Sustainability Management

Willamette students interested in Sustainability Management benefit from the program's overall philosophy that sustainability is an important part of the strategy of all organizations, the integrated curriculum, the activities of the Willamette University Center for Sustainable Communities, and from the leadership and networking opportunities available through our MBA student chapter of Net Impact.

The school's approach to sustainability, ethics and social responsibility resulted in our ranking as #23 in the world by the Aspen Institute’s “Beyond Grey Pinstripes” survey, which recognizes MBA programs committed to ethics, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

The goal of Sustainability Management is to create three types of change agents (leaders) who have the knowledge and skills to create processes that maximize the likelihood that both the organization and the wider system on which it depends thrive in the present and the future.

1) Internal Network and Community Builders: people with strong soft skills who can utilize these skills to help an organization or a system of organizations move towards a more sustainable architecture.

2) Project Builders: people who have a strong understanding of the technical requirements necessary for a project who can initiate and monitor the success of individual sustainability initiatives.

3) Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs: leaders who want to change their own organization to become more sustainable or start a new organization based on sustainability principles.

Students interested in Sustainability Management are encouraged to combine Sustainability with an additional MBA area of interest to ensure depth of knowledge in both sustainability and the specific function through which the student would like to lead as a change agent.

The structure of the sustainability area of interest includes five courses that are highly recommended for all students interested in sustainability. Beyond those courses, students are advised to select two or more additional elective courses based on the type of “change agent” they would like to become. Recommended courses are listed in the right column.


Elective courses in each area of interest are offered every year. It is possible that a specific course may not be offered in a given year and that previous courses will be replaced by new courses. Current and recent course schedules are available at

Recommended Elective Courses

Students may select courses from the list and from other areas of interest to build a customized individual program that meets their specific goals.

  • GSM 6203 - Seminar in Cost Benefit Analysis
  • GSM 6222 - Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World
  • GSM 6296 - Sustainability Management
  • LAW 686   -   Global Sustainability (Willamette University College of Law course)

Plus Two Courses for Your Change Agent Type:

Internal Network and Community Builders

  • GSM 6215 - Compensation and Rewards
  • GSM 6231 - Strategic Marketing for Not-for-Profit Organizations
  • GSM 6269 - Value Chain Management
  • GSM 6286 - Negotiation

Project Builders

  • GSM 6210 - Managerial Accounting
  • GSM 6231 - Strategic Marketing for Not-for-Profit Organizations
  • GSM 6245 - Seminar in Management Control
  • GSM 6249 - Project Management
  • GSM 6267 - Design Thinking
  • GSM 6269 - Value Chain Management

Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs

  • GSM 6210 - Management Accounting
  • GSM 6265 - Not for Profit Management
  • GSM 6268 - Leadership