Impact is what happens when your skills and values are perfectly aligned.

Riley Barton
Riley Barton, MBA Cohort 9
Our MBA in Sustainable Business, also known as the “Metro program,” offers a weekly, in-person format. Most classes meet in Pioneer Square at the 220 & Change building, which also houses Social Venture Partners and Impact Hub Seattle, a co-working space for social entrepreneurs.

220 & Change

220 and Change | Pioneer Square
Seattle, WA
The MBA in Sustainable Business teaches traditional business fundamentals—economics, accounting, finance, marketing, operations and strategy—all through the lens of sustainability. Students learn conventional and non-conventional theory, while working in teams on real-world applied projects in virtually every class. As a capstone sequence, students undertake a two-quarter project in entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship. In the second year of the program, students have a number of elective options, including study abroad, a residential program on creativity and innovation, concentrations in finance, energy, green building or deeper engagement in entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship through the hybrid MBA program. Students typically complete the program in about two years (8 or 9 quarters, including summer). Students may be able to complete their MBA more quickly by working with our advisers to plan an accelerated program of available courses, or slow it down to accommodate the life circumstances of working adults. Courses are conducted chiefly in person, with distance learning technology used as an additional resource where helpful for course management and inclusion of guest speakers. Course schedules vary from weekly evening classes over a ten-week quarter, to more intensive seminar courses that combine evening and weekend class meetings, to hybrid-format elective courses. A two-year course on Leadership and Personal Development (LPD) rounds out the curriculum by helping students develop the leadership skills necessary to lead their organizations to a sustainable future. Upon joining Pinchot University, students become members of a global professional network. The Pinchot University community includes academic leaders, industry innovators, students and alumni who provide a continuing source of knowledge, experience and inspiration, working together to change business for good.

Recommended Sequence and Course Descriptions

Year 1, Fall Quarter

ECON 555M: Principles of Economics
History of economic systems. Basic micro- and macroeconomics. Market dynamics. The effect and management of externalities. Economic thinking and business decisions. (3 credits)
MGMT 558M: Management: Organizational Systems
This course examines systems embedded in organizations and those of which the organization is a part. Systems in the organizational environment influence the way people behave, the options available for action, the relationships that form, the learning that is possible and in many cases, the meaning that people apply to their work. Systems shape the flow of information, the rewards, the strategic development process, budgeting, hiring, power and other elements of organizations. (3 credits)
MGMT 558S: Managing for Sustainability
This course focuses on the organizational change issues associated with the broad-based movement of an organization in the direction of sustainability. It addresses the issues systemically, culturally, and practically. (1 credit) Prerequisite/corequisite: MGMT 558M
LPD 511: Leadership and Personal Development
Leadership and Personal Development meets for six quarters over two years. To cultivate learning community and leadership skills, the curriculum is de­signed to support personal awareness and growth while increasing the ca­pacity to work as transformational leaders collaboratively and as individuals. The course design con­tinues to evolve based on current leadership and personal development practices and research. Topics include identifying and shifting limiting mental models, creating frame­works of possibility, Polarity Management, Apprecia­tive Inquiry, navigating difficult conversations, adult developmental theory, story, personal business plan development and peer coaching. (1 credit)

Year 1, Winter Quarter

ACCT 553M: Financial and Managerial Accounting
Classical financial and managerial accounting. Preparing and using financial information in the decision making process. (3 credits)
MKTG 561M: Marketing and Sales
Marketing strategy frameworks and tactics. Marketing and competitive research. Business environmental scanning. Word-of-mouth strategies and Internet-based approaches. Introduction to selling and sales management. (3 credits)
ECON 555S: Economics of Sustainability
This course is essentially an introductory course in contemporary ecological economics, including social as well as environmental considerations. It begins with the notion that an economic system is embedded in a social system, which is embedded in a finite ecosystem – and addresses the multiple market failures of conventional capitalism along with a wide range of business and public policy alternatives. (1 credit) Prerequisite: ECON 555M
LPD 512: Leadership and Personal Development
Leadership and Personal Development meets for six quarters over two years. To cultivate learning community and leadership skills, the curriculum is de­signed to support personal awareness and growth while increasing the ca­pacity to work as transformational leaders collaboratively and as individuals. The course design con­tinues to evolve based on current leadership and personal development practices and research. Topics include identifying and shifting limiting mental models, creating frame­works of possibility, Polarity Management, Apprecia­tive Inquiry, navigating difficult conversations, adult developmental theory, story, personal business plan development and peer coaching. (1 credit) Prerequisite: LPD 511

