PSU MBA degree ranked first among small programs, #14 worldwide for integrating sustainability
Author: David Santen, Office of University Communications
Posted: September 22, 2011

(Portland, Ore.) September 22, 2011 — Portland State University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program ranks 14th on a list of the top-100 graduate business programs in the world, and first among programs with fewer than 100 students.

That’s according to the 2011–2012 edition of “Beyond Grey Pinstripes,” the Aspen Institute’s biennial survey of business schools’ leadership in integrating sustainability, with 149 business schools from 22 countries participating. Beyond Grey Pinstripes is the only MBA ranking to go beyond reputation and test scores to measure how well schools are preparing their students for the environmental, social and ethical complexities of modern-day business.

PSU also placed eleventh overall in the U.S., and tenth overall for “business impact,” which considers the number of courses that address how business practices can be an engine for improving social and environmental conditions.

Other business programs from the Pacific Northwest on the list include Willamette University (#23), University of Oregon (#60), Western Washington University (#75), Seattle University (#82), Oregon State University (#89) and Seattle Pacific University (#95). The complete list is available at

Sustainability, innovation and leadership form a core ethic that permeates Portland State’s business program curriculum. “Supporting social and environmental stewardship is in the DNA of our faculty and students,” says Scott Dawson, dean of the School of Business Administration (SBA). “It’s who we are as a part of Portland and integral to our mission—to change lives, build community, and serve the economic and social vitality of the region.”

“Sustainability provides a strategic framework for a company to effectively and profitably operate in the midst of some major global trends—rising natural resources constraints, growing population and demand for resources, and greater customer concern and awareness about social and environmental issues,” says Scott Marshall, the SBA’s associate dean for graduate programs and research. “And the success of those sustainability-inspired businesses depends upon leadership by women and men who are highly committed to innovation, in business models, products and processes, which creates a source for greater long-term financial success.”

“Within Portland State’s current and incoming MBA classes, the passion for changing the world for the better through business is palpable. In response to this student demand for a new kind of economy and a new kind of business education, we’re exploring all kinds of innovative ways to connect the next generation of business leaders directly with today’s sustainable business pioneers and leaders, here in Portland and around the world,” says Alison Dennis, director of the Center for Global Leadership in Sustainability at PSU’s School of Business Administration.

The Beyond Grey Pinstripes rankings reflect a yearlong effort to map the landscape of teaching and research on issues pertaining to business and society. This edition of the biennial survey marked the first opportunity since the global economic downturn to comprehensively measure the extent to which MBA programs have altered the content of their courses, and to assess whether faculty are pursuing research that questioned assumptions about the role of business in society.

“In the wake of the financial crisis we’re seeing an increased willingness to address these issues,” Judith Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, which conducted Beyond Grey Pinstripes said. “That willingness is coming from a variety of factors, including student demand, faculty readiness and a desire on the part of business schools to clarify what exactly they’re doing to prepare business leaders to serve the needs of society, such as job creation and energy conservation.”

Portland State University’s Master of Business Administration combines a rigorous, traditional business curriculum with an intense focus on three key ideas: leadership, innovation and sustainability. The program values the teaching of practical, real-world skills and expertise, with faculty prized for both scholarship as well as achievements beyond the classroom. Students are encouraged to collaborate and cultivate relationships with innovators in the region’s business community. Graduates of the MBA program leave with the tools and experience to be strong, effective, and conscientious business leaders, adept at earning a profit while forming a positive future.

Details for full-time, part-time and online MBA programs in PSU’s School of Business Administration are available at

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News Release
For Immediate Release (#11-104)


David Santen, Office of University Communications
Portland State University, 503-725-8765
Twitter: @innovationpdx
Kelly Doherty, Graduate Business Programs, Portland State University,, 503-725-2276