Current MS in Sustainability Management students Are Ready to Play the Field

Kogod School of Business students advance sustainable business practices.

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In honor of the launch of our inaugural speaker series featuring Fortune 500 CEOs, founders, and entrepreneurs who are gamechangers in sustainability, we spoke to three current students enrolled in Kogod’s MS in sustainability management program.

Unparalleled Access and Opportunities

When current MS in sustainability management (MSSM) student Bhagyashree More researched graduate programs, she narrowed her list down to two schools in the US—American University’s Kogod School of Business and Columbia University’s Columbia Climate School, the Earth Institute.

I don’t think there is anything like Kogod’s MSSM program being offered anywhere else in North America.”

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Bhagyashree More

Kogod MS in Sustainability Management Student

“This program is a great steppingstone to achieve my professional goals," says More. 

Kogod’s MSSM program has unlocked access to new opportunities and networks for More. Recently, she had the pleasure of participating in a roundtable discussion with the CEO of Patagonia, Ryan Gellert, when he visited AU’s campus to discuss his decision to give his company away to focus on the climate crisis. More also collaborated with Kogod dean David Marchick on a presentation for the Aspen Institute’s Climate Finance Working Group India-US Track II.

“I was fortunate to attend the discussion,” says More. “Both of these experiences were invaluable aspects of my Kogod education and broadened my network and understanding of sustainability in business.”

More is currently enrolled in Professor Tim Timura’s ESG Funds Course, a first-of-its-kind course that offers a unique hands-on learning experience. “As part of the class, students provide American University with recommendations on investments for the endowment fund. We also get to work with general partners from pioneering investment firms around the world,” explains More.

Since this is the inaugural course, it has been a learning experience both for the students and Kogod, and I am proud of what we’ve achieved."

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Bhagyashree More

Kogod MS in Sustainability Management Student

“I believe that the world is transitioning from corporate social responsibility toward ESG in their entire value chain to work toward a vision of a more sustainable world. One must not lose focus on business growth while making this transition if they want to do so successfully,” says More.

With the fall semester quickly ending, More is already looking forward to her spring semester course list, which includes the capstone project featuring an immersion experience in Sweden and collaboration with actual consulting firms.

 By the time she graduates from Kogod’s MSSM program in 2023, More will have explored many facets of her sustainability management and business talents, as well as rounded out her previous degrees: MS in finance from Grenoble Ecole de Management in France and her bachelor’s degree in banking and insurance from the University of Mumbai.

Bridges to Attainability

Current MSSM student Amirsalar Jafari Gorizi wants to make the world a better place for all. “I chose Kogod’s sustainability program because I cannot read about how many people are suffering from myriad issues and do nothing to help!”

Gorizi published quite a bit of research in high-quality journals like Sustainable Cities and Societies and SAGE Business Cases and presented his works at several professional conferences. In March 2023, he will give an oral presentation on his work at the Seventh Edition of the Global Energy Meet.

The MSSM program at Kogod created a way for me to build many bridges and reach what previously seemed unreachable. Kogod is enthusiastic about supporting students who publish innovative research in broadcasting studies."

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Amirsalar Jafari Gorizi

Kogod MS in Sustainability Management Student

Studying sustainability management at a business school in Washington, DC, opens a unique set of doors for students and alums of the program. “Take part in the school’s workshops, events, and conferences. Many of these opportunities only take place in this city,” urges Gorizi. “A good sustainability manager or consultant should be equipped with the knowledge to articulate sustainable development benefits to businesses.”

One professor whom Gorizi most resonated with is Professor Ron Hill. “I enjoyed every minute of sitting in Professor Hill’s class. He is wonderful, intelligent, diligent, and supportive,” says Gorizi.

Trailblazers Over Novelty

Current MSSM student Brendan Powell was attracted to Kogod’s sustainability management program due to the well-established curriculum—he even passed on offers from ivy league institutions due to the prestige and rigor of Kogod courses.

Although other universities have been implementing sustainable programs in recent years, Kogod’s program has a leg up due to its roots."

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Brendan Powell

Kogod MS in Sustainability Management Student

Through a diverse curriculum that allows Powell to network and expand his professional connections, he is bridging gaps in his skills within the business and sustainability realm.

“Some highlights from my first semester were attending speaker events that featured high-profile executives like the Patagonia CEO, Ryan Gellert. This event solidified my belief that Kogod is the right place to study sustainability,” explains Powell. “Another highlight has just been meeting a diverse group of friends and peers within my cohort.”

As with More, Powell is also looking forward to beginning his capstone course next semester with MSSM program director Professor David Bartlett. “The Applied Sustainability class will travel to Sweden together for a week of consulting with real businesses!”

Kogod and American University have so much to offer to current students.

Networking, graduate organizations, professional resources, receiving curriculum in advance to make the most of your time on campus…the resources are extensive.”

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Brendan Powell

Kogod MS in Sustainability Management Student

Also, the Department of Performing Arts allows AU students to sign up for private instruction! I am currently learning to play the fiddle with a professional, award-winning musician and the US National Scottish Fiddle Campion!" says Powell.

Powell plans to finish his coursework by September 2023 and encourages all curious about a graduate degree in sustainability management to try!

Keep following Kogod’s social media to remain up to date on events and related content so you too can be a gamechanger in sustainability.