Year 1, Spring Quarter

FIN 554M: Finance
Introduction to finance from an entrepreneurial perspective. Risk and return. Sources and costs of capital. Forecasting cash requirements. Cost-benefit analysis. Capital budgeting. (3 credits) Prerequisite: ACCT 553M
MGMT 552M: Systems Thinking in Action
Use of systems thinking to understand the ecological, economic, and social dynamics of business sustainability. Emphasizes causal loop diagrams, feedback loop stories/analysis and the basics of stock and flow models. (3 credits)
MKTG 561S: Marketing and Sustainability
This course focuses on current directions in sustainable marketing, in- cluding product development, integrated marketing communication strategies, including social media, recent psychological research on changing human behavior and issues related to cultural context. (1 credit) Prerequisite: MKTG 561M
LPD 513: Leadership and Personal Development
Leadership and Personal Development meets for six quarters over two years. To cultivate learning community and leadership skills, the curriculum is de­signed to support personal awareness and growth while increasing the ca­pacity to work as transformational leaders collaboratively and as individuals. The course design con­tinues to evolve based on current leadership and personal development practices and research. Topics include identifying and shifting limiting mental models, creating frame­works of possibility, Polarity Management, Apprecia­tive Inquiry, navigating difficult conversations, adult developmental theory, story, personal business plan development and peer coaching. (1 credit) Prerequisite: LPD 512

Year 1, Summer Quarter

ACCT 553S: Triple Bottom Line Accounting for Sustainability
This course focuses on the development of a triple bottom line (TBL) account­ing system for a firm. It explores the limitations of current accounting systems, emerging non-financial and integrated reporting regimes and organizational is­sues and opportunities around implementation. (1 credit) Prerequisite: ACCT 553M
MGMT 563M: Strategy and Implementation
Analytical and non-analytical approaches to strategy development. Evaluation of strategic alternatives. Implementation issues. The Balanced Scorecard. (3 credits)
MGMT 563S: Strategy and Sustainability
This course focuses on sustainability as a platform for creativity, innovation and competitive advantage for both new and established firms. It also includes a mini-course on design thinking and several sessions on integrating sustainability into existing organizations. (2 credits) Prerequisite/corequisite: MGMT 563M
LPD 514: Leadership and Personal Development
Leadership and Personal Development meets for six quarters over two years. To cultivate learning community and leadership skills, the curriculum is de­signed to support personal awareness and growth while increasing the ca­pacity to work as transformational leaders collaboratively and as individuals. The course design con­tinues to evolve based on current leadership and personal development practices and research. Topics include identifying and shifting limiting mental models, creating frame­works of possibility, Polarity Management, Apprecia­tive Inquiry, navigating difficult conversations, adult developmental theory, story, personal business plan development and peer coaching. (1 credit) Prerequisite: LPD 513

