Business-school students should quiz prospective employers on how their policies advance sustainability goals.

Questions MBAs should ask employers on sustainability

20 March 2024

The article at a glance

Business school students should quiz prospective employers on how their policies advance sustainability goals, Professor Jennifer Howard-Grenville of Cambridge Judge writes in the Financial Times.

Business school students should inquire to prospective employers about decision-making, operations, innovation and other aspects related to sustainability, says an article in the Financial Times by Jennifer Howard-Grenville, Diageo Professor in Organisation Studies at Cambridge Judge Business School.

The article was co-authored with Joanne Tilley, a Cambridge MBA graduate of Cambridge Judge (MBA 2022) who is a strategy and sustainability consultant at Investec, and Priya Saikumar, a Cambridge MBA graduate (MBA 2022) who is a doctoral student and ESG (environment, social and governance) consultant.

Jennifer Howard-Grenville.
Professor Jennifer Howard-Grenville
Joanne Tilley.
Joanne Tilley
Priya Saikumar.
Priya Saikumar

How MBAs have the power to influence company’s green strategies

MBAs and other new starters have the opportunity to influence their employer’s sustainability strategies more than they may think. It begins with expressing their interest and showing that they are seeking to work for a company that aligns with their interests and goals. Once employed, MBAs can use their skills in fostering collaboration, breaking down silos, and driving change to boost their organisation’s sustainability ambitions.

Instead of just answering interview questions from employers, MBA graduates should quiz potential employers about their sustainability practices and plans, says the article.

Six areas where MBA students can challenge employers on sustainability

  1. The company’s long-term strategic sustainability goals.
  2. How sustainability is considered in the company’s operations and value chain.
  3. How pay and HR policies are structured to further sustainability objectives.
  4. How technology and innovation feed into sustainability goals.
  5. How finance advances sustainability, including the use of funding mechanisms such as green bonds.
  6. How communications and governance support sustainability strategies and actions.

Only by recognising that MBA graduates and employers alike must raise the bar will we collectively shape the resilient organisations needed to tackle the world’s challenges.

Jennifer Howard-Grenville

This article was published on

20 March 2024.