The business of sustainability

March 21, 2014
Amy Dove
Student Alisha MacGregor says the Bachelor of Business Administration in Sustainability and International Business was the only program she found that integrated business lessons with sustainable practices.

When business crosses borders, success often comes down to cultural understanding.

For students in Royal Roads University’s new Bachelor of Business Administration in Sustainability and International Business (BBA) they are learning how to negotiate new landscapes before they even leave the classroom.

“My cohort has students from Ecuador, Mexico, Jordan and Saudi Arabia,” says Canadian student Alisha MacGregor. The resulting diversity of perspectives in class discussions makes for a very valuable experience, she adds. “(It comes down) to how to conduct business in an international setting and it comes down to culture.”

The first BBA cohort has been in the classroom since August 2013. The two-year on-campus program was purposefully designed to bring more international perspectives and approaches into Royal Roads program offerings, says Faculty of Management Dean Pedro Márquez.

“As the world becomes more globalized and the traditional business borders continue to fade away, a stronger understanding of running a business and managing an organization in the world becomes increasingly relevant,” Márquez says. “Sustainability was as well identified as a discipline with growing demand internationally. Combining them was a natural solution.”

With classes such as ecological economics (focusing on the economy as part of an ecosystem rather than in isolation), sustainability accounting (focusing on ensuring sustainability issues are considered in accounting decisions) and marketing, finance and business ethics, the program provides a fuller picture of the triple bottom line.

There is another unique approach taking place in the classroom as well, as BBA students shared a course with Royal Roads’ Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science students. Teaming up with another cohort provided the opportunity to learn how people in another industry approach situations, MacGregor says.  

“Shared courses, field trips and on-campus activities allow them to advance their personal competencies by meeting individuals from many different regions and cultures,” adds Márquez, noting students are also able to expand their personal networks within the classroom. “They will all benefit from being active members of a truly international learning community.”

The combined result is exactly why the BBA appealed to MacGregor. With an interest in business and a passion for sustainable practices, it was the perfect fit on paper and Macgregor wasn’t disappointed when she got into the classroom.

“It’s a program that challenges you to think differently about business and the future,” MacGregor says. “It will challenge your beliefs and it will motivate you to get involved and want to do something when you graduate.”