Lead the New Economy with an MBA in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot

Jodie Emmet
Jodie Emmett de Maciel, MBA Cohort 7
The MBA in Sustainable Systems, also known as the “Hybrid program,” offers both a unique curriculum and a unique low residency format, combining monthly weekend “intensives” with distance learning. Students and faculty meet nine times each year for four-day intensives (mid-day Thursday through mid-day Sunday) at IslandWood, a 250-acre LEED Gold environmental education center on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Between monthly intensives, students attend class online and engage with faculty, guest speakers and each other through multiple distance learning technologies. This design allows students from across the United States to participate in the Hybrid MBA program while continuing to live and work in their home communities.

IslandWood

IslandWood

Online

Online
  The MBA in Sustainable Systems features a comprehensive, four-day orientation in the Seattle area, followed by an integrated core curriculum in the first year, with options for electives and specialization in the second year. The first year begins with COR 510: Capitalism in Context, providing a systemic and historical context for our work together. Next, we look at the traditional business disciplines of strategy, marketing and operations in COR 520: Values and Value Creation. At the end of the first year, we look at COR 530: Means and Measures for financing a business, accounting for its progress and measuring success against a triple bottom line. The second year of the program is built around a year-long action learning practicum and a set of elective options. Students choose a project in entrepreneurship—resulting in the creation of a viable business plan—or organizational leadership—resulting in the delivery of a resume-building project in organizational engagement. Electives include a student-identified study tour, a residential program on Cortes Island in creativity and innovation and elective courses in finance, sustainable energy, green building or sustainable food and agriculture. Throughout the two years of the program, learners engage in a series of Leadership and Personal Development (LPD) courses that allow for personal reflection, curriculum integration and the development of the leadership skills to lead their organizations to a sustainable future. Upon joining Pinchot University, students become a member of a global professional network. The Pinchot community includes academic leaders, industry innovators, students and alumni who provide a continuing source of knowledge, career referrals and mentoring.

Recommended Sequence and Course Descriptions

Year 1, Fall Quarter

COR 510: Capitalism in Context: Economics for People and Planet
This course sets the context for the student’s entire learning jour­ney at Pinchot. It examines the present State of the World—in ecological, economic, political, social and technological terms—and explores the sys­temic and historical forces that have shaped that world. Using experi­ential exercises and more traditional assignments, the course explores the relationship between business, public policy, social justice and environmen­tal health. (9 credits) Prerequisite: Orientation
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

COR 520: Values and Value Creation: Business Models for the 21st Century
Working in teams, students develop a business concept to address one or more of the significant global challenges identified during the first quarter. Students learn concepts and skills from the domains of strategy, marketing, operations and accounting and apply them to the creation of a hypothetical enterprise that creates value in the marketplace while expressing in action the deepest values of the founding team. (9 credits) Prerequisite: COR 510
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

COR 530: Means and Measures: Accounting for Triple Bottom Line Success
Students build upon financial concepts introduced during the first two quar­ters, learning to apply both conventional and triple bottom line accounting tools and business modeling to motivate, measure, analyze, align and report performance. The class also explores options for structuring and financing new and existing ven­tures. (9 credits) Prerequisites: COR 510, COR 520
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

Learners may take optional Summer elective courses that can count towards their credit requirements for the second year of the program. » See Concentrations & Electives descriptions

Year 2, Fall Quarter

In addition to the courses below, learners will take elective courses to fulfill a total of 10 credits for the quarter. » See Concentrations & Electives descriptions
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) Prerequisites: COR 510, COR 520, COR 530 -or- one year of MBA in Sustainable Business core classes or equivalent
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, Winter Quarter

In addition to the courses below, learners will take one elective course to fulfill a total of 10 credits for the quarter. » See Concentrations & Electives descriptions
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
MGT 578: Management I: Engaging Complex Organizational Systems
This is the introductory management course taken by all MBA in Sustain­able Systems students. Topics include project management skills; working effectively in virtual and global teams; communication and influence skills; product, talent and stakeholder gap analysis; approaches for designing vi­able project plans, deliverables and metrics; sponsorship and partnership identification and retention. (3 credits) Prerequisite: COR 530 or faculty permission
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, Spring Quarter

In addition to the courses below, learners will take one elective course to fulfill a total of 10 credits for the quarter. » See Concentrations & Electives descriptions
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) Prerequisite: ALP 552
MGT 579: Management II: Management in a Changing World
This is the second course in the Management series. The management challenges for every sector (business start-up, large organization change and community) re­quire a common set of skills and competencies. This course includes community, en­trepreneurial and organizational dynamics, including successful engagement within systems, complexity, power and politics; system and functional structures; adaptive leadership and generative management skills; stakeholder assess­ment and communication skills related to project management and staff re­lations; motivational and relationship theories; diversity perspectives; fiscal accountability; and talent management, including recruitment, training and retention of employees, teams and clients. (3 credits) Prerequisite: MGT 578
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

Concentrations & Electives

Learners complete 12 credits of elective courses as part of the MBA in Sustainable Systems 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 energy courses and an approved energy-focused project as part of the required ALP 551-553 Action Learning Practicum.
  • 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 and an approved cooperative-focused project as part of the required ALP 551-553 Action Learning Practicum.
  • Alternatively, learners 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) Prerequisite: COR 530 (hybrid) -or- FIN 554M (Metro) -or- faculty permission
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) Prerequisite: COR 530 (hybrid) -or- FIN 554M (Metro) -or- faculty permission
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) Prerequisite: COR 530 (hybrid) -or- FIN 554M (Metro) -or- faculty permission

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 or faculty permission
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 or faculty permission
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 or faculty permission

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 can opt to 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 can opt to take either MGTC 564C or MGTC 565C to fulfill the final 3 credits of the Certificate in Cooperative Management.

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)
Libby McKee Johnson
At Pinchot, instead of learning how it was done in the past, I learned to create how it will be done in the future."

Libby Johnson McKee
MBA 2010
Director, Seller Support, Global Training/Leadership Development and North American Operations at Amazon.com

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