CU's Leeds School of Business MBA program named one of the best in Colorado and the nation

Published: Sept. 21, 2011

The Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder is a local and national leader in preparing MBA students for social and environmental stewardship, according to the just released ranking by Beyond Grey Pinstripes.

Leeds ranks 21st among all participating national and international business schools according to Beyond Grey Pinstripes, the most watched ranking in the social and environmental business field. Conducted by the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education, the ranking measures the extent to which business schools equip students with an understanding of the social, environmental and economic perspectives required for business success in a competitive global economy.

According to the institute, top-ranked Beyond Grey Pinstripes schools are leading the way in providing students with skills that are becoming increasingly valuable to businesses' bottom lines, including searching for innovative technologies and entrepreneurship opportunities around climate change, water scarcity, labor issues and poverty alleviation.

Leeds MBAs work with students across campus and some of the world's leading experts and practitioners in the realm of social entrepreneurship. These collaborations help develop new learning models for higher education and industry and seek to give students and faculty alike the skills and mindset they need to tackle systemic problems and effect positive social change.

This year's 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 whether faculty are pursuing research that questions assumptions about the role of business in society, according to Judy Samuelson, executive director of the Institute's Business and Society Program.

"In the wake of the financial crisis, we're seeing an increased willingness to address these issues," Samuelson 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."

"Across Leeds' core disciplines of accounting, finance, management and marketing, the school distinguishes itself by offering a large number of courses in which social and environmental issues are addressed," said Donna Sockell, director of the Leeds School's Center on Education in Social Responsibility. "Increasingly, students want more coursework in sustainability, and because of our long-term and school-wide commitment to this area, we are able to meet our students' growing demand. This commitment has also resulted in a substantial body of top quality research across these core disciplines."

David Ikenberry, who took over as dean of the Leeds School last March, said Leeds' national reputation in this area is part of what attracted him to the school.

"We appreciate the recent recognition extended by Beyond Grey Pinstripes and the Aspen Institute," Ikenberry said. "Yet Leeds is not a newcomer to this emerging area in business education. Ten years ago, the University of Colorado Boulder took a bold move through the Leeds naming gift to incorporate these key ideas of how business affects society throughout its curriculum. Not only did we understand its importance then, but today we continue to leverage this to the benefit of Colorado-based companies as we take Leeds to the next level of national prominence. This philosophy toward business education is part of who we are and makes us better at what we do and how we affect our world's future leaders."

The Leeds MBA program also demonstrates its commitment to sustainable business by hosting a number of internationally recognized competitions and events including the Conscious Capitalism Conference, Leeds Net Impact Case Competition, Clean Tech Innovation Challenge, Naturally Boulder conference and networking nights, Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge and the Sustainable Opportunities Summit.

The Beyond Grey Pinstripes report identified the top MBA programs by inviting MBA programs nationally and internationally to report on their coursework and research. To learn more about Beyond Grey Pinstripes and the report, visit For more about the Center on Education in Social Responsibility, visit

The Leeds School of Business also was ranked in U.S. News and World Report's most recent Best Colleges issue. The school's undergraduate program was 36th overall in the U.S. and its entrepreneurship program was 19th.