University of Southern California

Sustainability, Society, and Business Concentration for MBA Students

Business is increasingly involved in social and environmental issues. On the one hand, governments, consumers, and civil-society organizations are exerting increasing pressure on the business sector to help address the world's pressing social and environmental sustainability challenges, and on the other, a growing number of for-profit, not-for-profit, and hybrid enterprises are seeking to respond proactively to these challenges.

The Sustainability, Society, and Business Concentration prepares MBA students to help shape solutions to social and environmental sustainability challenges, working from sustainability and CSR positions within business, from leadership roles in environmental organizations and social enterprises, and from entrepreneurial ventures in these sectors.

Description of the academic content and requirements for concentration:
This concentration has two tracks – Environmental and Social. They are best seen as complementary, but students can complete either track individually, or both tracks combined. The concentration requires at least 12 units.

Required for the Concentration (at least one of the following):
For the Environmental track: MOR-566: Environmental Sustainability and Competitive Advantage
For the Social track: BAEP-591: Social Entrepreneurship

Required for the Concentration (at least 6 units from the following):
BAEP-599: Investing in Impact Ventures (3)
FBE-557: Business Law and Ethics (3)
GSBA-554: Digital Strategies for Sustainability in Global Markets (3)
IOM-505: Sustainable Supply Chains (1.5)
IOM-506: Sourcing and Supplier Management (1.5)

Electives (at least 3 units from the following):
ARCH 519: Sustainability in the Environment: Infrastructures, Urban Landscapes, and Buildings (3)
CMGT-577: Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility (4)
ENE-502: Environmental and Regulatory Compliance (3)
ENST-530: Environmental Risk Analysis (4) or
PPD-587: Risk Analysis (4)
ISE-576: Industrial Ecology: Technology-Environment Interaction (3)
LAW-655: Environmental Law (units vary by semester)
PPD-568: Environmental Governance and Sustainability (2)
PPD-688: Business and Public Policy (4)
PPD-689: The Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy (4)
PPDE-632: Sustainable Cities (4)
PPDE-660: Environmental Policy Design and Analysis (4)
xxx-592: Field Research (.5-4) subject to approval by one of the Concentration advisors (application required)
xxx-593: Independent Research (.5-4) subject to approval by one of the Concentration advisors (application required)

Concentration Advisors:
Prof. Paul Adler, USC Marshall School of Business
Prof. Adlai Wertman, USC Marshall School of Business


Note: Many non-business classes require a D clearance to register. Check the Schedule of Classes www.usc.edu/soc for the appropriate phone number or email address and request your D clearance early.

Law: MBA students are welcome to register for law classes after the JD and LLM students register. If there is space available in a course, graduate students from other USC departments wishing to enroll need to obtain the permission of the instructor via a signature on one of the law school's academic petition forms. In lieu of a signature we have accepted an e-mail from the instructor approving the student's enrollment.


Nine-unit Limit:
Students earning the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree are expected to complete their graduate electives within the Marshall School of Business by taking courses that begin with prefixes ACCT, BAEP, BUCO, FBE, GSBA, IOM, MKT, and MOR. Unless the student is completing a dual degree program, up to nine units of graduate-level course work may be completed at USC outside the Marshall School of Business for elective credit providing the courses chosen are listed in the Marshall ECG. A student may take courses published in the ECG without petitioning, but the total number of ECG-listed non-business units completed without prior permission may not exceed nine (9) units. A student who wishes to have either (a) more than 9 non-Marshall units of (b) a non-Marshall course that is not listed in the ECG applied to the MBA must request permission and receive approval to do so prior to taking the course. A request for an exception must be submitted via petition (Marshall General Petition Form) to the student's MBA program office. Only courses beginning with the Marshall prefixes may be applied to the MBA portion of a dual degree program.