Year 2, Fall Quarter

In addition to the courses below, students will take one elective course to fulfill a total of 8 credits for the quarter.
» See Concentrations & Electives descriptions
MGMT 560M: Business Modeling and Decision Analysis
An introduction to quantitative analysis and decision-making methods and tools, including explorations of elementary statistics, optimization theory (linear programming) and decision theory (under conditions of uncertainty or risk). (3 credits) Prerequisites: ACCT 553M and FIN 554M
FIN 554S: Finance for Sustainability
This course examines topics related to the need for reliable sources of funding for sustainability ventures and activities. It begins with a consideration of both conventional and non-conventional methods of calculating ROI on sustainabili­ty-related investments and looks at a variety of approaches to structuring deals that support positive social and environmental results. (1 credit) Prerequisite: FIN 554M
LPD 515: Leadership and Personal Development
Leadership and Personal Development meets for six quarters over two years. To cultivate learning community and leadership skills, the curriculum is de­signed to support personal awareness and growth while increasing the ca­pacity to work as transformational leaders collaboratively and as individuals. The course design con­tinues to evolve based on current leadership and personal development practices and research. Topics include identifying and shifting limiting mental models, creating frame­works of possibility, Polarity Management, Apprecia­tive Inquiry, navigating difficult conversations, adult developmental theory, story, personal business plan development and peer coaching. (1 credit) Prerequisite: LPD 514

Year 2, Winter Quarter

In addition to the courses below, students will take one elective course to fulfill a total of 8 credits for the quarter.
» See Concentrations & Electives descriptions
MGMT 564M: Operations Management
Operations and supply chain management. Operation management thinking and design. Quality and worker participation. Culture of Continuous Improvement. Local and regional economies. Innovation. (3 credits) Prerequisites: ACCT 553M, FIN 554M
MGMT 560S: Business Modeling and Decision Analysis for Sustainability
This course focuses on the application of quantitative and analytical techniques to the challenges of doing business sustainably. It includes an exploration of which metrics to use, how to collect the data to address them, how to analyze the data to support business decisions, and how to develop powerful visuals that help to build the business case. (1 credit) Prerequisite: MGMT 560M
LPD 516: Leadership and Personal Development
Leadership and Personal Development meets for six quarters over two years. To cultivate learning community and leadership skills, the curriculum is de­signed to support personal awareness and growth while increasing the ca­pacity to work as transformational leaders collaboratively and as individuals. The course design con­tinues to evolve based on current leadership and personal development practices and research. Topics include identifying and shifting limiting mental models, creating frame­works of possibility, Polarity Management, Apprecia­tive Inquiry, navigating difficult conversations, adult developmental theory, story, personal business plan development and peer coaching. (1 credit) Prerequisite: LPD 515

Year 2, Spring Quarter

In addition to the courses below, students will take one elective course to fulfill a total of 7 credits for the quarter.
» See Concentrations & Electives descriptions
MGT 569: Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship I
Introduction to entrepreneuring and intrapreneuring. The character, personality and role of the entrepreneur. Exploration of entrepreneur- ial opportunities in the shift to sustainability. Generating and screening ideas and business models. Business plan development. Lessons applied to real or case study business ventures. (3 credits)
MGMT 564S: Sustainable Operations
This course focuses on green supply chain management and other aspects of sustainable operations, including labor practices, energy management and end-of-life disposal issues. Using the product life cycle as its overarching frame – and design as its fundamental point of leverage – this course explores the many ways in which sustainability can be incorporated into contemporary lean production systems. (1 credit) Prerequisite: MGMT 564M

Year 2, Summer Quarter

In addition to the courses below, students will take one elective course to fulfill a total of 6 credits for the quarter.
» See Concentrations & Electives descriptions
MGT 570: Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship II
Key startup and growth issues, focused on the first 3-5 years of a venture. Creating an organizational climate conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation. Creating a sound operational infrastructure. Continued business plan development. Selection of market entry point. Presentation of students’ plans to investors with feedback. (3 credits) Prerequisite: MGT 569

Concentrations & Electives

Students complete 12 credits of elective courses as part of the MBA in Sustainable Business program.
  • They may designate a Finance Concentration, which will be noted on their degree, by taking all three of the Finance Concentration electives below.
  • They may receive a Certificate in Sustainable Energy Solutions by completing all four of the Sustainable Energy Solutions courses below, or the first three Sustainable Energy Solutions courses (SESC 561-563) and an approved energy-focused project as part of the required MGT 569-570 Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship courses.
  • They may receive a Certificate in Cooperative Management by completing all four of the Cooperative Management courses below, or the first three Cooperative Management courses (MGTC 561C-563C) and an approved cooperative-focused project as part of the required MGT 569-570 Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship courses.
  • They may elect to participate in a practicum track, by taking all three of the Action Learning Practicum courses below.
  • Alternatively, students may choose any combination of the below electives to satisfy the base degree credit requirements.
Please note that electives listed below may not all be offered in all years, and additional electives may be offered and defined closer to the year in which they are offered.

