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13 May 2020

Montpellier Business School trains its students in sustainable development to help them become active actors in a world in transition

Montpellier Business School trains its students in sustainable development to help them become active actors in a world in transition

Today, nearly 25% of Montpellier Business School’s research publications include CSR-related issues, and MBS is also one of the Grandes Ecoles that offers the most teaching hours on this particular subject.

An example of a module is Dr. Helen Etchanchu’s “Globalization” course, which teaches the foundations of sustainable development on a global scale. With the Covid-19 crisis, some weaknesses of globalised capitalism have been highlighted in real time. The objective of this course is to develop students’ understanding of the complexity of modern economics so that they can become active actors in the world in transition.

“Imbue the student with the challenges of the globalized world to better imagine the new world. »

Within the Bachelor Program, Dr. Helen Etchanchu gives an interactive course on globalization. “The aim is to help the student analyse the main cross-cutting perspectives that make up the system we know today. In this course, the student does not only deal with the economy but also with political, historical, societal, ecological and technological issues.” says Dr. Helen Etchanchu.

Prior to reinventing today’s world, students are imbued with the challenges of today’s globalized world: “They quickly understand that our system is in constant motion and is subject to two trends: a trend of convergence, which wants even more open markets, and a trend of divergence, driven by a populist impulse that advocates more self-containment.” explains Dr. Helen Etchanchu.

“The system as we know it is effective in optimizing costs but is vulnerable. One of its main threats is pandemic, and we are currently experiencing this phenomenon with Covid-19.” she adds.

Exercises based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and a simulated COP

After mastering the theory, students can move on to practice. “One of the many debates that animate the course is based on the organization of a role play and the simulation of a COP. The students represent the different member countries, submit an action plan and negotiate with the other parties for a climate agreement.” says Dr. Helen Etchanchu. Following the decisions they have made, the students use software to discover the impact of their choice on the economic, environmental and societal world.

The participants were also invited in a second phase to build an innovative business model to meet one of the 17 United Nations sustainable development goals. From small local social business to large multinationals, students had the choice to propose a possible reorganization and achieve one of the 17 objectives.

“My favourite was the group of students who worked on the goal of gender equality. They had chosen a multinational company that communicates effectively on the subject. But after a proper research work, the group spotted the inconsistencies in the company’s practices and understood that the actions were essentially part of a communication strategy. They then compared this business model to another company and were able to assess the difference with a company that places sustainable development issues at the heart of its mission.” says Dr. Helen Etchanchu.

We will meet these values again at the start of the new school year 2020-2021

Dr. Helen Etchanchu is co-coordinator of the MBS Sustainability Lab and seeks to strengthen the already established integration of sustainability concepts in training courses. “The aim is to shape the programs so that every student is made aware of these concepts early on in their program. The objective is to shape the programs so that each student is aware of these concepts very early in their curriculum,” she explains.

Thus, Montpellier Business School is currently preparing for the start of the new school year, which will be driven by the climate challenge, with a series of workshops to stimulate students’ willingness to invent new alternatives as soon as they join the school. The programme for this new school year will be known in a few weeks.

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