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Columbia Business School’s Kravis Hall at night, one of two buildings on its new campus at 130th and Broadway

Columbia Dean Talks B-School’s New Curriculum

Columbia Business School’s new curriculum is heavily ESG-related (environmental, social, and governance). It’s a focus that school officials say is an attempt to prepare students for today’s business world.

“Across industries, geographies, and company sizes, organizations have been allocating more resources toward improving ESG,” according to a 2022 McKinsey & Co. report. “More than 90% of S&P 500 companies now publish ESG reports in some form, as do approximately 70% of Russell 1000 companies.”

Fortune recently sat down with CBS Dean Costis Maglaras to learn more about the B-school’s new curriculum, trends and goals.

CURRENT TOPICS OF INTEREST

Dean Maglaras highlights three main areas of current student-interest: careers in the digital future, climate change, and entrepreneurship.

“One is courses that prepare you for careers in the digital future,” Maglaras explains. “Some of these are understanding technologies and analytics and some of them are about how do these things get applied in practice.”

“The other aspect that we’ve seen very significant growth in student interest has to do with climate change. This could be understanding about the issue or with climate finance. It could have to do with ESG investing, impact investing or eventually courses that will have to do with business strategy as helping companies to affect the decarbonization that they will want to do.”

“The third area that we’ve seen significant growth and student interest in are courses in entrepreneurship and innovation and the issue of business and society. These are the issues of social enterprise, socially responsible leadership, learning about how to engage, how to help address problems that our society is facing using business principles and business models and the like.”

INTERDISCIPLINARY EDUCATION

 One area that Maglaras hopes to continue growing is the B-school’s approach to interdisciplinary education. Columbia Business School has many established programs with Columbia’s law school, medical school, the School of International and Public Affairs, and even the journalism school.

“What I hope that we will continue to do is enhance these collaborations and grow them,” Maglaras says. “I’m super excited about the climate school and the programs that we will do together in the sense of this is an area that we intend to invest tremendously over the next, you know, five, 10, 20, 30 years. I think there will be strong synergies with everything that happens at the climate school.”

MORE FOCUS ON ESG

Student interest in ESG topics is at an all-time-high. And Maglaras says the B-school is well positioned to meet that interest. For one, Columbia’s Tamer Center offers robust programs for students to engage in ESG courses and explore professional careers within the sector.

We’re introducing courses all the time. Last year, we introduced the course specifically looking into the shareholder/stakeholder debate and the future of capitalism,” Maglaras says. “We’ve had 100 or so students and brought academics and CEOs and investors and policy makers into the classroom to discuss a lot of these topics and it’s been hugely successful. And we’re introducing courses more broadly in ESG.”

Sources: Fortune, McKinsey

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