Gina Wu, Editor of Aspen Institute's The Sustainable MBA: The 2010-2011 Guide to Business Schools That Are Making a Difference, writes about how business schools are reacting to public criticism as a reaction to the economic downturn.

NEW YORK- One year after the global financial crisis, it is not just the integrity of mortgage companies and banks that have been publicly questioned, but the value of the MBA and business education itself. Several CEOs and senior managers, whom many would argue led the world into the economic downturn, held MBA degrees from some of the most prestigious business programs in the world. Could the education they received at these universities been more focused on ethical values?

Is it realistic to expect business leaders to be concerned with areas traditionally outside their scope? Public opinion regarding the culpability of business schools remains mixed. Some believe that business values and ethical values should remain under a separate jurisprudence, as long as the action conducted is legal. Others believe that MBA programs must incorporate not just ethical values but actually provide a broader, societal focus for every student.

 Business education has traditionally been focused on the narrow goal of maximizing shareholder value, said Rich Leimsider, Director of the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education. Faculty have considered teaching social responsibility beyond their scope. Times are changing.

Based on the research found within The Sustainable MBA, it seems clear that within business schools themselves, many programs have adopted the latter viewpoint and are striving to improve the degree's reputation. The Sustainable MBA tells us that society and the environment are becoming significant issues on campus, not just for students, but in the Dean's office and in many classrooms, said Mr. Leimsider. The diversity of classes and resources written about in the school profiles shows that MBA programs are increasingly focused on educating students that mainstream, for-profit business can be a force for positive social and environmental change.

For prospective students with an interest in learning more about which MBA programs are leaders in incorporating business and society issues, The Sustainable MBA: The 2010-2011 Guide to Business Schools that are Making a Difference provides a detailed reference to over 150 MBA programs. The Sustainable MBA contains two page school profiles that have been carefully vetted by the experts at the Aspen Institute and represents the most relevant sampling of each school's information.

The Aspen Institute Center for Business Education (Aspen CBE) equips business leaders for the 21st century with the vision and knowledge to integrate corporate profitability and social value. We help business educators incorporate issues of social and environmental stewardship into teaching and research by offering targeted resources, networks, and a platform to share cutting edge practice among peers. As part of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, Aspen CBE maintains close ties with over 150 MBA programs in 28 countries. Our websites draw over 100,000 visits monthly and our events and networks attract over 1,000 participants each year.

Buy the Aspen Institute's The Sustainable MBA: The 2010-2011 Guide to Business Schools That Are Making a Difference.