Finance Concentration

FIN 561: Capital Markets and the Financial System
The first course in the Finance Concentration, this course focuses on the operation of global capital markets, their re­lationship to the global economy, their central role in the recent/cur­rent economic crisis, and implications for public policy and ethics. The course looks at the history of capital markets, recent developments in financial engineering, and alternative capital regimes that have been proposed to address market failures and abuses. (3 credits)
FIN 562: Capital Structure of the Firm
The second course in the Finance Concentration, this course explores topics relevant to both entrepreneurial and corpo­rate finance, including: the cost, sources and appropriate uses of debt, equity and internal capital; specialized financial vehicles, business valu­ation; venture capital agreements and initial public offerings (IPOs); and the accountability of boards. There is a special emphasis on appropriate sources of funds for social enterprises and other “for-benefit” opportuni­ties. (3 credits)
FIN 563: Financial Analysis
The third and final course in the Finance Concentration, this course offers a strong introduction to both conventional financial statement analysis and socially responsible investment (SRI) analysis. The financial focus is on using financial accounting information to evalu­ate the economic strengths and weaknesses of a firm, while the SRI focus is on using information from multiple sources to evaluate the firm’s per­formance on various ESG (environmental, social, governance) metrics. (3 credits)

Certificate in Sustainable Energy Solutions

SESC 561: Sustainable Energy Solutions: Understanding the Context for Change
The first of four courses in the Sustainable Energy Solutions Certificate presents the context within which Alternative and Renewable Energy options have emerged and grown as well as the current status of the industry in the US and the world. It explores the systemic and historical forces that have given birth to this field and examines the present state of the industry, including the philosophical underpinnings, the politics, and trends–technological, political and economic. Using both experiential ex­ercises and more traditional assignments, students will be immersed in key concepts, language, science, all foundational for charting a career in Sus­tainable Energy Solutions. (3 credits)
SESC 562: Sustainable Energy Solutions: Identifying Opportunities
The second of four courses in the Sustainable Energy Solutions Certificate presents a survey of all existing conventional and alternative technologies, their current state of development, rate of success and fail­ure, financing possibilities and potential future. It also presents a possible platform for launching a project during quarter 3, Creating New Ventures. (3 credits) Prerequisite: SESC 561
SESC 563: Sustainable Energy Solutions: Creating New Ventures
The third of four courses in the Sustainable Energy Solutions Certificate provides the framework within which students take a concept or idea for a new venture though business modeling, prototyping, customer validation, and finally, to making the “pitch.” Students will draw from the various technologies and associated issues and opportunities surveyed in quarter 2. (3 credits) Prerequisites: SESC 561, SESC 562
SESC 564: Sustainable Energy Solutions: Action Learning Practicum
The fourth and final course in the Sustainable Energy Solutions Certificate is designed to enable students to apply the concepts and tools learned during quarters one, two and three in an integrated real world project. This project may be a continuation of the project outlined in the third quarter, or it may be a more implementation-oriented project for a client outside the school. In this practicum, students will:
  • Complete a refined iteration of the new venture they worked on during SESC 563, ALP 551-553, or identify another real or potential energy-related project worthy of time and research
  • Complete and to the extent possible execute a formal implementation plan for the project
  • Design and, if possible, execute a stakeholder engagement plan for the project
  • Make the business case for the project to the relevant audience(s)
  • Present the project to the client, the class and a representative group of experts
(3 credits) Prerequisites: SESC 561, SESC 562, SESC 563

