Global Business Horizons

At the dawn of the 21st century, business and society is confronted with a confluence of factors ranging from environmental degradation, widespread poverty, and the need for renewable sources of energy. The diverse sources of information that point to an uncertain future suggests that a “business as usual” approach has to be replaced with more proactive alternatives that address the needs of the environment, and the society at large. This course in the Executive MBA program on Global Business Horizons engenders an appreciation for the global challenges as well as opportunities that lie ahead and the important role that businesses can play in addressing these challenges. This course consists of two immersive and interactive modules organized around understanding global challenges and designing business solutions on the topics of poverty and environmental sustainability.

The first module, entitled Sustainable Businesses for Subsistence Marketplaces, focuses on understanding subsistence marketplaces and designing business solutions for the 4 billion living in poverty in the global marketplace. To develop understanding of subsistence marketplaces, we use exercises to enable participants to view the world from the eyes of subsistence consumers and entrepreneurs, facilitate bottom-up understanding generated by participants, and provide insights from extensive research. To envision solutions for subsistence marketplaces, we use group assignments as well as a project involving the development of a solution and a business plan to serve a need.

The second module, entitled Sustainable Businesses Enterprises, explores current challenges and opportunities facing firms in the area of environmental sustainability. Through interactive exercises and discussions and a project, we examine topics such as unsustainable consumer behavior, sustainable product design, and sustainable supply chains, and develop a sustainable business plan.

Tying the two modules together is the arena of emerging markets with poverty alleviation, upward mobility, and burgeoning middle-class segments, and associated issues of consumption and sustainability.

Sample Course Syllabus