As sustainable development, conserving the global ecosystem and the green movement become part of everyday business jargon, B-schools around the world are also alerted to the necessity of inculcating these issues at the very heart of all their activities including teaching, research and organization. Several schools have launched their own green initiatives inside and out of the curriculum.

As a step towards embracing the broad sustainability imperative, the Rotterdam School of Management of Erasmus University in Netherlands has introduced a unique specialization focusing on water management as part of its Executive MBA program, in association with Wetsus, the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology.

The program will offer insights into state-of-the-art technological and managerial aspects of operational excellence in the industry. It will reflect and further expand on intensely debated issues related to water quality and availability, even as it teaches fundamental business and management principles.

Speaking to the corporate magazine of the school, RSM Outlook, senior executive officers from Wetsus point out the rationale behind the program: Excellent leadership and management skills are required to face the world's water challenges...Only well-trained talent can implement the changes and innovations needed. This unique program fulfils this need.

The attention to challenges in water availability and management is not misplaced. According to a report from the World Health Organization, almost one fifth of the world's population (about 1.2 billion people) lives in areas where water is physically scarce. One quarter of the global population also lives in developing countries that face water shortages due to a lack of infrastructure to fetch water from rivers and aquifers.

Another recent research led by the City College of New York and the University of Wisconsin found that human water security issues and threats to biodiversity could no longer be viewed independently or exclusively, and there is an immediate need for prioritizing policy and management responses to the global water crisis.

The Rotterdam School, located in a country that can boast of five centuries of water management experience, is indeed ideally suited to address such requirements through its program offering. The program will also involve two week-long international modules in each year of the programme - in locations that are known to have major water challenges.

In addition to RSM and Wetsus, eight founding industry partners are involved in RSM's program: Aquatech, European Water Partnership, Evides, Grontmij, Norit, Paques, Philips, and Vitens. They have also agreed to provide candidates for the programme, and there has been a positive response from a diverse range of stakeholders so far.

The program, however, is not restricted to participants from the water sector alone. There is no special requirement either except an additional application essay (apart from the ones regular E-MBA candidates have to submit) describing in some way why the applicant wishes to take up this specialization.

The inaugural class of this E-MBA will commence in January 2011.