Kogod School of Business Students Practice Sustainability in Stockholm

The recent immersion in Sweden allowed students in Kogod’s MS in sustainability management program to put their education to use in the real world.

David Bartlett

Kogod School of Business professor of management and Stockholm immersion leader David Bartlett.


 

Students and faculty at the Kogod School of Business know that experience in the field is one of the best ways to learn business practices. One way this is demonstrated is through Kogod’s immersion programs, which allow students to travel to, learn, and work directly with international businesses. Recently, a group of MS in sustainability management (MSSM) students, led by department head Professor David Bartlett, spent time in Stockholm, Sweden. Students collaborated with four organizations focused on environmentally friendly endeavors. According to Bartlett, there’s no better place to learn about these initiatives than Stockholm!

“This is a region that’s noted for its leadership in global sustainability, so students have the opportunity to observe the best practices,” Bartlett explained. “If we observe Stockholm’s approach to municipal waste management, for example, we’re provided with lessons that can potentially be applied in the US as well.” Besides building the international standard for sustainability, Stockholm is also a hub for entrepreneurial innovation in Europe, setting the stage for Kogod students to learn in a top-notch environment. As program participant Jamian Rush explained, going abroad allowed the group to understand how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives look worldwide.

Both ESG and sustainability have different definitions across international borders. In Stockholm, we gained a deeper understanding of the focus Scandinavian companies place on improving environmental factors compared to the social and governance components.”

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Jamian Rush

Graduate Student of Sustainability Management

This year’s Swedish immersion marks a return to travel for MS in sustainability management students. Though the annual Stockholm immersion was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Bartlett was thrilled to guide students through an in-depth international experience once again.

“We were able to deliver work of high value to our corporate clients through the virtual program,” Bartlett said, “but we were missing the person-to-person engagement. Immersing the students in the physical environment of the host city and observing its practices couldn’t be fully captured in the online modality.”

Over the course of their time in Stockholm, MSSM students provided consulting and project planning services while getting a firsthand look at how these companies have made strides in the sustainability industry. All companies prioritize wellness in their missions—Scriin uses technology to promote health in children, PlasticFri creates plant-based products to mitigate plastic use, Sopköket reduces food waste by using surplus food, and Hexicon develops offshore wind technology.

Students worked in small groups with each company, collaborating with executives to plan future projects and create networking opportunities. This gave Kogod students hands-on experience with businesses on a global scale and allowed them to establish meaningful relationships in their intended career fields that can be maintained post-immersion.

In previous versions of our Scandinavia program, we’ve seen students continue relations with companies in the US based on the work they did with their Swedish partners. It’s opened up employment opportunities and given students the chance to weave educational experiences into their career objectives.”

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

Kogod Professor of Management

The partner companies selected for immersions are often startups or smaller-scale businesses that can benefit most directly from outside partnerships. As Bartlett explained, working with more local organizations allows students to make an impact. “We’re not interested in projects that tell our partners what they already know—we’re trying to deliver authentic, genuine value,” he said. “By dealing with early-stage companies that may lack the internal capacity to address international growth prospects, our students have delivered projects that advance our clients' business objectives.”

“The opportunity to participate in sustainable business operations within the international sphere offered a multicultural and hands-on learning experience that created tangible value for both the students and the businesses themselves,” said MSSM student Mitchell Henderson. “The immersion program The MSSM immersion in Sweden is just one of the many opportunities Kogod students have to go abroad while pursuing their degrees. By bringing their classroom experience to real businesses and providing valuable work, Kogod students not only witness the global standard for sustainability but contribute to it themselves.