Columbia Business School Dean Costis Maglaras sees climate change as a new opportunity to do business
It’s well-known that the biggest opportunities in business often come from society’s biggest challenges. This is why it’s important to capitalize on this idea. Columbia Business SchoolIt is preparing to place a large bet on climate.
Global temperatures are rising due to greenhouse gas emissions. Dean Costis Maglaras thinks that a diverse ecosystem of established corporations, startups, and early-stage companies will be able to create solutions to climate change. The effects of global warming will offer business opportunities in the same way technology has revolutionized business over the past quarter of an inch.
Take a tour of the school’s new Manhattanville campus, Dean Maglaras concedes that no one yet has all the answers to how companies will transition to a low-carbon state or exactly what opportunities will arise from what is society’s biggest threat. He promises that the school will take a lead in the field and have its faculty develop more courses in clean tech, breakthrough technologies, climate finance.
‘IF YOU ASK YOURSELF WHAT WILL TRANSFORM BUSINESS, IT WILL BE CLIMATE CHANGE’
It was some 50 years ago that a professor at Columbia University in its center for geophysics corned the term “global warming.” Maglaras now wants to make sure that the business school leads the way in the study of how the corporate sector will be impacted and can impact climate change.
“Technology has transformed the world of business in the past 30 years,” he tells Poets&Quants. “If you ask yourself what will transform business in the future, it will be climate change so we are investing in that. This is a very important topic. We’ll explore what is the role business should play in thinking and addressing this issue and what role should business research should play to educate about solutions to the problem and what should CBS do more broadly.”
Maglaras believes that climate concerns will increasingly impact the business school’s students in their career paths, creating new opportunities and challenges in a vast array of MBA fields, including asset management, investment banking, consulting, technology, supply chain management and operations.
Maglaras, a CBS professor since 1998 and successor to Glenn Hubbard, was named dean in July 2019. An expert in operations research, data analytics and quantitative finance, Maglaras was instrumental in updating the school’s curriculum to include more instruction in data-driven and technology-based decision-making. He pioneered the school’s technology-and-analytics curriculum and also helped create a new master’s degree in business analytics, offered jointly by the business and engineering schools, which prepares students for jobs as data scientists and analysts.
EFFORTS WILL GET A MAJOR BOOST FROM A NEW COLUMBIA CLIMATE SCHOOL
The school already offers MBA students a “Climate Change and Business Program” focused on using markets and business skills to identify and implement solutions to mitigate, adapt to, or reverse climate change and its impacts on society globally. The program includes courses, research, conferences, seminars, and experiential learning opportunities. It aims to create connections that bridge theory and practice.
The school has a series of existing electives in the subject that range from “The Business of Climate Change: Investing and Managing in a Changing Environment” and “Climate Finance” to “New Developments in Energy Markets” and “Energy and Resources Economics.” These are in addition to other existing courses that tackle climate change issues, including “Business in Society: Doing Well by Doing Good?” and “Finance and Sustainability.”
The business school’s efforts in this area will get a major boost when a new Columbia Climate School is built next to Columbia Business School’s new campus. The first new school to be created at the university in more than a quarter of a century, the school’s launch was announced in mid-2020 and welcomed its first class of 97 students in a new MA in Climate & Society this fall. The 12-month program teaches students how to understand and respond to the effects of climate change and variability on society.
Maglaras believes that the addition of the Climate School and a group of students keenly interested in studying the topic will lead to invaluable collaborations with Columbia’s MBA student population. A partnership with the Climate School is being considered for a one year MS in Climate Finance. It will be launched in the fall 2023 or 2024. Columbia isn’t the only major university to move in this direction. Georgetown University was launched recently a new M.S. in Environment and Sustainability ManagementThe, a cross-disciplinary program combining business and environmental science.
CLIMATE CONCERNS WILL BE EMBEDDED IN CORE COURSES & NEW ELECTIVE OFFERINGS
The school will have more elective options and a greater emphasis on climate change as a result of the new emphasis on climate.
“It will be necessary to understand some of these tensions that are introducing so much change and disruption into the economy,” he says. “Ten years ago, we grappled with digital transformation and how we can add courses and technology and data and analytics for our students.”
The emphasis will now be on courses that offer valuable insights into the role of business in solving the climate crisis. “Our priorities moving forward are how to support students and tp invest and expand our coursework in climate and entrepreneurship,” he adds.
The post Columbia Business School’s Big Bet On Climate ChangeThis article was first published on Poets&Quants.