While many colleges and universities have strong business and entrepreneurial programs, some schools provide a bit more specialization for students interested in learning about one specific aspect of the business world.
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One example is the University of Colorado at Boulder, which offers degrees in both sustainable business and social entrepreneurship.
The University of Colorado has a unique dual-degree program where students can get a master's degree in environmental studies, and an MBA, in just three years.
Anne Sandoe, director of MBA programs at UC-Boulder, said the dual-degree program takes less time to complete than if a student were to complete the two degrees sequentially. This allows for a lot of hands-on experience tailored to the student's interests, she explained.
Students can even participate in the university's Sustainable Venturing Initiative (SVI), which began in 2005. The SVI is a three-course graduate level series that gives students a basic understanding of sustainable energy technologies and venture business opportunities.
While the University of Colorado isn't the only school to offer dual-degree MBA programs, the focus on sustainable businesses is unique. "Coursework and extra-curricular activities like conferences, and opportunities to work on energy initiatives run through the entrepreneurship program, give students field experience about running green businesses," said Sandoe.
Whatever sparks student interest — whether it's clean water and air, keeping a company profitable while paying attention to environmental issues, or developing renewable energy resources through the faculty and business contacts across Colorado — Boulder students have the opportunity to learn about all of these aspects.
Learning about sustainable business practices, however, is not just for graduate students. Undergraduates can also participate in conferences like the Sustainable Opportunity Summit and the Clean Tech Challenge, which challenge students to demonstrate for-profit business models that provide innovative solutions to reduce environmental impact or improve sustainability.
There are also close ties between the university's programs and sustainable businesses, with researchers across the State — including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Boulder, Colorado is a great town for students to be immersed in sustainable small business practice, as many green-lifestyle and outdoor-product businesses are located there.