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MBA students from 12 business schools on four continents are at UBC Sauder this week to learn from Associate Professor James Tansey about the green economy and its implications for global business.

They’re taking advantage of the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) partnership of 28 top business schools from across the globe that UBC Sauder joined in 2014. Three times a year, GNAM schools host network weeks – immersive courses that dive into a topic in which the school has strong expertise.

Two of UBC Sauder’s own MBA students from the Robert H. Lee Graduate School are taking the course, while 25 other UBC Sauder students are currently taking network week courses in Japan, South Africa, Spain, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and the United States. UBC Sauder students in the full-time and part-time MBA programs and the International MBA program in Shanghai are eligible to take part.

Prof. Tansey’s course is called “Clean Energy and Green Infrastructure – Innovation at the Nexus of Politics and Society.” He says it’s essential for all MBA students to understand the role climate policies play in the world of business, and how the next generation of leaders can be at the forefront of innovation.

Why is it critical for future global leaders to understand clean energy and green infrastructure?

James Tansey

Every major developed country in the world now has some level of commitment to climate change policy – there’s a very clear need to transform infrastructure, a need for a big spend on ways to reduce emissions and achieve climate goals. Understanding the conditions for achieving those goals is essential for any leader in business or government. Climate issues aren’t always given enough focus in business school classes, so the students I’ve taught in past network weeks have been very keen to enhance their understanding of such a key topic. It’s become absolutely essential to understand the politics of energy and climate change, and what businesses can do to stay on the leading edge.

What are some of the key takeaways you want students to learn during Global Network Week?

Students will come away with a better understanding of policies and regulations relevant to energy and green infrastructure, particularly focused on North America, which has a fragmented mosaic of different initiatives. And as we’ll go over some important case studies, they’ll have a better sense of what works, what doesn’t, and why.

What do you feel are the unique advantages of Global Network Week?

I think it’s great to have such an international group come together, representing 9 or 10 countries on multiple continents, all having learned different things in their MBA programs. It’s been a lot of fun to teach, and I think it’s been very valuable for UBC Sauder’s own MBA students who are taking part.

It’s also great that students can learn about global business topics in the environments most suited to the subject. UBC is a great for this class, as it recently announced a 30 per cent reduction in campus emissions. Vancouver is a major hub of clean technology innovations and strives to be the world’s greenest city, while British Columbia has been a global leader on climate policies. It’s a great context for teaching the lessons we’re already learned here, so the students can take them back home.

UBC Sauder’s global classroom

For UBC Sauder’s MBA students, the GNAM network weeks are just one part of their global experience. In February, every one of the full-time MBA students travelled abroad for the culmination of Global Immersion, working on consulting projects in the UK, Chile, India and Japan.

In a new development for Global Immersion this year, students destined for India and Japan collaborated with GNAM peers from Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo in advance. The students teamed up with Hitotsubashi students in the fall, and worked together virtually before coming together in February.

Global learning is a key part of the mindset of UBC Sauder’s MBA candidates, who are among the most internationally diverse MBA classes in the world. The full-time MBA class of 2017 has a majority of international students; they were born in 28 different countries and speak 31 languages.

Top image source: Sandia Labs on Flickr.