Certificate in Cooperative Management

MGTC 561C: Introduction to the Cooperative Sector
This course provides an introduction to the history and principles of the international cooperative movement, as well an overview of the industry sectors and cooperative types most common in the US. Topics include: worker-owned cooperatives; producer (agricultural) cooperatives; purchasing cooperatives; consumer cooperatives; credit unions; housing cooperatives; and utilities. (3 credits)
MGTC 562C: Governance and Finance in the Cooperative Sector
This course offers a thorough exploration of the legal, governance, and finance issues unique to the cooperative sector. Students will examine issues related to membership, member investment, dividends, profit sharing, personal exit strategies, multiple classes of stock, outside investors, and financing strategies. (3 credits) Prerequisite: MGTC 561C or faculty permission
MGTC 563C: Managing the Cooperative Enterprise
This course looks at the general topic of managing in a democratic workplace, with a particular focus on the special challenges of employee engagement and empowerment in the cooperative sector. Topics covered include leadership, coaching, meeting facilitation, collaborative decision-making and conflict management. (3 credits) Prerequisites: MGTC 561C and MGTC 562C or faculty permission
MGTC 564C: Cooperative Practicum
This course is the capstone project for the Certificate in Cooperative Management. Students who are taking the certificate outside the MBA program must complete this course in order to obtain a certificate. Students who are completing the certificate as part of their MBA program may fulfill the practicum requirement through their year-long Action Learning Project (ALP). (3 credits) Prerequisites: MGTC 561C, MGTC 562C and MGTC 563C or faculty permission NOTE: Students may take either MGTC 564C or MGTC 565C to fulfill the final 3 credits of the Certificate in Cooperative Management.
MGTC 565C: International Cooperative Field Study
This international study tour is an alternative to the capstone practicum for the Certificate in Cooperative Management. It is open to all students in the Certificate program, as well as to other members of the Pinchot community and the general public. The destination(s) will vary from one year to the next, but will most likely include Mondragon, Spain, and/or Emilia Romagna, Italy. (3 credits) NOTE: Students may take either MGTC 564C or MGTC 565C to fulfill the final 3 credits of the Certificate in Cooperative Management.

Action Learning Practicum

ALP 551: Action Learning Practicum (ALP) I
Students are required to participate in an applied learning track for three quarters during the second year of their program. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the option to select one of two areas of focus, which they will follow throughout the three quarter practicum:
  • Organizational Leadership – engagement in a nine-month project in a large organization supported by 3-4 executive sponsors.
  • Social Entrepreneurship – engagement in the assessment, design, pitch and launch of a start-up
In the first quarter of the practicum, students will:
  • Identify a problem worthy of time and research
  • Research the issue or opportunity, identify the target population and consider possible solutions or alternatives with key stakeholders
  • Determine a practicum project for the remainder of the year
(3 credits)
ALP 552: Action Learning Practicum (ALP) II
In the second quarter of the practicum, students will:
  • Engage in a specific issue with stakeholders
  • Apply skills and tools learned in the first quarter to real world issues
  • Gather data, design and/or launch the project plan, financial overview, metrics for success and communication approach
(3 credits) Prerequisite: ALP 551
ALP 553: Action Learning Practicum (ALP) III
In the third quarter of the practicum, students will:
  • Continue to engage in a specific issue with stakeholders
  • Continue to apply skills and tools learned earlier in the year to real world issues
  • Finalize plans for launch and/or implementation and complete triple bottom line evaluation
(3 credits) Prerequisites: ALP 551 and ALP 552

Other Electives

MGT 566: Dal LaMagna Series on Responsible Capitalism: International Study Tour
The annual international study tour location is selected by eligible students. It focuses on topics in sustainability and social justice. This international study tour includes pre- and post-tour activities including research, application and publishing. (3 credits)
ELC 568: Creativity & Innovation
This unique course highlights principles and practices of design and creativity. Students engage in individual and team creativity activities, generating and screening ideas for adaptive changes in complex systems. (3 credits)
Druscilla Van Henckl
Because of Pinchot, I live in my right livelihood."

Druscilla Van Hengel
MBA Cohort 5
Principal, NelsonNygaard

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