell. Plus, you will have access to a world-class research hub, the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise.

What You Will Learn: Sustainable Global Enterprise Curriculum

Immerse yourself in the world of sustainable global enterprise through a client project and two innovative courses on sustainability practice and strategy. These experiences encompass readings, case studies, simulations, guest speakers, and more. The immersion culminates with a project that allows you to integrate everything you’ve learned.

An empty plastic water bottle on a beach with the sun setting in the background.

Real-World Client Project

During your practicum, you and a team of classmates and graduate students from other programs will help an organization address a business and sustainability issue.

Students sitting in a tiered classroom.

Interactive Experiences

The Sustainable Global Enterprise in Practice class is full of interactive experiences that help you identify and define complex business issues—and how to develop innovative solutions.

Two people writing on Post-it notes on a clear board.

Sustainability Coursework

In the Strategies for Sustainability course, you’ll explore how the private sector can address social and environmental problems as part of an overall business strategy.

Key Skills Developed: Expand Your Sustainability Knowledge

Sustainability literacy is a critical skill for business leaders today; the SGE immersion is built around that concept. Through individual work and collaboration with your peers, you will develop a deep, practical understanding of how to strategically respond to the social and environmental issues impacting business competitiveness in the 21st century. In addition to growing as a strategic, ethical leader, you will build and broaden skills such as:

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

From case studies to client projects, you’ll put your strategic management skills to the test as you think critically and collaborate with others to solve real-world business problems.

Data Synthesis and Presentation

In addressing issues from the social to the environmental, MBA students in this immersion will learn not only how to collect and analyze data, but also how to effectively present findings.

Creativity and Storytelling

Tackling complex societal issues takes innovation. During the immersion, you’ll learn to think creatively and hone your ability to create a narrative around your organization or business strategy.

Career Paths: Working in Sustainable Global Enterprise

With an MBA focused on sustainable global enterprise, you can launch a rewarding, successful career in industries of all kinds. This could mean helping a company or organization reach its sustainability goals, embarking on a social entrepreneurship journey, or working directly in the environmental sector. 

In addition to general management and business development roles, common career paths for SGE immersion students include:

Strategy Consulting

Marketing & Innovation

Project Finance

Project Management

Career Outcomes: After the SGE Immersion

With specialized knowledge and practical experience, our sustainable global enterprise immersion students land internships and full-time positions with prominent companies such as:

Accenture logo.
Amazon logo.
Apple logo.
Bain & Company logo.
Boston Consulting Group logo.
Deloitte logo.
Distributed Sun logo
Ecolab logo.
ey Parthenon logo.
Gridstor logo
invenergy logo.
Jefferies logo.
J. P. Morgan logo.
Kraft Heinz logo
McKinsey & Company logo.
Nike logo.
pwc logo
SC Johnson logo.
Schneider Electric logo.

Student Reflections: The SGE Immersion Experience

If you’ve been exploring MBA programs and have professional aspirations involving sustainability, social impact, and/or economic development, you might be interested in learning what these SGE immersion participants have to say about their experience at the Johnson School.

Headshot of Mark Betancourt.

“I was drawn to the sustainable global enterprise immersion because of the specific coursework and mentorship from the faculty. I am very passionate about fighting the forces of climate change through the renewable energy sector. This immersion provided me with a strong array of tools that I will undoubtedly use to more effectively develop and finance renewable energy systems.” —Mark Betancourt MBA ’24

Headshot of Kyra Stiggelbout.

“My favorite thing about both the immersion and the program has been the extra support I have received in charting a nontraditional MBA path. It’s no secret a career in fashion sustainability isn’t the typical MBA way; however, the SGE faculty and professors have taken notice and gone out of their way to send job openings, alumni, etc., that they think I would be interested in learning more about. These connections have been invaluable during my time at Johnson.” —Kyra Stiggelbout MBA ’24

Headshot of Kevin Grathwohl.

“The ability to interact with a client is such a unique challenge that until you roll up your sleeves, a student will never fully appreciate the time and effort it takes … it teaches you how to think differently and approach problems and people outside the typical MBA mindset.”  —Kevin Grathwohl MBA ’24

Find Your Focus: MBA Specialization Areas

During your second year in the MBA program, you can continue to learn about the intersection of business and social and environmental issues by choosing a related area of focus, such as:

  • Sustainable Global Enterprise
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Emerging Markets
  • Leadership & Ethics


Immersion Faculty: At the Forefront of Business and Sustainability

As an MBA student in the SGE immersion, you’ll learn from expert faculty members whose academic and professional interests are rooted in the intersection of business and sustainability. Closely affiliated with the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, program faculty are deeply involved with applied research and innovative partner projects.

Headshot of Mark Milstein

Mark Milstein

Milstein is the academic director at the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise. He specializes in framing the world’s social and environmental challenges as unmet market needs that can be addressed effectively through the private sector through innovation and entrepreneurship. Milstein teaches a variety of experiential and engaged learning courses, including the Business of Sustainability.

Headshot of Glen Dowell.

Glen Dowell

Dowell researches corporate sustainability with a focus on firms’ environmental performance. His recent work explores how local demographics affect pollution levels and how financial return and disruption can influence commercial adoption of energy savings initiatives. Dowell teaches a variety of courses at the Johnson School, including Strategies for Sustainability.

Interested in Sustainability? MBA Student Organizations

Several MBA student organizations focus on sustainability in business.

Sustainable Global Enterprise (SGE) Club

The SGE club supports students pursuing sustainability through resources, educational programs, networking events, and service projects. The SGE Club is open to students in any program looking to connect to the sustainability community.

Cornell Energy Club

Open to graduate students across the university, the club supports students pursuing careers in energy. It offers networking and recruiting events and field trips, and its members participate in case competitions across the United States.

Other Sustainability MBA Opportunities: The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise

For more than 20 years, the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Johnson School has been at the forefront of research, teaching, and industry engagement related to how businesses can address the biggest challenges of our time—climate change, poverty, and ecosystem degradation, to name a few. 

The SGE immersion is the flagship program of the center. As an MBA with a sustainability focus, you’ll have access to events, experiential learning, and other opportunities affiliated with the center.


Next Steps: Applying to the Johnson School

If you’ve been searching for a sustainability MBA program, we encourage you to apply to the two-year program at the Johnson School, where you’ll be able to immerse yourself in coursework related to sustainable global enterprise.